New Delhi, (Agencies): In a relief for people sleeping under open sky, the city's Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) has ruled that a poor and destitute person, run over by a speeding vehicle while sleeping on pavement, cannot be blamed for the accident and also not deprived of the damages due to them from the firm insuring the vehicle.

While awarding a sum of around Rs 19,000 each to destitute Rashid and Sajjan, injured in September 2009 by a speeding car, which had hit the hand-cart on which they were sleeping by roadside in Daryaganj area of central Delhi, MACT judge Swarna Kanta Sharma gave the ruling.

"I do not find any merit in the contentions of the counsel for insurance company since majority of destitute and poor in this city are compelled to sleep on the pavements. It is poverty which compels them to sleep on the pavement and not because they happily want to do so," the judge said.

She said denying the compensation to the duo would mean that "we are holding them guilty because of their poverty".

Rashid and Sajjan received a compensation of Rs 19,080 and Rs 18,980 respectively by the court.

The court, while awarding the compensation, also took into account the fact that the two were were unable to work as hawkers for quite some days due to injuries.

The judge further said,"In the present case, Rashid and Sajjan were lucky that they have escaped with simple injuries, otherwise incidents are not unknown of such vehicles having gone to pavements and crushed the people to death," and added that in such cases no leniency should be given to drivers responsible for rash driving.