Srinagar: Increase in the number of fraudulent cases before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) owing to collusion between claimants, medical practitioners and others have emerged as a challenge for the legal system in the country.
After having observed rampant discrepancies in Motor Accident Claims Tribunal cases, the High Court of Allahabad, Lucknow Bench, had directed the State Government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to re-investigate MACT cases.
The SIT (Special Investigation Team) has been carrying out the responsibility and duties of investigation, initiation of proceedings and prosecution of cases that are not been carried out appropriately. As a result, multiple lawyers have been found to be filing claim petitions based on concocted medical documents and false accident cases.
Based on the reports of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh after proper inquiry has decided to terminate the licences of 30 lawyers involved in the submission of fake claims under the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
According to a report, the special investigation team (SIT) has unearthed 1,376 charge-sheeted claims in the past seven years, beginning from 2015. As per the report, the SIT arrested 198 persons, including 28 lawyers, of whom many were charge-sheeted and The State Bar Council initiated disciplinary proceedings against them.
The report shows that though the alleged victims have not sustained any grievous injuries, certain hospitals have also issued false certificates, discharge summaries and supportive medical documents for the culprits. The insurance companies relying on these documents are falling prey to such dubious claims and were asked to pay money.
Who can claim compensation?
A person who has himself sustained an injury, or owns the property which has been damaged in a vehicular accident, or is the legal representative of the deceased who died in the motor accident, or is the duly authorized agent by the injured person, or by the legal representatives of the deceased, as the case maybe- can claim compensation, states in the Section 166 of MV Act 1988.
When can the compensation be claimed?
As per the recent amendment carried in Motor Vehicle Act, the limitation period i.e., the time in which the claim for compensation has to be filed is six months from the occurrence of the accident. It means that after the expiration of six months, any application that is claiming damages cannot be validated or considered.
In addition, the Claims Tribunal under Section 172 (1) states that an insurer or any party in a compensation claim is obliged to pay special costs as compensation. If it is certain that either the compensation claim is invalid as the policy of insurance was obtained through any kind of fraud or misrepresentation or that any party or insurer has proposed a false or abrasive claim or defence during the proceedings of the case. These special costs must be compensated to the insurer or the party against whom such claim or defence had been advanced.
Many reports indicated that these lawyers have caused a loss of several crores to insurance companies by submitting fake claims under the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. Uttar Pradesh’s Special Investigation Team after its existence has been able to identify several fraudulent matters thereby, saving hundreds of crores of public money.
The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal was established by the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 with an objective to regulate and maintain the safety of road accident victims.
The State Governments constitute Claims Tribunals to adjudicate on the claims for compensation, which emerge from motor vehicle accidents, ensuing death or bodily injury to persons or damage to any property of third parties.
Its objective is to provide a remedy to the victims of accidents by motor vehicles at an appropriate time without any procrastination. Motor Accident Claims Tribunals [MACT Courts] handle those claims concerning the loss of life/property or injury cases arising out of Motor Accidents.