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Published : July 21, 2017 | Author : Swadha Rath
Category : Constitutional Law | Total Views : 3266 | Rating :

Swadha Rath
law student,Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad

Procedures and Powers of Claim Tribunals

What Is Motor Vehicle Act?

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is an Act of the Parliament of India which regulates all the aspects of road transport vehicles. This Act came into force from 1 July 1989. This act replaced the previous motor vehicle act 1939 which earlier replaced the motor vehicle act 1914. Motor vehicles act created a new forum named motor accidents claims tribunals which substituted civil courts in order to provide cheaper and speedier remedy to the victims of accident of motor vehicles . Earlier to file a suit, suit for damages had to be filed with civil court , on payment of advalorem court fee . But under the provision of motor vehicle act , an application claiming compensation can be made to the claims tribunal without payment of advalorem court fee. The Tribunal is to follow a summary procedure for adjudication of claims being provided, the sections do not deal with the substantive law regarding determination of liability. They only furnish a new mode of enforcing liability. For determination of liability one has still to look to the substantive law in the law of torts and Fatal Accident Act, 1855 or at any rate to the principles thereof.” In the case of oriental fire & general insurance co. vs. kamal kamini , it was critically explained that the liability is still based on law of torts and enactment like the fatal accident act. Section 169 corresponds to Section 110-C of the motor vehicles act , 1959.

Section - 169. Procedures And Powers Of Claim Tribunals

(1) In holding any inquiry under section 168, the Claims Tribunal may, subject to any rules that may be made in this behalf, follow such summary procedure as it thinks fit.

(2) The Claims Tribunal shall have all the powers of a Civil Court for the purpose of taking evidence on oath and of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and of compelling the discovery and production of documents and material objects and for such other purposes as may be prescribed; and the Claims Tribunal shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).

(3) Subject to any rules that may be made in this behalf, the Claims Tribunal may, for the purpose of adjudicating upon any claim for compensation,

choose one or more persons possessing special knowledge of and matter relevant to the inquiry to assist it in holding the inquiry.

scope of section 169 -
Section 169 simply vests tribunal with powers of civil court for particular purpose of taking evidence on oath and of enforcing attendance of witness . Held that it does not exclude either expressly or by necessary implications , application of other provisions of code . It also does not restrict inherent powers to secure ends of justice . oriental insurance co. ltd. v. subrata mitra.

Ambit of Powers of Claim Tribunal

Tribunal had directed the claimant to bear the expenses of lawyers of opponents while allowing application for appointment of commission for examination of doctor. opponents shall bear their own expenses for going to place of commission . For recording evidence , the tribunal had wide powers , but such powers should be exercised by tribunal for doing justice to party. Kailash Chandra Sharma v. E.Gurunath .

Procedure To Be Followed

Section 169 expressly empowers the claims tribunals to formulate its own procedure . since the claims tribunals has all the powers equal to high court , it may choose to follow the procedure laid down in the CPC . in holding an enquiry under the section 168 of the act , the claims tribunal is empowered to follow such summary procedure as it thinks fit. The intention is that the enquiry should not take the shape of elaborate and long-drawn proceedings as a regular civil suit but should be concluded as much speedily as possible . the nature of enquiry should be more or less like a judicial enquiry . Their can be no gain saying that vast power exists in the claims tribunal to determine its own procedure in dealing with the claim applications . The claims tribunal has all the trappings of a court and the proceedings before it closely resemble the proceedings in a civil court . the whole intention of the legislature is to ensure a speedy disposal of the claim applications filed by the injured persons or the legal representatives of the

deceased . Krishna reddy v. ramalamma .And in case of absence of any restraining provisions the claims tribunal has the liberty to follow any procedure that it may choose to evolve for itself as long as it is consistent with the rules of natural justice and does not contravene the provisions of law.

Amendment In Pleadings

In certain cases the tribunal has the power to allow the amendment of pleadings but amendment should not be allowed if a valuable right has been accrued in favour of the opposite party on account of the expiry of the period of limitation . No amendment will be allowed to introduce a new set of ideas to the prejudice of any right acquired by any party by lapse of time. Bihar cooperative MV insurance society ltd. v. Rameshwar rout . The application sought for amendment by stating that the claim for higher compensation on account of inability to pay advalorem court fee at the time of filing the petition can be accepted . The application does not suffer from limitation as original petition was submitted in time . In the case of Jai Jai Ram manohar lal v. national building material supply. The apex court laid down the following principles , which will guide every court while dealing with the application for amendment of pleadings . Amendment of petition is not barred by time of limitation in order to meet end of justice . K

Krishna Devi And Others V. Hardev Singh And Others


Tribunal Has Power Of Civil Court For Purpose Of Taking Evidence On Oath

As per the provisions of section 169 of MV act , the claims tribunal can subject to any rules that may be made in this behalf , follow such summary procedure as it thinks fit. The claims tribunal can subject to any rules that may be made in this behalf , follow such summary procedure as it thinks fit. claims tribunal has the power of CPC for the purpose of taking evidence on oath and for enforcing the attendance of witnesses and of compelling the discovery and production of documents and material objects . And also for such purpose as may be prescribed . The tribunal as per section 169(2) is a civil court for purposes section 195 and chapter XXVI of Crpc. oriental insurance company ltd. v. walayati ram and others.

Whether Tribunal Can Close The Evidence Of Claimants On Request Of Claimant Foe Producing Remaining Evidence ?

The MV act , is a legislation which was enacted for the benefit of the claimants . the object of the act is to provide monetary benefits to the dependents of a deceased person who dies in an accident in order to avoid hardship to them . the rule of strict compliance of the provision of CPC is not to be applied to the accident cases Sona v. G.M.haryana roadways .

Power To Admit Documents Without Proof

The rule that a document should be properly proved before it can be relied upon is not always a technical rule of the Evidence act, but is often a fundamental rule of justice, which cannot be ignored by any judicial tribunal Smt. Amarjit kaur v. M/s Vanguard Ins. co. Ltd.

Power To Entertain Application For Restoration

As the SC remedy of restoration of a petition dismissed in default is available under CPC . So the tribunal on the analogy of those provisions can entertain an application for restoration south Indian insurance co ltd. v. M.A.C tribunal .

Power To Set Aside Ex-Parte Order

Even in the absence of provision in procedural laws, power inheres in every tribunal , of a judicial or quasi-judicial character, to adopt modalities necessary to achieve requirements of natural justice and fair play . procedure is grounded on principles of natural justice . statutory tribunals have inherent to do justice to the parties before it. Stella v. motor accidents claim tribunal .

Court To Record Decision Separetly

It was held that court is bound to record decisions on each and every issue separately . the claim filed was regarding injury to claimant in motor accident. the tribunal has granted general damages without giving decisions on all issues however such omissions does not affect the award on merit list and will remain only as procedural error .

Power To Award Cost

Even the awarding of costs under section 35 of the CPC is discretionary ;but that discretion must be exercised in judicial principles. In the same manner the awarding of costs is in the discretion of tribunal. The general rule is that a successful party is entitled to get costs incurred by him unless he is guilty of misconduct or their is any other reason for disallowing the cost.

Review Of Award Of Compensation By Lok Adalat

Once the matter is settled in Lok Adalat then it becomes final . The motor vehicle claims tribunal has no power to review the award passed by the Lok Adalat . If their was any defect , it was for both the parties to approach High court under Article 227 of the CONSTITUTION OF INDIA - New India Assurance co. Ltd. V. Ponnamma Thomas .

Procedure Cannot Take Away The Right Of A Party To Cross Examine

Because the Tribunal has adopted a summary procedure by proceeding with the case on affidavits that it by itself would not deprive the respondents of their right to cross-examine the petitioners .The procedure cannot take away the right of a party to cross examine the other side when the genuineness of the contents of their application is doubtful Kalpana Ben M. Shah V. Navinchandra Jeevanlal Acharya.

Absence of Claimant or Lawyer Once Issued Framed Tribunal Has To Decide Issued on Basis Of Records Available

The state government has got a duty , so also the tribunal to save the victims from suffering caused by the accident as well as the sufferings of the family members, who are under considerable financial and psychological pressures .The motor vehicle act and rules do not empower the claims tribunal to dismiss an application merely for the default of the applicant without arriving at findings and without adverting to reasons after the stage of framing issues. Once it is found that an application cannot be summarily rejected and there are sufficient grounds for proceedings there with and framed issues, the claims tribunal is bound to decide the issues whether there was appearance or not on behalf of the claimants or injured as the case may be and the opposite parties . It is the duty of claims tribunal to obtain necessary information from the police , medical and other authorities and proceed to settle the claims , whether the parties , who were given notice appeared or not .Tribunal has got a paramount duty to render justice to hapless victims of road accident as well as the claimants of the deceased . Procedures have been laid down under section 140 would be met immediately whether claimants appeared or not. Saramma Scaria and others V. Manthai and another.

Framing Of Issues

It appears that an issue was framed as to whether the accident had taken place on account of rash and negligent driving of the offending bus. Therefore no separate issue was required to be framed as to whether the accident had taken place on account of rash and negligent driving of the car. Issue No. 2 Fully covered the adjudication on the point as to which of the drivers of the vehicle was responsible for the accident .Bihar state road transport corp. V. Nita Rampal.

Power Of Claims Tribunal To Review Its Order

Having all the attributes and trappings of a civil court it is possible to say that accidents claims tribunal in order to achieve the object for which it is set up will be deemed to have a power to review its own order if such order are found to contain errors which are fundamental and destructive of the provisions of the motor vehicle act. It cannot correct accidental errors in its judgement with regard the calculation of the amount and with regard to any mistake in the multiplier, if the same is not consistent with its judgement . However, it cannot rewrite a judgement after it has fastened the liability either on the owner or the insurance company with regard to the payment of compensation. It cannot change basis of the judgement but it can make a judgement effective by correcting fundamental errors which are apparent on the face of the record for which it has not to travel beyond the record. If for correction for its errors some additional material is required in order to enable it to rewrite its judgement, it will not be permissible for the tribunal to do that while exercising the powers of review. The powers given to review a judgement is a very limited power. It does not extent to sitting in appeal on its own judgement by the accidents claims tribunal nor it permits to rewrite a judgement on the basis of fresh material which was not before the tribunal having the trappings and attributes of a civil court will definitely be entitled to exercise the power of review within the limit of principles which are laid down in the aforesaid authorities - National Insurance Co.Ltd. V. Jumrati .

The mere fact that the provisions of order 47 code have not been specifically made applicable to proceedings under the Act is no ground to hold that the tribunal has no power to review its order. The tribunal has under section 168, the power to make an 'an award determining the amount of compensation which appears it to be just ' and if due to a patent mistake of fact or law, the award is vitiated resulting in miscarriage of justice Why cannot the Tribunal review its order with a view to doing justice in the case by rectifying the mistake ?T he Motor accidents claims tribunal is invested with the power to review or recall on limited ground that the order sought to be reviewed or recalled is patently illegal having been passed in ignorance of any statutory provision or of any law declared by the superior court or of any fact well established on record - oriental Insurance co. ltd V. Jidad Ali.

Tribunal Civil Court And All Trapping Of Civil Court

It is also settled law that the motor Accidents claims tribunal are civil courts and also having all trappings of civil court . The tribunal are also vested with the powers to deal with the motor accidents arising out of the use of the motor vehicles . For the purposes of recovery of the amount of interim award tribunals under inherent powers can pass an appropriate order for depositing the same or to protect the interest of the claimants by passing an order. In this case the tribunal was justified in passing an order that if the applicant shall not deposit the amount, the vehicle shall be liable to furnish the security to the extent as indicated in the award. However as it was undertaken by the appellant that he is willing to deposit the amount and he will not dispose of the vehicle , the tribunal ought to have granted reasonable time to the appellant to deposit the amount to file the undertaking .

Motor vehicle act was created in the year of 1914, to provide cheaper and speedier remedy to the victims of accident of motor vehicle. The Indian motor vehicles act, 1914 was subsequently replaced by motor vehicles act 1939 to make it relevant for as per modern day requirement. Chapter XII of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 deals with the constitution of Claims Tribunal, Application of Claims and award of compensation.

# AIR 2011 Sikkim 16.
# AIR 2007 M.P. 161 (Gwalior bench)
# code of civil procedure
# AIR 1995 AP 68
# AIR 1967 SC 96
# GURGAON , AIR 1969 , SC 1267
# (2000) ACJ 1292
# (2002) ACC 179
# REWARI 1996 ACJ 421
# AIR 1960 SC 1006
# AIR 1973 J&K 38
# 1989 ACJ 181 (KER.).
# Power of superintendence over all courts by the High Court.
# AIR 2008 Ker. 4
# AIR 1995 Guj. 1768
# Liability to pay compensation in certain cases on the principle of no fault.
# AIR 2003 NOC 45
# 1995 ACJ 870
# 1993 ACJ 961
# 1995 ACJ572

Writing award This article has been Awarded Certificate of Excellence for Original Legal Research work by our Penal of Judges

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