The Gauhati High Court has directed the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) to pass judgment afresh in the 1999 Bus Electrocution case. The Court observed that Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) was neither provided with due notice nor given an opportunity to present its case.

The Court further emphasized that the actions of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Tribunal) violated the principles of natural justice and therefore, was unsustainable. The Court directed the Tribunal to pass judgment after giving due opportunity to APDCL to present their case.

Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia noted, “I am in agreement with Mr. Deka that no notice was actually issued to Assam Power Distribution Company Limited and without hearing it, the Tribunal directed them to pay compensation. This Court is of the opinion that this act on the part of the Tribunal is against the values of the natural justice. Therefore, the impugned judgment which directed Assam Power Distribution Company Limited to pay compensation without hearing it, is bad in law and is not sustainable”.

Advocate N. Deka appeared for the Appellant and Advocate H. Das appeared for the Respondent.

The Respondent was riding on a bus with a large load of bananas on the roof. The load hit overhead live electric wires, causing some passengers to be electrocuted and some to die. The Tribunal directed the APDCL to pay compensation and therefore, the APDCL filed an Appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MVA) challenging the impugned order and judgement of the Tribunal. The APDCL contended that they were not given a fair opportunity to present their case and that the decision of the tribunal was therefore unfair.

“Therefore, the appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment is set aside. The case is remanded to the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal No.1, Kamrup(M), Guwahati for passing a judgment afresh after hearing Assam Power Distribution Company Limited”, the Court asserted.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the Appeal and set aside the impugned judgment.

Cause Title: Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd. v Prafulla Brahma And Ors.

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