Issue of negligence cannot be raised under section 163A of Motor Vehicles Act

The Supreme Court has underlined that an insurance company cannot raise the issue of negligence by a road accident victim when Section 163A of the Motor Vehicles Act is invoked. This provision enables the victim and dependents to get speedy relief without going into the fault of the drivers of the vehicles involved. The compensation is decided on the basis of a structured formula appended to the Act. In this case, Shivaji vs United India Insurance, the driver died in the accident and his dependents moved the tribunal. It directed the insurance company to pay the compensation. The insurer moved the Karnataka High Court contending the driver caused the accident. It ruled that since the deceased driver was at fault, his parents were not entitled to the damages. Reversing the finding on the basis of precedents, the Supreme Court stated that accepting the insurer’s argument of the negligence of the driver would go against the legislative intent, which is to provide quick relief to the dependents instead of taking a long route to decide who was as fault. Section 166 deals with fair compensation after assessing all factors, including contributory negligence.

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