At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. PREM NARAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: Aditya Sharma, Advocate. For the Respondent: Mansimran Singh, Advocate.
The petitioner Ex Subedar Vinod Kumar Sharma has challenged the order dated 16th August 2017 of the State Commission passed in first appeal No. 993 of 2016 in the present revision petition.
2. Brief facts relevant for the disposal of the present revision petition are that the vehicle of the petitioner was insured with the respondent/opposite party and during the currency of the policy, the vehicle met with an accident on 20th August 2014. The complainant submitted a claim for Rs.1,31,480/-. The surveyor assessed the loss to the tune of Rs.1,06,668/-. The insurance company appointed another investigator who also agreed that the repairs have been done as per the final survey report. However the insurance company repudiated the claim on the ground that the complainant had violated section 6 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 as the complainant had two driving licenses. The complainant filed the consumer complaint before the District Forum and the District Forum allowed the complaint and directed the insurance company to pay the insurance claim in full but in terms of the surveyors final report along with Rs.5,000/- as cost and compensation. Aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, The insurance company preferred an appeal before the State Commission and the State Commission allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the District Forum. The State Commission has agreed with the assertion of the insurance company that the complainant has violated section 6 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and thereby has violated the terms and conditions of the policy and therefore, the claim was not payable.
3. Hence the present revision petition.
4. The learned counsel for the petitioner stated that the State Commission has not considered the fact that the accident took place on 20th August 2014 and the license issued by Maharashtra transport authority expired on 06.10.2013. Thus, the complainant had only one license issued by the Punjab transport authority at the time of accident. It was further argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the violation of rule is to be seen on the date of the arising of insurance claim and if any provision of Motor Vehicle Act has been violated prior to that date, the action can be taken by the competent authority under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 itself.
5. On the other hand the learned counsel for the respondent insurance company stated that the complainant violated the section 6 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 by possessing two driving licensees. The State Commission has rightly dismissed the complaint and set aside the order of the District Forum.
6. I have carefully considered the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the parties and examined record. The main question to be decided in the present case is whether the complainant would be entitled to insurance claim in the circumstances when he possessed two driving licenses against the provision of section 6 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. Clearly, having two driving licenses at the same time is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. However, in the present case, at the time of accident, the complainant had only one driving license and his other driving license had already expired about 10 months before. In fact, the driving license issued by Maharashtra transport authority was issued on 12th October 2010 and was valid up to 6th October 2013. The license issued by the Punjab transport authority was issued on 2nd April 2010 and was valid up to 1st June 2015. The accident has happened on 20th August 2014. Clearly on this date, the complainant was having only one driving license. The condition of the policy is that the driver of the vehicle must be having a valid driving license at the time of accident and this condition is met in the present case. Clearly, the complainant has violated the provision of section 6 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and this violation existed up to 6th October 2013. Obviously, the transport authorities would be fully justified in taking action against the complainant for violation of section 6 of the MV Act 1988. Action by the transport authorities may have been taken even prior to 6th October 2013 or the same can be taken even after this date.
7. In my view, the violation of the conditions is to be seen at the time of the accident which gave rise to the claim. The State Commission has relied on the judgment of this commission in Jai Prakash Goyal vs United India Insurance Company Limited reported in 2010 (3) CLT page 580-581 wherein this Commission has observed that the second license will be invalid as this would have been issued in violation of section 6 of the MV Act 1988. In the present case, it is seen that the license issued by Maharashtra transport authority was issued on 12.10.2010 and this expired on 06.10.2013 whereas the license issued by the Punjab transport authority has been issued on 2nd April 2010 and this license expired on 1st June 2015. Thus, the license issued by the Punjab transport authority was valid on the date of accident. It is also clear that the license of Maharashtra transport authority was issued later and therefore as per the judgment of This Commission in Jai Prakash Goyal vs United India Insurance Company Limited (Supra), the license issued by Maharashtra transport authority will be considered as the second license and therefore will be considered as invalid. By implication this means that the license issued by the Punjab transport authority will be considered as the first license and the same would be considered as valid. Thus, the State Commission has wrongly inferred that the license issued by Punjab transport authority being the second license will be invalid and therefore the license held by the complainant on the day of accident was invalid. Clearly, the observation of the State Commission is not valid on the face of the record. However, on the other hand, it is also true that the complainant has violated section 6 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1986 though this violation is not during the currency of the policy. But violators of law cannot be equat
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ed with the law abiding persons and therefore, I deem it appropriate to only allow the claim on non-standard basis. 8. Based on the above discussion, the revision petition is partly allowed and the order dated 16th August 2017 of the State Commission is set aside. Further, the order of the District Forum is modified to the extent that the insurance company would be liable to pay only Rs.80,000/- (75% of Rs.1,06,668/-) to the complainant along with interest @5% per annum together with cost of litigation as Rs.5000/- as ordered by the District Forum. This order be complied by the insurance company within a period of 45 days from the date of receipt of this order.