Insurance co told to pay Rs 63 lakh to kin of 2 farmers killed in road mishap

Mumbai: A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) has directed a truck owner and an insurance firm to pay compensation of Rs 30 lakh to the wife and son of a farmer and Rs 33 lakh to the mother of another farmer, both of whom had lost their lives in a 2014 road mishap.

In the fateful incident, the farmers were in a car on the Beed-Ahmednagar highway at 10 pm when a truck hit their vehicle in a head-on collision, killing all four passengers in it. Both farmers died on the spot. The truck driver fled the scene.

The insurance company had denied the claims for compensation and said that the negligence was not on the part of the truck driver, but on the part of the car driver.

A police inspector who had lodged the FIR in the case deposed before the Tribunal and concluded his evidence stating that the accident was caused due to negligence of the truck driver. He also told the Tribunal that the truck driver had fled leaving the dead and injured at the spot without medical aid. Noting this conduct of the driver immediately after the accident, the Tribunal said that if he had been innocent, he would not have done so. It concluded that the mishap took place due to the negligence of the truck driver.

Tribunal member HB Hedaoo while calculating the compensation for the farmers said that one must put himself in the position of the Indian farmer as only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. The compensation in matters of death of farmers needs to be decided with some sensitivity, if not with emotions, with a good blend of law, he said.

Calculating the compensation on the basis of the earnings from produce from the farmers’ land and the crops they grew, the tribunal said it would be an unjust and inappropriate approach to calculate compensation only on a notional income of the labour the farmer was rendering on his own farm and ignore what he was earning from his field property. Further it stated that it is painful and disturbing that as compared to the case of death of a middleman or trader in farm production, the compensation would have been calculated on tax returns or statements and thus a person in a better position economically and socially would get better compensation.

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Free Press Journal