A message about government paying compensation in case of accidental deaths is being widely shared on WhatsApp. This claims made in the message are false.
This is the age of fake & false news. Not a day passes without coming across at least one fake/false news story. In the past few days, a message has been going around on WhatsApp that the government is obliged to give compensation worth ten times the average annual income of the last three years to that person’s family who dies in an accident. The message also says this is based on a particular section of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 (MV Act) and a Supreme Court judgement in a related case. Both the claims are false as we explain below.
What is Section 166 of the MV act?
Section 166 of the MV act deals with how an application for compensation has to be made. It only talks about things like the persons eligible to file an application for compensation, how it should be filed etc. The claim has to be filed with the relevant Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).
The claim petition should include the following documents
- Copy of the FIR registered in the accident case
- Copy of the MLC/Post Mortem Report/Death Report if applicable
- The documents of the identity of the victims and of the deceased in a death case
- Original bills of expenses incurred on the treatment along with treatment record
- Documents of the educational qualifications of the deceased, if any
- Disability Certificate in an injury case
- The proof of income of the deceased/injured
- Documents about the age of the victim
- The cover note of the third party insurance policy, if any
Who pays the compensation?
In case of a permanent disability or death in an accident involving a motor vehicle, the owner of the motor vehicle causing the accident is liable to pay compensation as per section 140 of the MV act. The quantum of the compensation is decided by the MACT based on the multiplier table in the second schedule of the MV act. We have made a useful explainer video explaining the law for accident victims.
What did the Supreme Court say then?
The case in the Supreme Court was in the form of an appeal challenging the quantum of compensation granted by the MACT in Madhya Pradesh. The SC in its judgment decided on the quantum of compensation and the multiplier to be applied as per the second schedule of the MV act. The judgment has no reference to the tax returns as claimed in the forwarded message.
The claims are outright false
As explained above, the government has nothing to do with compensation to be granted in the case of a motor vehicle accident. Also, the quantum of compensation is not 10 times the average income, but based on the multiplier as given in the MV act.
So the claims in the message are anything but true. This is one of those rare false news that actually mentions the source making it easy for anyone to fact check the claims. Do not believe any news story that comes your way irrespective of whether it is positive or negative. You should do some fact checking before hitting the forward button.