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Report No. 85

X. Summary and Rationale of Points Made as to Liability without Fault

3.62. Main features of proposed scheme and their rationale.-

Before we make concrete recommendations for legislative amendment on the points discussed in this Chapter, we would like to summarise the rationale underlying the important features of "no fault" liability as envisaged in our scheme and also the rationale underlying the imposition of pecuniary limitations on liability in "no fault" cases-since these limitations form an integral part of our scheme.

(a) Subject to a pecuniary limit, the level of protection against measurable economic loss is to be treated as risk of motoring.1 The assumption is that a motorist who creates a risk of injury or death must pay for that injury or death without regard to fault. This would, however, be confined to claims before Tribunals created under the Act.

"No fault" liability as envisaged by us would be confined to claims before the Tribunal. Claims before ordinary courts should be decided on fault basis only. This, however, would be the position only where a Claims Tribunal has not been constituted at all for the area concerned.

(b) Through the medium of insurance and by making the insurer liable, the cost of providing the compensation would, in substance, be distributed among all motorists, without regard to fault in particular accidents. This will be applicable only to claims before the Tribunal.

(c) In such cases, contributory negligence should neither be a defence, nor be a ground for apportionment according to "fault".

(d) The above scheme of liability on "no fault" basis will apply only to the Claims Tribunal.

(e) The "fault" principle (and related rules of tort law) will continue as the basis of aliceating the burden in other cases, i.e. in claims filed before ordinary courts where no Tribunal has been created. Such cases, however, will be rare. Ordinary courts can award compensation irrespective of limits, if fault is proved.

(f) But even in cases where the fault principle continues, compulsory insurance which the motorist (under the present law) must carry to protect against tort liability will (as at present) continue to afford some protection, provided fault is proved.

1. Cf. para. 3.44(ii), supra.

Claims for Compensation under Chapter 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 Back

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