The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

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The Public Liability Insurance Act has been incorporated on 22nd January 1991. This Act has been established to provide immediate insurance for the person who met with an accident while handling hazardous substance and other similar circumstances.

This Public liability-Insurance will help the weaker section of the people who handles such hazardous substances and chemicals from delayed relief or compensation. This Act provides immediate insurance relief to such person with genuine injury occurring through an accident as prescribed in this Act.

All owners of such factory or industry handling hazardous substance shall take several insurance policies inorder to provide immediate relief to its own employee during such unforeseen accident or injury or even death while handling such chemicals or substances. In case if any owner fails to take such insurance before this Act, shall take such Insurance for Contract of insurance within a year of Commencement of this Act. No person shall claim for relief in case if such accident occurs due to his own wrong handling or negligent in handling, etc.

Every owner shall renew their insurance policies before the expiry date of such policies inorder to meet such unforeseen circumstances throughout the period. Owners should not take insurance policies less than the paid-up-capital of undertaking hazardous chemicals and substances that is owned and controlled. At the same time the amount of insurance policies should not exceed Fifty Crores Rupees. The liability of the insurer for one insurance policy shall be within the amount prescribed in the contract of insurance in that policy.

The Owners shall pay not only premium to the insurer but also for a relief fund not more than such premium paid as specified in this Act. The insurer later shall return back the excess amount of Relief fund to the owners. In case if the insurer fails to returns the money on time, it shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue or of public fund.

The Central Government shall by notifications exempt itself, State Government, any Corporations owned by Central and State Governments and any Local Authority from this Insurance operations except in case where the owners fails to maintain such insurance policies to provide immediate relief to its employees during accident while handling hazardous substances.

The Collector immediately after knowing about such accident shall investigate such occurrence and publicity made in such a manner to receive application of Claim for injury, death, etc either by the same person or his legal representatives or agent of such deceased person.

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The Collector shall not appreciate any application that is made any other members other than the members specified in this Act. The Application must be filled with all relevant particulars and should be made within five years of such unforeseen accident caused while handling hazardous substances. The Collector after receiving the application shall fix a date for enquiry through notification to the Owner and Parties after giving an opportunity to hear and pass such award to grant relief to the affected parties that appears to be fit for his quantum of injury incurred.

 The copies of the awards shall be given to the parties within fifteen days from the date of award. During the award the insurer are demanded to pay such amount as specified in the award within thirty days from the date of such award and deposit such amount before the Collector. The Collector shall demand for relief fund if any and asked to deposit such amount as specified in the award. The Collector shall also demand for any amount paid by the Owner as specified in the award and is asked to deposit before him. The Collector has the power as specified in Civil Procedure Code, 1908.

The Central Government shall with notification introduce an Environment Relief Fund that is paid with a scheme framed and administered in accordance with this Act. The Central Government shall authorize a person to monitor such place where hazardous substances where carried forward for usage, as and when necessary to see whether any of the provisions of this Act has been violated or to be performed. All expenses incurred by such person for disposal of hazardous substances shall be recovered through arrears of land revenue or of public fund from the Owner.

The Central Government shall pass any directions in pursuance to this Act to any of the Officers or person authorized to do so or Owner or agents, etc. In case if the Central Government through its authorized person comes to know that the Owner is handling such hazardous substances against the provisions of this Act shall be produced before the Magistrate on application by such person.

All expenses incurred on legal proceedings shall be recoverable from the Owner as arrears of land revenue or of public fund. Any person acting in contravention to this Act shall be punished with imprisonment with or without fine as it deems fit. No legal action shall be taken against any activities done in pursuance to this Act. The Central Government shall have enormous powers to make any number of rules in pursuance to this Act. It shall constitute any number of committees as and when necessary. Each rules or schemes framed should be assented by the Houses of Parliaments.

This Act clearly displayed the intention of the legislature to protect the weaker section of the people who works with hazardous substances for winning his daily bread by providing

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by C.Srivenkatesh Prabhu.