In the case of The Divisional Manager, New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Bhubaneswar v. Sauri Das & Ors. (AHO No. 01 of 1999), a Division Bench of the Orissa High Court, composed of Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice R.K. Pattanaik, has held that the ‘multipliers’ provided under the second schedule to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (“the Act”) can be applied even in the cases where at the time of adjudication the schedule was in force, though it was not operational at the time of accident.
Factual Background: The appeal was filed by the insurance company against the judgement passed by a Single Judge Bench in a miscellaneous appeal filed by the Appellant. By the impugned judgement, the Court upheld the Award passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Bhubaneswar (MACT), awarding a sum of Rs.3 lakhs to the Claimants-Respondents 1, 2 and 3. Before the learned Single Judge, the Appellant (the Insurance Company) argued that since the accident occurred in 1992, whereas the Schedule in terms of Section 163-A of the Act was introduced in 1994. Therefore, the multiplier set out in the Schedule will not be applicable.
However, the learned Single Judge decided that the Insurance Company could not argue the quantum of the judgement or the issue of the tractor and trolley driver’s negligence in light of the Supreme Court of India’s ruling in Shankarayya v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (1998) 3 SCC 140. Regarding the issue of negligence and the amount of compensation, the learned Single Judge found no justification for interfering. Therefore, it was once more argued in this appeal that the Schedule to the Act will not apply because the incident occurred in 1992.
Judgement: However, the Court found that the Schedule was already in place when the MACT made its ruling. Furthermore, the Schedule to the Act should be implemented in situations where accident victims are still seeking compensation, even though the accident happened when the Schedule was not in effect. This is because the Act is a valuable piece of law designed to help accident victims. As a result, the Court rejected the appellant’s argument on the applicability of the Act’s Schedule and upheld the MACT’s decision, which the Single Judge had also upheld.
PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime Legal falls into a category of Best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY PRAKIRTI JENA