Road accident fund: Apex court to examine state viewJanuary 6th, 2010 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court is to examine Thursday the responses of various states and the union government to its suggestion last month to create a road accident fund to ensure that all victims of such accidents get compensation.
A bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran, Justice Mukundakam Sharma and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan is to examine various governments’ responses to a host of other suggestions and directions the apex court had given while assigning an order on a lawsuit related to road accidents and compensation to victims.
The bench in its ruling Dec 17 last year gave a comprehensive set of suggestions and directions to various government authorities, including police, hospitals, insurance companies and the legislature to deal with lacunae in various existing laws related to accidents, hit-and-run cases and compensation to accident victims.
Mooting a road accident fund in India on the lines of those in South Africa and other African countries, where all accident victims are paid compensation without exception, the bench suggested state insurance companies collect a single life-time third-party insurance premium for every vehicle when it is sold.
To build the corpus of the accident fund, the bench additionally suggested imposition of road accident cess on the petrol and diesel prices and sought the government’s response to it.
“Such a hybrid model, which involves collection of a life-time premium for every sold vehicle plus the accident cess may provide a satisfactory solution to a vast country like India having the dubious distinction of having the highest number of road accidents and the longest time in securing the first aid and medical treatment,” the bench said in its ruling.
Pointing out the “urgent need for laying down and enforcing road safety measures and establishment of a large number of trauma centres,” the bench also suggested a road safety bureau be set up to lay down road safety norms and enforce these.
Pointing out that “several countries have comprehensive enactments dealing exclusively with the accidents”, the bench asked the union government to consider enacting “a comprehensive and unified statute dealing with accidents” in place of various provisions relating to accident tribunals and the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
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