SC: Standard of proof in MACT cases is preponderance of probabilities

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 08.12.2020, in the matter of Anita Sharma & Ors. v. The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. & Anr.  that strict principles of evidence and standards of proof like in a criminal trial are inapplicable in MACT claim cases. The standard of proof in such like matters is one of preponderance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

It is quite natural that such a person who had accompanied the injured to the hospital for immediate medical aid, could not have simultaneously gone to the police station to lodge the FIR. (Para 17)

Strict principles of evidence and standards of proof like in a criminal trial are inapplicable in MACT claim cases. The standard of proof in such like matters is one of preponderance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. One needs to be mindful that the approach and role of Courts while examining evidence in accident claim cases ought not to be to find fault with non­examination of some best eye­witnesses, as may happen in a criminal trial; but, instead should be only to analyze the material placed on record by the parties to ascertain whether the claimant’s version is more likely than not true. (Para 22)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_08-Dec-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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