The Delhi High Court has constituted a special committee which will be headed by a judge, to supervise the implementation of New Scheme for Motor Accident Claims formulated by it for speedy resolution to motor accidents claims. One of the salient features of this scheme is that the Investigating Officer shall intimate the accident to the Claims Tribunal by submitting First Accident Report (FAR) in Form-1 within 48 hours of the intimation of the accident.
The Delhi High Court’s Justice J. R. Midha has formulated a new Scheme for Motor Accident Claims according to which the investigating officer is required to send a First Accident Report regarding any road accident to the claims tribunal and insurance company within 48 hours.
Justice J. R. Midha noted in his order, “India has a dubious distinction of having the highest number of road accidents. According to the latest Report of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 4,49,002 road accidents were reported in 2019 resulting in 1,51,113 deaths and 4,51,361 injuries i.e. an average of one road accident every 1.17 minute resulting in one death every 3.47 minute, which is the highest in the world.”
He further observed, “Road accidents are a human tragedy which involves enormous human suffering and they impose huge socio-economic costs in terms of untimely deaths, injuries and loss of potential income. The ramifications of road accidents can be colossal and its negative impact is felt not only on individuals and their families but also on the economy. Road safety is an important issue of national concern.”
The following are the salient features of the new Scheme for Motor Accident Claims;
I. The Investigating Officer shall intimate the accident to the Claims Tribunal by submitting First Accident Report (FAR) in Form – I within 48 hours of the intimation of the accident. If the particulars of insurance policy are available, the intimation of the accident in Form – I shall be given to the Nodal Officer of the concerned Insurance Company of the offending vehicle. The Investigating Officer shall furnish the copy of FAR to the victims as well as DSLSA. The Investigating Officer shall furnish the copy of FAR to Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA). The particulars of the accident shall also be uploaded on the website of Delhi Police.
II. The driver of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident shall furnish the relevant information namely his name, age, gender, income, driving license, period of validity of license, vehicle registration number, particulars of the owner and insurance of the vehicle etc., to the Investigating Officer in Form-III within 30 days of the accident.
III. The owner of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident shall furnish the relevant information namely particulars of the driver, particulars of the insurance policy, particulars of permit and fitness etc. in Form – IV to the Investigating Officer within 30 days of the accident.
IV. The Investigating Officer shall submit Interim Accident Report (IAR) in Form – V before the Claims Tribunal within 50 days of the accident.
V. The Victim(s) of the accident shall furnish the relevant information and the documents to the Investigating Officer in Form – VIA and VIB within 60 days of the accident.
VI. The Investigating Officer shall furnish the copy of the Victim’s Forms along with the documents to the Insurance Company of the offending vehicle along with DAR whereupon the Insurance Company shall verify the information and documents furnished by the victim(s) within 30 days of the receipt of the DAR.
VII. The Investigating Officer shall send the copy of the Victim’s Form – VIB to the Child Welfare Committee along with DAR whereupon the Child Welfare Committee shall conduct an inquiry to ascertain whether the child/children of the victim(s) is/are in need of protection and care in terms of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
VIII. The Investigating Officer shall complete the investigation of the criminal case and file the Report under Section 173 CrPC before the Metropolitan Magistrate within 60 days of the accident.
IX. The Investigating Officer shall complete the verification of the information and documents furnished by the driver and owner of the vehicle(s) and submit the DAR with the Claims Tribunal in Form – VII within 90 days of the accident.
X. In the event of failure of the driver(s), owner(s), Insurance Company and/or claimant(s) to disclose any relevant information and documents, the Investigating Officer shall seek necessary directions from the Claims Tribunal whereupon the Claims Tribunal shall direct the parties in default to submit the requisite Form i.e. Driver’s Form – III, Owner’s Form – IV or Victim’s Form – VIA and VIB, along with the relevant documents directly with the Claims Tribunal within 15 days.
XI. The Insurance Company shall examine the DAR and shall submit its decision before the Claims Tribunal in Form – XI within 30 days of the receipt of the copy of the DAR from the Investigating Officer.
XII. After the conviction of the accused in the criminal case, the learned Metropolitan Magistrate shall send the copy of the judgment as well as the affidavit of the accused with respect to his assets and income to DSLSA whereupon DSLSA shall conduct a summary inquiry and submit a Victim Impact Report (VIR) in Form – XII before the learned Metropolitan Magistrate within 30 days in terms of the Full Bench judgment of this Court in Karan v. State NCT of Delhi, Crl.A.352/2020 decided on 27th November, 2020.
The Court by its earlier order dated 14th September, 2020, had directed “Transport Research Wing (TRW) of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways” to constitute a High Power Expert Committee to incorporate the best practices relating to the accident forms of the developed countries and to revise the DAR.
The Court said on careful consideration of the Reports of the Committee appointed by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, this Court considers it appropriate to modify the Claims Tribunal Agreed Procedure formulated by this Court in Rajesh Tyagi – III.
The Court further said that it would be appropriate to extend the time for filing of Detailed Accident Report (DAR) from 30 days to 90 days to bring the Scheme in consonance with Section 159 of the amended Motor Vehicles Act. This Court has divided the Detailed Accident Report (DAR) into three parts: Interim Accident Report (IAR) to be filed within 50 days of the accident, Detailed Accident Report (DAR) to be filed within 90 days of the accident and Victim Impact Report (VIR) to be filed after the conviction of the accused.
Further, the Court has incorporated the benevolent provisions of the formats of the developed countries and the formats of Transport Research Wing (TRW) of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in this Scheme. Following which the Court has introduced the Forms to be filled by the Driver, Owner, and Victim(s) in the New Scheme, which are in the Judgment attached below the article.
The Court took note of the submissions or Senior Advocates H.S. Phoolka, Sidharth Luthra, Vikas Pahwa, Rajshekhar Rao and Satyam Thareja, who assisted the Court as Amicus Curiae. They have suggested that successful implementation of the Scheme requires strict implementation by police, Insurance Companies as well as Claims Tribunals and a Committee be constituted to supervise the implementation and take remedial measures. Following which, the Delhi High Court has formed a Committee for the implementation of the New Scheme for Motor Accident Claims.
The Court directed in its order “A Committee is hereby constituted to supervise the implementation of this Special Scheme comprising of the following members:-
(i) Sitting or former Judge of this Court to be nominated by the Hon’ble Chief Justice as Chairperson.
(ii) Member Secretary, DSLSA as Convener of the Committee.
(iii) Special Commissioner of Police to be nominated by the
Commissioner of Police.
(iv) Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and
Highways to be nominated by the Secretary, Ministry of Road
Transport and Highways.
(v) Secretary General, General Insurance Council (GIC).
Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) shall provide the necessary infrastructure support staff to the Committee. Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) shall bear the necessary expenditure for the functioning of the Committee, Said the Delhi High Court.
“Delhi Police as well as the Insurance Companies shall file monthly reports before the Committee with respect to the compliance of the provisions of the Scheme for the previous month. The first report for the period 02nd April, 2021 to 30th April, 2021 be filed by 20th May, 2021 and thereafter by 20th of each month. The Committee shall prescribe the format of the compliance report which shall be circulated to the Delhi Police and the Insurance Companies. The Committee shall consider the reports and take such remedial measures as may be considered necessary for successful implementation of the Scheme,” directed by the Court.
It further directed, “All the Insurance Companies are directed to appoint a Nodal Officer and intimate the name, address, phone numbers/mobile numbers and email address of their Nodal Officer to DCP-Legal Cell (PHQ) of Delhi Police by email within four weeks. The Delhi Police shall place on record the list of Nodal Officers of all the Insurance Companies before the next date of hearing.”
The Court has listed the matter for compliance on February 26.