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Big vehicles cannot be always held liable for accidents. It is high time, the stakeholders should review the mindset, the Madras High Court has said in a ruling while hearing an appeal by the Pudukottai transport corporation challenging the order of Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) that had awarded compensation to an accident victim.

More often, in case of accidents involving any big vehicle like trucks or buses, the blame is majorly placed on the driver of the big vehicle. However, in many cases, the accidents occur due to the negligence of the pedestrians or by the small vehicles or two-wheelers as well.

The deceased in the accident, Govindaraju was going to school along with his three friends, Venkateshwaran, Prasanth, and Gowthamanraj on a two-wheeler in Pudukottai in 2011. Prasanth who was riding the two-wheeler attempted to overtake a big truck when a speeding government bus coming from the opposite direction collided with the two-wheeler and Govindaraju died.

In this case, the MACT had awarded a compensation of 6.6 lakh to the deceased’s family in 2015 holding the bus driver responsible for the accident. However, the transport corporation challenged the order. The transport corporation counsel submitted in court that the two-wheeler tried to overtake the truck without noticing the bus, thus causing the accident. Also, four people were travelling on the two-wheeler which is illegal and since the deceased also contributed to the accident, he was liable for contributory negligence.

While giving his ruling, Justice K Murali Shankar said two-wheelers are designed for only two people to travel and anyone taking more than that will be committing an offence and is punishable under Section 128 of the Motor Vehicle Act. The judge also said that it is high time for all who are dealing with motor accident claims to review the mentality in considering the plight of the injured victim or the legal heirs of the deceased victim sympathetically and awarding compensation in accidents that occurred by violating the laws and rules. In this case, partially allowing the appeal, the judge has directed the claimants to bear 50% of the amount awarded by the tribunal for contributory negligence.

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