Section 3 in The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
Title: Liability to give relief in certain cases on principle of no fault.
(1) Where death or injury to any person (other than a workman) or damage to any property has resulted from an accident, the owner shall be liable to give such relief as is specified in the Schedule for such death, injury or damage.
(2) In any claim for relief under sub-section (1) (hereinafter referred to in this Act as claim for relief), the claimant shall not be required to plead and establish that the death, injury or damage in respect of which the claim has been made was due to any wrongful act, neglect or default of any person.
Explanation.--For the purposes of this section,--
(i) "workman" has the meaning assigned to it in the Workmens Compensation Act, 1923 (8 of 1923);
(ii) "injury" includes permanent total or permanent partial disability or sickness resulting out of an accident.
Title: Duty of owner to take out insurance policies
(1) Every owner shall take out, before he starts handling any hazardous substance, one or more insurance policies providing for contracts of insurance whereby he is insured against liability to give relief under sub-section (1) of section 3:
Provided that any owner handling any hazardous substance immediately before the commencement of this Act shall take out such insurance policy or policies as soon as may be and in any case within a period of one year from such commencement.
(2) Every owner shall get the insurance policy, referred to in sub-section (1), renewed from time to time before the expiry of the period of validity thereof so that the insurance policies may remain in force throughout the period during which such handling is continued.
1[ (2A) No insurance policy taken out or renewed by an owner shall be for an amount less than the amount of the paid-up capital of the undertaking handling any hazardous substance and owned or controlled by that owner, and more than the amount, not exceeding fifty crore rupees, as may be prescribed.
Explanation.-- For the purposes of this sub-section, "paid-up capital" means, in the case of an owner not being a company, the market value of all assets and stocks of the undertaking on the date of contract of insurance.
(2B) The liability of the insurer under one assurance policy shall not exceed the amount specified in the terms of the contract of insurance in that insurance policy.
(2C) Every owner shall also, together with the amount of premium, pay to the insurer, for being credited to the Relief Fund established under section 7A, such further amount, not exceeding the sum equivalent to the amount of premium, as may be prescribed.
(2D) The insurer shall remit to the authority specified in sub-section (3) of section 7A the amount received from the owner under sub-section (2C) for being credited to the Relief Fund in such manner and within such period as may be prescribed and where the insurer fails to so remit the amount, it shall be recoverable from insurer as arrears of land revenue or of public demand.]
(3)The Central Government may, by notification, exempt from the operation of sub-section (1) any owner, namely:--
(a) the Central Government;
(b) any State Government;
(c) any corporation owned or controlled by the Central Government or a State Government; or
(d) any local authority:
Provided that no such order shall be made in relation to such owner unless a fund has been established and is maintained by that owner in accordance with the rules made in this behalf for meeting any liability under sub-section (1) of section 3.
1 Ins. by Act 11 of 1992, s. 3 (w.e.f. 31-1-1992).
Title: Verification and publication of accident by Collector
Whenever it comes to the notice of the Collector that an accident has occurred at any place within his jurisdiction, he shall verify the occurrence of such accident and cause publicity to be given in such manner as he deems fit for inviting applications under sub-section (1) of section 6.
Title: Application for claim for relief
(1) An application for claim for relief may be made
(a) by the person who has sustained the injury;
(b) by the owner of the property to which the damage has been caused;
(c) where death has resulted from the accident, by all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased; or
(d) by any agent duly authorised by such person or owner of such property or all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased, as the case may be:
Provided that where all the legal representatives of the deceased have not joined in any such application for relief, the application shall be made on behalf of or for the benefit of all the legal representatives of the deceased and the legal representatives who have not so joined shall be impleaded as respondents to the application.
(2) Every application under sub-section (1) shall be made to the Collector and shall be in such form, contain such particulars and shall be accompanied by such documents as may be prescribed.
(3) No application for relief shall be entertained unless it is made within five years of the occurrence of the accident.
Title: Award of relief
(1) On receipt of an application under sub-section (1) of section 6, the Collector shall, after giving notice of the application to the owner and after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard, hold an inquiry into the claim or, each of the claims, and may make an award determining the amount of relief which appears to him to be just and specifying the person or persons to whom such amount of relief shall be paid.
(2) The Collector shall arrange to deliver copies of the award to the parties concerned expeditiously and in any case within a period of fifteen days from the date of the award.
1[(3) When an award is made under this section,--
(a) the insurer, who is required to pay any amount in terms of such award and to the extent specified in sub-section (2B) of section 4, shall, within a period of thirty days of the date of announcement of the award, deposit that amount in such manner as the Collector may direct;
(b) the Collector shall arrange to pay from the Relief Fund, in terms of such award and in accordance with the scheme made under section 7A, to the person or persons referred to in sub-section (1) such amount as may be specified in that scheme;
(c) the owner shall, within such period, deposit such amount in such manner as the Collector may direct.]
(4) In holding any inquiry under sub-section (1), the Collector may, subject to any rules made in this behalf, follow such summary procedure as he thinks fit.
(5) The Collector shall have all the powers of Civil Court for the purpose of taking evidence on oath and of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and of compelling the discovery and production of documents and material objects and for such other purposes as may be prescribed; and the Collector shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 (2 of 1974).
(6) Where the insurer or the owner against whom the award is made under sub-section (1) fails to deposit the amount of such award within the period specified under sub-section (3), such amount shall be recoverable from the owner, or as the case may be, the insurer as arrears of land revenue or of public demand.
(7) A claim for relief in respect of death of, or injury to, any person or damage to any property shall be disposed of as expeditiously as possible and every endeavour shall be made to dispose of such claim within three months of the receipt of the application for relief under sub-section (1) of section 6.
2(8) Where an owner is likely to remove or dispose of his property with the object of evading payment by him of any amount of award, the Collector may, in accordance with the provisions of rules 1 to 4 of Order XXXIX of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), grant a temporary injunction to restrain such act.]
1 Subs. by Act 11 of 1992, s. 4, for sub-section (3) (w.e.f. 31-1-1992).
2 . Ins. by Act 11 of 1992, s. 4 (w.e.f. 31-1-1992)