Oriental Insurance Company to pay Rs.1.5 crore to road accident victims

Oriental Insurance Company has been directed by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) to pay a compensation of about Rs.2 crore to the families of two victims who died in a road accident earlier this year. MACT judge Sanjiv Jain ordered the Oriental Insurance Company, with which the offending vehicle was insured, to pay nearly Rs.1.5 crore to the family of deceased Sultaan Singh. The family of Raghu Raja Verma, the other person killed, was awarded over Rs.35 lakh in compensation .

Both men were on a morning walk in Hauz Khas when they were hit by the vehicle driven by one Manish Kumar at around 6.45 am on February 20. The accident took place on August Kranti Marg in front of the Kamala Nehru College bus stand.

Singh (48) was an assistant vice-president with Citi Financial Consumer Finance India Ltd. Verma (54) was a manager with India Lease Development Ltd.

Singh is survived by wife Savitri and three daughters. Verma left behind wife Asha and two daughters. The police said the vehicle belonged to one Esha Srivastava who had given it to Kumar for cleaning, not driving.

While awarding the compensation, the court said in cases of personal injury and fatal accident, the focus should be on awarding substantial, just and fair compensation, and not just a token amount.

Deciding on the compensation amount, the judge noted, “According to incometax returns, Singh’s gross salary for the period from April 2011 to March 2012 was Rs.14,24,621 while Verma was earning Rs.54,457 per month.”

The court observed that the amount of compensation cannot bring back the dead but it certainly helps the dependents to live a life with dignity and comfort as they were living when the deceased were alive.

“The legal heirs of Sultaan Singh are awarded a sum of Rs.1,48,69,000 as compensation along with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the DAR (Detailed Accident Report) till realisation of the amount.

The legal heirs of Raghu Raj Verma are awarded a sum of Rs.35,99,800 along with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum…,” Jain ordered.

The court rejected the insurance company’s contention that it was not liable to pay the compensation as the vehicle was not being driven by its owner at the time of the accident.