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Amend TN Motor Vehicle Accident Rules to incorporate Detailed Accident Report: Madras HC

Meera Emmanuel

In a recent judgement rendered by Justice PN Prakash, the Madras High Court has ordered the state government to amend the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Accident Claims Tribunal Rules, 1989, so as to officially incorporate the Detailed Accident Report (DAR) regime, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s 2016 orders passed in Jai Prakash v National Insurance Co. Ltd.

The system sought to be introduced thereby mandated that Detailed Accident Reports be filed by investigating officers with the concerned compensation tribunals or jurisdictional magistrates for discerning just compensation.

This meant that following an accident, an FIR had to be filed and all relevant details recorded and submitted along with authenticated certificates for the purpose of expeditious disposal of the victim’s claims. This system would also serve to guard against false or fabricated claims.

The immediate case brought by a private insurer dealt with allegations of fraud and fabrication in pursuing a motor accident claim. In disposing off the case, the Court noted that the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) had already taken steps to effectively incorporate the DAR regime into the Tamil Nadu legal system.

It was observed that whereas Delhi implemented the DAR system in hard copy format, the same has been done in Tamil Nadu in soft copy format. This is more practical given that there are more police stations, courts, tribunals and other adjudicatory bodies in Tamil Nadu and therefore it may not be as easy to implement a physical/manual DAR system in the state. Instead, the SCRB was lauded for uploading the data for ready access of the stakeholders.

The physical filing of the DAR compilation is replaced in Tamil Nadu by the online avatar, in precept, but, in practice, it is but implementation of DAR regime as it is perceived and mandated to be.

…. Possibly, if the Apex Court was put on notice of this online version of DAR regime implementation, they may well commend its replication for rest of India, considering the keenness of the Apex Court in embracing technology.

Tamil Nadu Police can take pride that they have met the mandate of law and leading the way as the first and only State as on date in implementation of DAR regime.”

The court noted however that, although the DAR has thereby become a reality in the state, it would be ideal that the same is expressly introduced in the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Accident Claims Tribunal Rules, 1989, akin to its incorporation in the Delhi Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal Rules, 2008. The Government was accordingly directed to amend the Tribunal rules so that legal sanctity is accorded to the online platform that has been put in place by the SCRB

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