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New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Tiruchirapalli v/s Saravanan @ Saravanakumar & Others

    C.M.A.(MD) No. 1671 of 2008 & M.P.(MD) No. 1 of 2008 & 1 of 2009

    Decided On, 19 November 2021

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S. VAIDYANATHAN

    For the Appellant: J. Maria Rubit, G. Prabhu Rajadurai, Advocate. For the Respondents: R3, V. Kannan, Advocate.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is filed under Section 30 of the Workmen Compensation Act, 1923, to set aside the Judgment and Decree, dated 12.09.2008 in W.C.No.304 of 2007, on the file of the Workmen Compensation Commissioner (Deputy Commissioner of Labour), Tiruchirappalli.)

1. This civil miscellaneous appeal has been preferred by the Insurance Company challenging the Award dated 12.09.2008 in W.C.No.304 of 2007, on the file of the Workmen Compensation Commissioner (Deputy Commissioner of Labour), Tiruchirappalli, on the grounds that the insurance policy had not been transferred in the name of the third respondent and that the second respondent has sold the vehicle to the third respondent and that the employee met with an accident while he was in employment under the third respondent.

2. To be noted that the factum of employment of the first respondent under him has been admitted by the third respondent. The relevant portion of the statement made by the third respondent is extracted hereunder: “TAMIL”

3. The learned counsel appearing for the appellant contended that in terms of Section 50 read with Section 157 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, if no name transfer has taken place, the existing owner of the vehicle will have to pay the compensation and liability cannot be foisted on the Insurance Company. As the employer, even though admitted the employment, has not produced any document before the Authority concerned to prove the wages of the workman. Further, Even though the third respondent was not originally made as a party to the proceedings before the Authority concerned, subsequently, he was made as a party to the proceedings.

4. At this juncture, it may be relevant to note that the Honourable Supreme Court in Firdaus vs. Oriental Insurance Company Limited and others [(2017) 15 SCC 674] has categorically held that even if the vehicle stand transferred to the name of another person, the liability of the insurer to pay compensation to the third party shall not cease. The relevant portion of the said decision is extracted hereunder:

“16. In view of the above, it is not necessary for us to give any concluded finding regarding ownership of the vehicle No.HR 2 G 1875 on the date of accident for the purpose of this case. In either of the eventuality, i.e. whether defendant no.1 was the owner of the vehicle on the date of the accident, or defendant no.4 was the owner of the vehicle, the liability of Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. continues and Workmen compensation Commissioner has rightly fastened the liability on the Insurance Company. The remand made by the High court to find out as to whether Parvez Khan was an employee of the defendant no.1 or not, was unnecessary.”

5. Furthermore, violation of the insurance policy will not pave way for the Insurance Company to pay the amount claimed under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 as the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 are completely different and of course, when relief under one enactment is invoked, the other enactment cannot be invoked again for the purpose of claiming compensation for the same accident.

6. A cursory perusal of the materials available on record shows that the respondents 2 and 3 have violated the provisions of Sections 50 and 157 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Since the offending vehicle has been purchased by the third respondent and that the factum of employment has been admitted by the third respondent and as per the statement of the third respondent extracted above, this Court is of the view that the third respondent, who is owner of the vehicle, alone is liable to pay compensation to the workman as determined by the Author

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ity concerned. 7. As the appellant – Insurance Company has already deposited the entire award amount, the claimant shall withdraw the same and it is open to the appellant – Insurance Company to recover the same from the third respondent in the manner known to law. 8. Accordingly, the civil miscellaneous appeal is disposed of. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.
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