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The duty of the police is to undertake an investigation to verify the truth of a complaint: High Court Of Tripura

The role of the Tribunal is to calculate compensation, if the accident had taken place due to negligence of the driver of the vehicle. Such an opinion was held by The Hon’ble High Court Of Tripura before The Hon’ble Mr. Justice S. G. Chattopadhyay in the matter of The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd vs. Smt. Sudhipa Das @ Sudipa Das [MAC App. No. 26/2021].

The facts of the case were associated with the appellant Insurance Company who had challenged an order under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Court No.2), West Tripura, Agartala, dated 27.01.2021. In the said order the Tribunal awarded a compensation of a sum of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rupees ten lakhs) with 9% annual interest to respondent no.1 Smti Sudipa Das for the injury and loss suffered by her in a road accident that occurred on 19.08.2014 at Agartala. 

It was submitted that respondent no.1 Sudipa Das was riding with her brother Suman Das on his motorbike to go to Tripura University from her residence at  Jagaharimura on 19/08/2014, morning. An accident took place due to the sudden appearance of a dog in front of the bike. Due to the negligent and rash driving of the brother, he could not control the bike and slipped. The respondent sister suffered fatal injuries while the brother had minor injuries. The sister was taken to various hospitals for her treatment and finally to a super specialty hospital in Kolkata. Due to the accident, she had to undergo brain surgery and later developed a speech disorder. Thereby, a petition was filed by her under Section 166 M.V Act at the Tribunal claiming compensation of a sum of Rs.79,40,000/-. Another written statement of defense at the Tribunal was filed by the appellant insurance company stating that it would not pay any compensation to the claimant unless the original insurance policy of the offending vehicle and a valid driving license of respondent No.1 was produced. 

Learned advocate Mr. Biswanath Majumder, representing the appellant contended that the compensation to the claimant only on the basis of a G.D. Entry made at the police station should not have been granted by the Tribunal. Furthermore, the appellant’s counsel stated that the claimed petition was invalidly entertained and an unreasonable amount of compensation was granted with an excess interest. The learned counsel, representing the claimant stated that a GD was filed immediately after the occurrence and the said information was recorded in the general diary of the police station. 

The Hon’ble Court held “… It was the duty of the police to undertake investigation to verify the truth of her complaint and submit an Accident Information Report (AIR) at the Tribunal. She was not supposed to wait for an investigation report to lodge her claim at the Tribunal. Her claim cannot be defeated simply for the reason that there was no police investigation in the matter… With regard to quantum of compensation, it is apparent that Tribunal awarded an exorbitant amount of Rs.2,00,000/- for pain and sufferings and a further sum of Rs.2,00,000/- for shock and agony which according to me should be reduced to Rs.2,00,000/- … Award of 9% annual interest is exorbitant which should be reduced to 7.5%.”

The Hon’ble High Court Of Tripura ruled out “… The appellant insurance company shall deposit the money with the Registry of this High Court within a period of six weeks from today and in turn, the same shall be disbursed to the claimant by transferring the whole amount to her individual bank account. Amount already paid, if any, shall be adjusted… In terms of the above, the appeal stands disposed of.” 

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu

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