1. The appellant is the petitioner/claimant in O.P.(MV) No. 915 of 2005, on the files of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal,(hereinafter referred to as 'the Tribunal'), Ernakulam. The above Original Petition was filed under section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, claiming an amount of Rs. 6,00,000/-, as compensation for the injuries sustained by him in a motor vehicle accident.
2. According to the appellant, the accident was caused by the rash and negligent driving of the offending truck owned by the 1st respondent and driven by the 2nd respondent. At the time of accident, the offending vehicle was covered under the insurance policy issued by the 3rd respondent to the 1st respondent. Thus, respondents 1 and 2 are jointly and severally liable to pay compensation to the appellant and the 3rd respondent Insurance Company is liable to indemnify them by paying compensation directly to the appellant.
3. The 1st and 2nd respondents remained ex parte and the 3rd respondent Insurance Company opposed the said application, denying the allegation that the accident was caused due to the rash and negligent driving of the offending truck by the 1st respondent. So also, the 3rd respondent denied the issuance of policy in respect of the offending vehicle during the relevant time of accident covering the risk.
4. Both parties adduced evidence on their rival pleas and after considering the evidence on record, the Tribunal passed the impugned award granting Rs. 1,30,500/- to the petitioner as compensation. But, the Tribunal further found that at the time of accident, there was no insurance coverage to the said offending truck as no policy was issued to the 1st respondent by the 3rd respondent, as contended by the appellant. So, the Tribunal directed the 1st respondent to pay the said compensation to the appellant and exonerated the 3rd respondent Insurance Company from the liability. This appeal is filed challenging the finding, whereby the Tribunal exonerated the 3rd respondent Insurance Company from the liability to indemnify the 1st and 2nd respondents.
5. Heard the learned counsel for the appellant and the learned counsel for respondents 1 and 3.
6. This appeal is filed on the sole ground that actually the offending vehicle was insured with the 3rd respondent Insurance Company at the time of accident; but the 3rd respondent denied the insurance coverage and the 1st respondent, the owner of the vehicle to whom the insurance policy was issued remained ex parte before the Tribunal. So, the 1st respondent could not produce the insurance policy issued to him by the 3rd respondent. In the above circumstances, the Tribunal relied on the denial of the insurance coverage put forward by the Insurance Company and exonerated the company from the liability to indemnify the 1st respondent for the compensation amount. But, in this appeal, the appellant produced Annexure-A2 copy of the insurance policy issued by the 3rd respondent along with an application, accompanied by an affidavit, under Order 40, Rule 27 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, to accept the same in evidence and contended that actually the vehicle was actually covered by Annexure-A2 insurance policy at the time of accident.
7. According to the learned counsel for the appellant, since the 1st respondent, the owner of the vehicle was remained absent, the insurance policy issued by the 3rd respondent to the 1st respondent could not have been produced in evidence and Annexure-A2 was obtained on an application filed by the appellant invoking the provisions under the Right to Information Act, 2005((hereinafter referred to as 'RTI Act') from the 3rd respondent.
8. Annexure-A2 would show that on the date of accident, 08.12.2003, the vehicle was covered under Annexure-A2 insurance policy issued for a period from 27.03.2003 to 26.03.2004. It is needless to say, the appellant was not in possession of Annexure-A2 insurance policy at the time when the Tribunal passed the impugned award and the appellant obtained the same invoking the provisions under the RTI Act. Therefore, this Court finds that Annexure-A2 can be accepted in evidence, after granting an opportunity to the Insurance Company to raise objection, if any, to Annexure-A2. In the above view, the impugned award passed by the Tribunal is set aside and the Original Petition is remitted back to the Tribunal for fresh consideration.
9. The learned counsel for the appellant advanced arguments assailing the inadequacy and correctness of the quantum of compensation also. According to the learned counsel, the quantum of compensation determined for 'permanent disability' is inadequate and disproportionate with the actual disability sustained by him. But, this Court finds that no disability certificate was produced in evidence to prove the percentage of disability. However, the Tribunal found that the disability on account of amputation of left index finger at proximal inter phalangeal joint level can be reasonably estimated as 7% as per Mc. Brides Scale. But, permanent disability was not assessed on the basis of the said finding and a lump sum amount of Rs. 20,000/- was given. The Tribunal is not justified in granting a lump sum amount of Rs. 20,000/-, despite the finding that the amputation of left index finger can be reasonably estimated as 7% as per Mc. Brides Scale. The quantum of compensation granted under different heads also requires reconsideration by the Tribunal. Thus, it is made clear that the remand is an open remand and both parties are at li
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berty to adduce further evidence to prove their all respective contentions. 10. The Tribunal is directed to pass award afresh, after affording an opportunity, to adduce further evidence, to both parties, at the earliest, at any rate, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment. The parties shall appear before the Tribunal on 31.03.2018. The Registry is directed to return Annexures-A1 and A2 to the appellant and the appellant is at liberty to produce the same before the Tribunal. This Motor Accident Claims Appeal is allowed accordingly to the above extent.