Fake MACT Claims : Supreme Court Asks MoRTH & NIC To Finalize Portal To Tackle The Issue

Update: 2022-01-25 14:40 GMT

In the matter related to fake claim petitions being filed before Motor Accident Claims Tribunals (MACT),  the Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of the fresh, comprehensive information form being finalised by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways ("MoRTH") in consultation with the National Informatics Centre ("NIC"). On the last date of hearing (14.12.2021), the Apex Court...

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In the matter related to fake claim petitions being filed before Motor Accident Claims Tribunals (MACT),  the Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of the fresh, comprehensive information form being finalised by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways ("MoRTH") in consultation with the National Informatics Centre ("NIC"). On the last date of hearing (14.12.2021), the Apex Court had asked the Additional Solicitor General, Mr. K.M. Nataraj to assist the court in tackling the issue of fake claim petition filed under the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and the Workmen Compensation Act.

Mr. Nataraj, appearing on behalf of MoRTH informed the Bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna that, the Ministry has come up with a form that includes columns for details pertaining to the accident, case registration, particulars of Investigating Officers, details of the victims, record of hospital, details of vehicle, owners, drivers, insurance agencies and particulars of the claims and awards. In short, it gives a comprehensive picture from the date of accident till the appeal is heard by the High Court. One portion of the form is to be filled up by the Investigative Officer and the rest by the Tribunal ("MACT").

"In one click you will get the complete picture…"

The Bench enquired, "Who will see to it that the MACT is updating the particulars?"

Mr. Nataraj requested the Bench to pass directions in this regard as, ordinarily, the MACTs function under the supervision of the respective High Courts.

Justice Nagarathna pointed out that on several occasions insured vehicles are implanted to make a false insurance claim. The accused are often charged with Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code, 2016 which deals with rash driving. However, considering the fact that only a fine is imposed in alternative to imprisonment, the accused persons plead guilty and are let off.

"Initially there might be no vehicle involved at all. Then they implant an insured vehicle and make a false claim. Point is under Section 279 he will simply come and plead guilty and only a fine is imposed, so that doesn't help. No imprisonment, nothing."

Mr. Natraj apprised the Bench that -

"When it goes for a claim it is the responsibility of MACT to enter details."

Justice Nagarathna emphasised that false information is also provided in the claim statements.

The Bench enquired, "This 8R form is available on which app."

Mr. Nataraj submitted that the form was not yet notified. It is being developed by NIC and MoRTH is in constant touch with them to expedite the form finalisation process.

"This is a technical issue. We are in touch with NIC and asking them to expedite."

The Bench directed expedition of the finalisation of the format -

"Shri K.M. Nataraj, Ld. ASG appearing for MoRTH has submitted that the Union Government has come up with a fresh comprehensive information form in which full particulars are to be given with respect to accident claims, motor accident claims etc. He has submitted that the same is yet to be finalised and consultation with NIC is going on. We observe that the Union Govt. and NIC finalise the format at the earliest…Put up after 4 weeks. 8th March."

Advocate, Mr. Samar Vijay Singh appearing on behalf of SIT provided the latest development in the ongoing investigation.

"In some more cases investigation is complete and we are about to file chargesheet."

Upon hearing the Counsel for SIT and perusing the table placed by him on record, the Bench directed to expedite the process of completion of further investigation and thereafter the trials -

"Ld Counsel appearing for SIT have placed on record the particulars in a tabular form showing in how many cases the investigation has been completed and chargesheet have been filed. It is reported that in further cases investigation is in progress. From the report it appears that the FIR was registered 2016 onwards, chargesheet has been filed only in Oct/Nov 2021, we impress upon and direct the investigating officer of SIT, Lucknow to complete investigation at the earliest and submit chargesheets before the concerned courts, immediately thereafter. In cases where chargesheets were filed we direct the respective Chief Judicial Magistrates to frame the charges in those cases where chargesheets are already filed…within a period of 4 weeks from today and see that trial is concluded at the earliest."

With respect to other submissions, the Bench decided to take them up during physical hearing and pass comprehensive directions.

[Case Title: Safiq Ahmad v. ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors. SLP (C) 1110/2017]

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