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Claim u/s 163A

(Querist) 07 July 2008 This query is : Resolved 
Sec.163A&166 m.w.Act-Scope in relativity -Whether the provisions contained in sec.163A & 166 Provide for the differentmodes and whether these two modes can be simultaneously invoked ?
KamalNayanSaxena (Expert) 11 July 2008
Section 163-A was inserted in the Act to provide for payment of compensation in motor accident cases in accordance with the Second Schedule providing for the structured formula which may be amended by the Central Govt. from time to time.

S. 140 of the Act dealt with interim compensation but by inserting S. 163-A, the Parliament intended to provide for making of an award consisting of a pre-determined sum without insisting on a long drawn trial or without proof of negligence in causing the accident.

Payment of the amount in terms of S. 140 of the Act is ad hoc in nature. A claim made thereunder, is in addition to any other claim which may be made under any other law for the time being in force. Section 163-A of the Act does not contain any such provision. S. 163-A does not contain any provision identical to sub-sec. (5) of S. 140 which is also indicative of the fact that whereas in terms of the latter, the liability of the owner of the vehicle to give compensation or relief under any other law for the time being in force continues subject of course to the effect that the amount paid thereunder shall be reduced from the amount of compensation payable under the said Section or Section 163-A.

By reason of the S. 163-A, the compensation is required to be determined on the basis of a structured formula whereas in terms of S. 140 only a fixed amount is to be given. A provision of law providing for compensation is presumed to be final in nature unless a contra indication therefor is found to be in the statute either expressly or by necessary implication. While granting compensation, the Tribunal is required to adjudicate upon the disputed questions as regard age and income of the deceased or the victim, as the case may be. Unlike S. 140 of the Act, adjudication on several issues arising between the parties is necessary in a proceeding under S. 163-A of the Act. Apart from the fact that compensation is to be paid by applying multiplier method under the Second Schedule other relevant factors, namely, reduction of one-third in consideration of the expenses which the victim would have incurred towards maintaining himself, general damages in case of death as also in the case of injuries and disabilities as also the disability in non fatal accidents, a notional income for compensation to those who had no income prior to accident are provided for, are required to be considered which is also a clear pointer to the fact that thereby the Parliament intended to provide for a final amount of compensation and not an interim one. The scheme envisaged under S. 163-A, leaves no manner of doubt that by reason thereof the rights and obligations of the parties are to be determined finally. The amount of compensation payable under the aforementioned provisions is not to be altered or varied in any other proceedings. It does not contain any provision providing for set off against a higher compensation unlike S. 140. In terms of the said provision, a distinct and specific class of citizens, namely, persons, whose income per annum is Rs. 40,000/- or less is covered thereunder whereas Ss. 140 and 166 cater to all sections of society.
Having regard to the fact that S. 166 of the Act provides for a complete machinery for laying a claim on fault liability, the question of giving an option to the claimant to pursue their claims either under S. 163-A or S. 166 does not arise. Remedy for payment of compensation both under Ss. 163-A and 166 being final and independent of each other as statutorily provided, a claimant cannot pursue his remedies thereunder simultaneously.

One, thus, must opt/elect to go either for a proceeding under S. 163-A or under S. 166 of the Act, but not under both.

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