CHENNAI: Why shouldn’t the government amend the Motor Vehicles Act to make lifetime insurance cover for vehicles mandatory, asked the Madras high court on Wednesday, posing a series of questions to Union and state governments. It said despite the law making it mandatory for vehicles to have a valid insurance policy, there were a large number of accidents involving vehicles without an insurance cover.
At present the insurance cover for vehicles comes with a validity of one year, and the policy needs to be renewed every year. Many vehicle owners fail to renew the policy, making it difficult for accident victims or their families to get compensation in case of accidents involving such vehicles.
The court was passing interim orders on an appeal filed by an insurance company against the order of a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarding compensation to a person injured in a road accident. “It should be everybody’s endeavour to prevent accidents, ply vehicles with relevant insurance coverage and to see that the accident claim awards are paid in time, without any problems, to the victims,” said Justice N Kirubakaran.
The matter relates to a man who suffered 45% disability after he was hit by a tanker lorry in January 2012 while he was on his way to Thatchur from Ponneri, near Chennai. The accident claims tribunal in Ponneri asked Oriental Insurance Company Limited to pay a compensation of 2.24 lakh to the man.
The company moved the high court challenging the order. It said the lorry that was involved in the accident was being operated with an expired insurance policy and hence it was not liable to pay any compensation. The court admitted the appeal, but directed the company to deposit the compensation amount within two weeks.
The judge also asked what other measures were required to make insurance coverage fool-proof. The matter has been posted to March 3 for further hearing.