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Shriram General Insurance Company Ltd. v/s Arvind Chauhan & Others

Company & Directors' Information:- GENERAL INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA [Active] CIN = L67200MH1972GOI016133

Company & Directors' Information:- GENERAL INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA [Active] CIN = U67200MH1972GOI016133

Company & Directors' Information:- ARVIND LIMITED [Active] CIN = L17119GJ1931PLC000093

Company & Directors' Information:- SHRIRAM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Active] CIN = U66010RJ2006PLC029979

Company & Directors' Information:- ARVIND AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109UR1990PTC011558

    Appeal From Order No. 406 of 2017

    Decided On, 24 February 2020

    At, High Court of Uttarakhand


    For the Appearing Parties: Tarun Pande, Prabhat Pande, Rajesh Joshi, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. This is insurer's appeal against the judgment and award dated 06.05.2017 passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal/District Judge, Nainital in Motor Accident Claims Case No. 187 of 2015, whereby a sum of '4,88,457/- along with interest @ 8% per annum has been awarded to the claimant who was injured in a road accident..

2. The claimant (respondent No. 1 herein) filed a claim petition before Motor Accident Claims Tribunal/District Judge, Nainital claiming Rs. 38,75,000/- as compensation for the physical disability suffered by him, meeting medical expenses, loss of earning capacity as well as pain and suffering. Learned Tribunal awarded a sum of Rs.4,88,457/- vide order dated 06.05.2017. Thus, feeling aggrieved, Shriram General Insurance Company Ltd. (Insurer) has filed this appeal under Section 173 of Motor Vehicles Act.

3. The only contention raised by learned counsel for the appellant is that learned Tribunal erred in allowing the claim petition by ignoring the delay of more than five months in filing FIR by the claimant.

4. A perusal of the impugned award reveals that learned Tribunal has dealt with the issue of delay in lodging the FIR in great detail in para 13 to 16 of the award. Learned Tribunal has noted the fact that the claimant had sent the information, regarding the accident to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Nainital, by post on 22.09.2015 while the accident occurred on 24.04.2015. It has further been noted that based on the said information, chick FIR was registered on 21.10.2015. The insurer company had admitted before the Tribunal that based on the FIR, a charge sheet has also been filed in the court. Learned Tribunal has accepted the explanation offered by the claimant that due to accident, he remained hospitalized from 24.04.2015 to 31.05.2015 and since he was completely immobilized due to the injuries sustained in the road accident, therefore, claimant could not register FIR in time. Learned Tribunal has further observed in para 16 of the impugned award that the claimant had made efforts to lodge FIR regarding the accident, which was not registered, therefore, he had to seek intervention of the SSP, Nainital.

5. It is thus apparent that learned MACT has considered and discussed the matter in great detail and this Court does not find any infirmity in the reasoning given by learned Tribunal. It is not the case of the appellant that the contents of FIR are fabricated or engineered to build a false case for compensation. In the absence of such plea by the appellant, learned Tribunal was justified in holding that accident was caused by Dumper No. HR38J/1086, which was insured with the appellant.

6. Even otherwise also, learned Tribunal has awarded a sum of Rs. 4,38,457/- towards medical expenses, as the surveyor of the Insurance Company had verified the medical bills submitted by the claimant. An additional sum of Rs. 50,000/- has been awarded to the claimant on account of his hospitalization in three different hospitals and other miscellaneous expenses, including those incurred for special and nutritious diet. Thus, the amount of compensation of Rs. 4,88,457/- awarded as compensation to the claimant cannot be said to be on the higher side.

7. Even otherwise also, Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Ravi Vs Badrinarayan & others, 2011 4 SCC 693 has held that delay in lodging FIR cannot be a ground to deny justice to the claimant. Para 17 to 19 of the said judgment are extracted below:-

"17. It is well settled that delay in lodging the FIR cannot be a ground to doubt the claimant's case. Knowing the Indian conditions as they are, we cannot expect a common man to first rush to the police station immediately after an accident. Human nature and family responsibilities occupy the mind of kith and kin to such an extent that they give more importance to get the victim treated rather than to rush to the police station. Under such circumstances, they are not expected to act mechanically with promptitude in lodging the FIR with the police. Delay in lodging the FIR thus, cannot be the ground to deny justice to the victim.

18. In cases of delay, the courts are required to examine the evidence with a closer scrutiny and in doing so the contents of the FIR should also be scrutinised more carefully. If the court finds that there is no indication of fabrication or it has not been concocted or engineered to implicate innocent persons then, even if there is a delay in lodging the FIR, the claim case cannot be dismissed merely on that ground. The purpose of lodging the FIR in such type of cases is primarily to intimate the police to initiate investigation of criminal offences.

19. Lodging of FIR certainly proves the factum of accident so that the victim is able to lodge a case for compensation but delay in doing so cannot be the main ground for rejecting the claim petition. In other words, although lodging of FIR is vital in deciding motor accident claim cases, delay in lodging the same should not be treated as fatal for such proceedings, if claimant has been able to demonstrate satisfactory and cogent reasons for it. There could be a variety of reasons in genuine cases for delayed lodgement of FIR. Unless kith and kin of the victim are able to regain a certain level of tranquillity of mind and are composed to lodge it, even if, there is delay, the same deserves to be condoned. In such circumsta

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nces, the authenticity of the FIR assumes much more significance than delay in lodging thereof supported by cogent reasons." 8. Since learned counsel for the appellant has urged only one ground, namely, delay in lodging the FIR, which is without substance in view of the discussion made above, and no other ground was urged by learned counsel for the appellant, therefore, I find no merit in this appeal. 9. Accordingly, appeal from order fails and is dismissed. Registry is directed to remit the Statutory amount, deposited by the appellant, to the concerned Tribunal within four weeks.