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Report No. 149

Chapter 5

Hit and Run Cases

5.1. There arise, not infrequently, cases in which the vehicle causing an accident speeds away after hitting a human target. For such hit-and-run cases the remedy provided under sections 140 and 147 is of no avail. To meet this difficulty, section 109A was inserted in the 1939 Act under which a Isolatiurn fund' was set up from which compensation could be paid to victims of such accidents.1 Section 161 of the 1988 Act, which corresponds to section 109A of 1939 Act, has fixed the amount of compensation payable in such cases as follows:

In case of death: Rs. 8,500
In cases of grievous hurt: Rs. 2,000,

slightly increasing the corresponding figures under section 109A which were Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 1,000 respectively. The intention apparently, is to provide for ad hoc relief irrespective of fault for such cases also as under section 140. There is, however, a small difference in that the "grievous hurt" referred to in section 161 is somewhat wider expression which would cover cases which may not amount to permanent disablement within the meaning of section 142.2

1. This was in partial acceptance of the Law Commission's recommendation in its 51st Report that in such cases compensation should be paid by the State.

2. Cf. the definition in section 142 of the 1988 Act and section 326 of the Indian Penal Code.

5.2. It seems to us that there is hardly any difference in principle between the two situations covered by sections 140 and 161 in regard to the compensation payable to victims of accidents on an ad hoc basis1 without prejudice to the right of the victim to pursue his remedies against the offender or his insurer. Nor is there any need to draw uisk a different classification for the purposes of this section from that in section 140. We, therefore, suggest that the language of section 161 should be the same as contained in section 140 and recommend that clause (a) of sub-section (1) and sub-section (3) of section 161 be amended appropriately.2

1. It is liable to adjustment in case the victim secures an award directly.

2. See Chapter 12, part, for the proposed amendment.

Removing certain deficiencies in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 Back

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