New Delhi: The Supreme Court has castigated
the Punjab and Haryana High Court for its "insensitive"
approach to the plight of a woman motor accident victim by
quashing on flimsy grounds the compensation awarded to her.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said in a
judgement that in claims under motor accidents cases the
principle of "proof" need not be "strict", unlike in criminal
The apex court termed as "perverse" the high court`s
decision to quash the Rs 1,36,547 awarded to the victim
Parmeshwari who fractured her leg after being hit by a
scooterist on January 22, 2003, in Haryana`s
Hissar-Hanumangarh districts route.
Though the Motor Accidents Tribunal awarded the
compensation, the High Court quashed the award by taking the
view that the complaint was false and a device to grab the
money from the insurance company. It also reasoned that the
complaint was filed four months after the alleged incident and
the Tribunal did not examine anybody from the office of the
Setting aside the High Court`s reasoning, the apex
court said "the perception of the high court in disbelieving
the complaint betrays a lack of sensitised approach to the
plight of a victim in a motor accident claim case."
The apex court said the victim cannot be blamed for any
lapse by the investigating agency.
"The official procedure in matters of proceeding with
the complaint is not within the control of the appellant who
is an ordinary village woman. She is not coming from the upper
echelon of society. The general apathy of the administration
in dealing with complaints lodged by ordinary citizens is far
too well known to be overlooked by high court," Justice
Ganguly, writing the judgement, said.