Pune: In the last week of August, a 63-year-old person from Kothrud, who is leading a retired life, was shocked to get a summons from the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT) in Belgaum, Karnataka, asking him to appear before it in person or through advocate.
He was clueless about the development as as he had never been to Belgaum and he was neither complainant nor from the defendant.
He found that a decade ago he had sold his bike to a friend and the vehicle further exchanged hands. This vehicle was involved in an accident in Belgaum where the complainant filed the case against the vehicle driver. However, the third party insurance company made him a party to the case as the bike was still in his name.
In another case, a 30-year-old man who works with a private company exchanged his Dio for an Activa in 2016 from a showroom. Recently, after reading about traffic police action against traffic violations, he checked the details of his vehicle and was shocked to find that there were three pending fines in his name for traffic rule violations including one in August this year.
What the supreme court says
The Supreme Court passed an interesting judgment in February this year. A three-judge SC bench said, “In a situation such as the present where the registered owner has purported to have transferred the vehicle but continues to be reflected in the records of the registering authority as owner of the vehicle, he would not stand absolved of liability.”
“Parliament has consciously introduced the definition of the expression ‘owner’ in Section 2(30), making departure from the provisions of section 2(19) in the earlier Act of 1939. The principle underlying the provisions of Section 2(30) is that the victim of a motor accident, or in case of a death, the legal heirs of deceased should not be left in a state of uncertainty.”
“A claimant for compensation ought not to be burdened with following a trail of successive transfers, which are not registered with the registering authority. To hold otherwise would defeat the statutory object and purpose of the Act.”
Now he is making rounds of the showroom to get that vehicle registered in the name of the present owner.
These two examples show that selling the vehicle is not enough, but you have to ensure that the vehicle is transfered in the name of the new owner. Although, the RTO, Pune has raised concern about the vehicle owners not showing interest in verifying the purchaser’s name and address, there is lack of awareness among people. The officials said owners sell their vehicles but do not verify whether the documents of third party were submitted properly or not.
“The RTO is not responsible for verifying the person whom the seller is selling the vehicle to. It is up to the owner to check all documents of other party. We only check and verify the documents when the papers are submitted to us. If the documents are not submitted how would any officer know to whom the vehicle was sold,” BI Ajri, Regional Transport Officer told Sakal Times.
“The vehicle owner should have ensured that the vehicle was transferred to the name of the new owner,” Ajri said.