Motor Accident Tribunal was set up with the object of providing less expensive and quicker settlement of third party claims to the victims of motor vehicle accidents. The tribunal is a substitute of civil courts and has all the powers of a civil court for the purpose of taking evidence. The provisions relating to claims tribunal, procedure, awards, powers, compensation and appeals are contained in sections 169 to 176 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
A motor tribunal is established in areas notified in the official gazette by the state government. These tribunals have no jurisdiction of civil courts. The claims tribunal adjudicates upon claims preferred by injured parties for compensation in case of accidents causing bodily injury and loss or damage to third party due to the use of motor vehicle.
The provision has been omitted from the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 stating that a victim in case of damage to the property exceeding Rs. 2,000 has the choice to go to a civil court and thereafter the tribunal will not have any jurisdiction. The victim in case of compensation u/s 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has an option to either claim under Motor Vehicles Act or under Workmen’s Compensation Act but not under both.
Procedure to file a claim in tribunal An application for compensation can be filed in an MACT (Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal) any time after the accident without any time limit. The injured person can himself file an application or in case of a deceased person any of the legal representatives or any authorised agent of the victim can file the application.
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