Supreme Court Seeks Centre's Response in PIL Challenging Limitation Period for Motor Accident Compensation Claims

Author : Nimisha Nayak

Updated On : April 2, 2024

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The Supreme Court has taken cognizance of a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the six-month time limit for filing compensation claims in motor vehicle accident cases. The plea, filed by Odisha-based Advocate Bhagirathi Dash through Advocate Renuka Sahu, contends that the stringent time frame could deprive thousands of road accident victims of their rightful compensation.

A bench comprising Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Prasanna B Varale issued a notice to the central government seeking a response to the matter. The PIL challenges a February 2022 gazette notification that imposes a six-month limitation period for filing compensation claims in motor vehicle accident cases, as mandated by Section 166(3) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019.

The petitioner argues that the strictly enforced limitation period would adversely impact road accident victims' legal rights. Describing the time limit as excessively harsh and lacking in public opinion, policy, or logical rationale, the plea highlights the potential deprivation of compensation for victims who may still be hospitalized or require an extended period for recovery.

According to the petitioner, the legislation effectively resurrects Section 166(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, which originally mandated a six-month limitation period. This provision was subsequently extended to twelve months in 1989, with provisions for extension in cases showing sufficient cause. However, the limitation period was eliminated entirely in 1994 when Section 166(3) was deleted. The recent gazette notification reinstated the six-month limitation, aligning it with the amended 2019 Act.

The PIL contends that such a strict time frame disregards the realities faced by accident victims, many of whom may require prolonged medical treatment before being able to pursue compensation claims. It argues that the limitation period is unconstitutional and arbitrary, potentially denying justice to those in need.

The plea raises concerns over the accessibility of legal recourse for illiterate individuals who may struggle to navigate the complex legal procedures within the prescribed timeframe. It emphasizes the detrimental impact on thousands of road accident victims who may be physically incapacitated or hospitalized for an extended period, thus unable to file their claims within the stipulated period.

By seeking the Centre's response, the Supreme Court signals its commitment to examining the constitutionality and fairness of the limitation period imposed. The outcome of this legal challenge has significant implications for the rights of accident victims and the accessibility of justice in motor accident compensation cases.

As the case progresses through the judicial system, stakeholders await further developments that could potentially reshape the legal landscape governing compensation claims for motor vehicle accidents.

Supreme Court Seeks Centre's Response in PIL Challenging Limitation Period for Motor Accident Compensation Claims

Author : Nimisha Nayak

April 2, 2024

SHARE

The Supreme Court has taken cognizance of a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the six-month time limit for filing compensation claims in motor vehicle accident cases. The plea, filed by Odisha-based Advocate Bhagirathi Dash through Advocate Renuka Sahu, contends that the stringent time frame could deprive thousands of road accident victims of their rightful compensation.

A bench comprising Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Prasanna B Varale issued a notice to the central government seeking a response to the matter. The PIL challenges a February 2022 gazette notification that imposes a six-month limitation period for filing compensation claims in motor vehicle accident cases, as mandated by Section 166(3) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019.

The petitioner argues that the strictly enforced limitation period would adversely impact road accident victims' legal rights. Describing the time limit as excessively harsh and lacking in public opinion, policy, or logical rationale, the plea highlights the potential deprivation of compensation for victims who may still be hospitalized or require an extended period for recovery.

According to the petitioner, the legislation effectively resurrects Section 166(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, which originally mandated a six-month limitation period. This provision was subsequently extended to twelve months in 1989, with provisions for extension in cases showing sufficient cause. However, the limitation period was eliminated entirely in 1994 when Section 166(3) was deleted. The recent gazette notification reinstated the six-month limitation, aligning it with the amended 2019 Act.

The PIL contends that such a strict time frame disregards the realities faced by accident victims, many of whom may require prolonged medical treatment before being able to pursue compensation claims. It argues that the limitation period is unconstitutional and arbitrary, potentially denying justice to those in need.

The plea raises concerns over the accessibility of legal recourse for illiterate individuals who may struggle to navigate the complex legal procedures within the prescribed timeframe. It emphasizes the detrimental impact on thousands of road accident victims who may be physically incapacitated or hospitalized for an extended period, thus unable to file their claims within the stipulated period.

By seeking the Centre's response, the Supreme Court signals its commitment to examining the constitutionality and fairness of the limitation period imposed. The outcome of this legal challenge has significant implications for the rights of accident victims and the accessibility of justice in motor accident compensation cases.

As the case progresses through the judicial system, stakeholders await further developments that could potentially reshape the legal landscape governing compensation claims for motor vehicle accidents.

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