At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE C. SARAVANAN
For the Appellants: D. Baskaran, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1 & R2, No Appearance.
(Prayer: Civil Miscellaneous Appeals filed under Section 173 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 against the Judgments and Decrees passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Sub Court) Ponneri in M.C.O.P.Nos.162, 285 and 176 of 2005 dated 02.02.2009, 09.09.2008 and 28.02.2011.)Common Judgment1. By this common Judgment, all the three Civil Miscellaneous Appeals are being disposed.2. These appeals have been filed by the appellant insurance company against the separate judgments and decrees dated 02.02.2009, 09.09.2008 and 28.02.2011 passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (Sub Court) Ponneri in M.C.O.P.Nos.162, 285 and 176 of 2005.3. By the impugned separate judgments and decrees dated 02.02.2009, 09.09.2008 and 28.02.2011, the Tribunal has allowed the claim petitions filed by the 1st respondent/claimant in the respective appeal and has awarded a sum of Rs.63,000, 15,000 and 49,000 as compensation to them.4. The case of the appellant-insurance company in these appeals are that admittedly the claimants who are the 1st respondent in the respective appeals travelled as authorised passengers. It is submitted that they neither travelled as representative of the owner of the goods nor as employees of the owner and since the policy did not contemplate to cover such risks, the Tribunal erred in awarding compensation to them.5. It is further submitted that the policy covered only personal accident cover owner-cum-driver and third party. It is further submitted that the respective claimants who are the 1st respondent before this Court in the respective appeals were the labourers of the contractor of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board who carried the transformer for E.B. and since seating capacity of the insured auto was only 1+1, there was no question of awarding compensation.6. It is further submitted that as per F.I.R, totally five persons travelled in the insured mini goods carrier which was driven in a rash and negligent driving and therefore the Tribunal ought not have made the appellant-Insurance company liable to pay compensation. In this case, admittedly, the number of persons who travelled in the mini goods carrier were more than the authorised number of persons why could travel as per the Registration Certificate of the insured vehicle. However, that by itself will not mean that the respective claimants were unauthorised passengers. At best, it would mean that there was violation of the policy terms.7. Therefore, there is no harm in directing by the appellant to pay and recover the amount from the owner of the insured vehicle as per the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Nanjappan and Others, (2004) 13 SCC 224. Therefore, liberty can be given to the appellant Insurance Company to pay the compensation awarded by the Tribunal to the 1st respondent/claimant and recover the same from the owner of the insured vehicle, i.e. 2nd respondent herein in the respective appeals.8. Therefore, the appellant Insurance Company is directed to deposit the award amount in the respective appeals together with interest at 7.5% from the date of the claim petition till the date of deposit and cost, less any amount already deposited, within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this Judgment.9. On such deposit, the 1st respondent/claimant in the respective appeals are entitled to withdraw the same together with interest, by filing suitable appl
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ications before the Tribunal.10. The appellant-Insurance Company may proceed to recover the aforesaid amount of compensation from the 2nd respondent owner of the vehicle as per the above decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.11. In view of the above observation, these Civil Miscellaneous Appeals are disposed of. No cost. Consequently, connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.