Orissa High Court irked over Centre’s tardy response to PIL

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday expressed disappointment over Assistant Solicitor General of India Prasanna Parhi seeking more time to respond to notices issued on a PIL on compensation to road mishap victims filed more than eight months back.

A two-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray was dissatisfied as no counter affidavit was filed by the Union of India despite several adjournments. “How much more time! Mr Parhi !”, the Chief Justice questioned, while allowing time till December 6 as ‘last chance’ for filing of the response to the PIL challenging time limit of six months from the date of accident for filing of application for compensation to victims under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019. The Bench has fixed January 10 as the next date of hearing on the matter.

The petition filed by Ananga Kumar Otta of Badchana in Jajpur district has sought quashing of restriction without any relaxation introduced in the Act which came into force with the assent of President of India on August 9, 2019. 

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 had previously limited the period for filing a claim petition to six months. It also provided that the Claims Tribunal may entertain the application after the expiry of the period of six months but not later than 12 months. Initially, the Court had issued notices returnable within eight weeks to the Secretary, Ministry of Law  and Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on January 3, 2021. 

As the Assistant Solicitor General of India sought time to file the response when the PIL came up for hearing on May 3 this year, the Court posted the matter to September 14. But when the petition came up on Tuesday, the Assistant Solicitor General again sought more time to file the response.The petition was filed through advocate Susant Kumar Dash.

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