For the speedy disposal of third party claims and at a minimum cost, the Claims Tribunal has been constituted by different State Governments, under Sec. 110 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1939.
Such tribunals are presided over by a person of the rank of a District Judge or High Court Judge.Â Only a nominal fee has to be paid for instituting a case and court fee is not based on the value of the suit.Â Thus it is very much less expensive and poor third party claimants are not prevented from making proper claims.
All third party claims for personal injury and property damage up to Rs. 6000/- have to be filed with claims tribunals.Â Claim for compensation in respect of damage to property exceeding rupees six thousand may, at the option of the claimant, be referred to a Civil Court for adjudication.
Sec. 165 of the 1988 Act gives the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals exclusive jurisdiction to decide the claims with regard to death, personal injury as well as property damage, irrespective of the amount involved in the property damaged, whether on fault basis or ‘No fault’ basis.
An explanation has been added to Sec. 165 of 1988 Act.Â Any application for claim filed with the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals on the basis of ‘fault’ shall also contain a separate statement that a claim for compensation on ‘no fault’ basis is also made.
Thus an important change was made by the new Sec. 165 in granting exclusive jurisdiction to MACT, empowering the claimant to take up claims for damage to property without any limit.Â However, under Sec. 147 (2) (b) the limit for compulsory TP Property damage remains at Rs. 6,000 only.
Sec. 168 of the Act states very clearly the duty and obligation for the Claims Tribunal to give prior notice for the third party’s application for compensation to the Insurer as also giving opportunity to the Insurer of being heard.
Where any Claims Tribunal has been constituted for any area, the Civil Courts have no jurisdiction to entertain any question relating to claims for compensation.Â The claims tribunals have all the powers of a Civil Court for the purpose of taking evidence on oath, enforcing the attendance of witnesses and of compelling the discover and production of documents, etc.