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Insurer told to pay higher damages

M J Antony / New Delhi 23 Jul 12 | 12:00 AM

 

The Supreme Court has invoked its rare inherent powers to grant higher amount of compensation in a 1992 motor vehicle accident claim, dismissing the appeal of New India Assurance Co Ltd. The insurance company had raised doubts about the validity of the licence of the truck driver who caused the accident, negligence of the deceased, employment proof of the driver and a host of technical issues. These objections had delayed the settlement of the claim by eight dependents including aged parents and small children. The Rajasthan high court granted Rs 4.85 lakh, but the claimants could not get even that as the company appealed to the Supreme Court, where it lay for over five years. Ultimately, the Supreme Court raised the amount to Rs 10 lakh and cost of Rs 5 lakh, and criticised the high court and the motor accident tribunal for wrongly applying the formulae for computing compensation. The court remarked that claimants like these represented “many thousands of poor litigants who suffer silently by treating it as their destiny."

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