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There is some bad news for careless drivers who end up victims in road accidents, such drivers may get only 50 pc of the compensation claim once it is proved that they were partly responsible for the mishap, according to a Supreme Court ruling. In other words, careless motorists would be held responsible for contributory negligence even if they are the victims in accidents. A bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and H S Bedi has upheld a Karnataka High Court judgement which slashed 50 percent of the compensation awarded to a woman accident victim on the reasoning that she too was responsible for the accident. Renuka Devi, the victim who suffered serious injuries after her moped collided with a Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus was awarded a compensation of Rs 12.32 lakh by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) which held the driver of the bus negligent for the mishap. On an appeal from the Corporation, the High Court reduced the compensation on the reasoning that Renuka was also responsible for the accident as she was driving in a negligent manner, thus, contributing to the accident. Upholding the high court's ruling, the bench said that on perusal of the material records it was evident that the victim has also contributed to the accident as it was noted that her moped hit the rear wear of the bus. "This finding of fact arrived at by High Court reversing the finding by the tribunal could not be said to be perverse or arbitrary in nature. In view of this matter we are not inclined to interfere with the order of the high court reducing the compensation to the extent of 50 percent," the bench observed. Accordingly, the apex court dismissed an appeal filed by Renuka.
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