Gauhati HC Orders Retrial in 1999 Bus Electrocution Case Citing Violation of Natural Justice

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Published on: 3 August 2023 at 10:30 IST

The Gauhati High Court has ruled in favor of Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) in the 1999 Bus Electrocution case, directing the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) to conduct a fresh judgment.

The Court found that the principles of natural justice were violated as APDCL was not given proper notice or an opportunity to present its case.

Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia, presiding over the case, agreed with Advocate N. Deka’s arguments that APDCL had not been properly notified and had not been given a fair hearing before the Tribunal ordered them to pay compensation.

The Court deemed this action as a breach of natural justice and ruled that the Tribunal’s decision was legally unsustainable.

The case revolved around an incident where a bus carrying a significant load of bananas on its roof collided with overhead live electric wires, leading to electrocutions and fatalities.

Subsequently, the Tribunal directed APDCL to pay compensation, prompting the company to file an appeal challenging the order and judgment under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MVA). APDCL claimed that they were denied a fair opportunity to present their case, rendering the Tribunal’s decision unjust.

As a result of the High Court’s ruling, the appeal was allowed, and the previous judgment was set aside.

The case has now been remanded to the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal No.1, Kamrup(M), Guwahati, with instructions to pass a fresh judgment after affording Assam Power Distribution Company Limited a proper opportunity to present their defense.

The cause title of the case is “Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd. v Prafulla Brahma And Ors.”

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