‘Since a Claims Tribunal is created by a notification of the State Government under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, it cannot be said that such Tribunal is a Court subordinate to the High Court.’
The Allahabad High Court has held that Section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure cannot be invoked to seek transfer of claim petition pending before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
Justice Anjani Kumar Mishra dismissed some transfer petitions holding that they were not maintainable. The court was considering the issue whether Section 24 of the Civil Procedure Code can be invoked for transfer of a motor accident claim petition pending before a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
Referring to the relevant provisions, the court said that the words “subordinate to it” occurring in Section 24 (1) (b) of the Code were crucial. “Since a Claims Tribunal is created by a notification of the State Government under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, it cannot be said that such Tribunal is a Court subordinate to the High Court within the meaning of the term occurring in Section 24 CPC, despite the fact that an award of the Claims Tribunal is appealable to the High Court under Section 173,” the judge said.
The court added that though certain provisions of the Civil Procedure Code have been made applicable to proceedings before the claims tribunals constituted under the Motor Vehicles Act, Section 24 CPC is not one of them, and thus it cannot be invoked for transfer of a claim petition pending before a claims tribunal.
View of other High Courts
In Noreen R. Srikantaiah vs L. Dasarath Ramaiah, a Karnataka High Court division bench had held that the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal is a “court” subordinate to the high court within the meaning, and for purposes, of Section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure and the transfer of a claim petition from one tribunal in the state to another is permissible. But in 2003, the full bench of the high court in Union Of India vs. Mysore Paper Mills Ltd doubted this view taken by the division bench.
A single bench of Rajasthan High Court, earlier this year, had held that for the purposeof exercising the powers under Section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Motor Accident Claims Tribunals are courts subordinate to the high court and it has the power to transfer the claim petition from one tribunal to another tribunal subject to the merit of the individual case.
While holding thus, the Rajasthan High Court judge referred to a 1990 Gauhati High Court judgment in Raju Das vs Sushil Kumar Das, wherein it was held that power of transfer can be exercised by the high court both under Section 24, CPC and under Article 227 of the Constitution.