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United India Insurance Company Limited v/s Yechuri Nirmala & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED INDIA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED [Active] CIN = U93090TN1938GOI000108

Company & Directors' Information:- J B UNITED PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U93000MH2014PTC258844

Company & Directors' Information:- J B UNITED PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999MH2014PTC258844

Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED CORPORATION LIMITED [Liquidated] CIN = U99999TN1942PLC003159

Company & Directors' Information:- NIRMALA CORPORATION [Dissolved] CIN = U99999MH1948PLC006174

    M.A.C.M.A. No.1991 of 2006

    Decided On, 03 March 2020

    At, High Court of for the State of Telangana

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K. LAKSHMAN

    For the Petitioner: V. Sambasiva Rao, Advocate. For the Respondents: Chandrasekhar Reddy, Gopireddy, Advocates.



Judgment Text


1. Feeling aggrieved by the order and decree dated 31.05.2006 in O.P. No.741 of 2004 passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal - cum - II Additional District Judge, Nalgonda at Suryapet (for short 'the Tribunal'), the appellant - Insurer - M/s. United India Insurance Company Limited preferred the present appeal challenging the liability as well as quantum of compensation awarded by the Tribunal.

2. Vide the aforesaid order, the Tribunal has awarded the entire claim amount of Rs. 4,00,000/- (Rupees four lakhs only) as compensation with proportionate costs and interest at 9% per annum thereon from the date of petition till the date of realization, directing the sole respondent - Insurer to deposit the compensation amount.

3. Heard Mr. V. Sambasiva Rao, learned counsel for the appellant and Mr. Chandrasekhar Reddy Gopireddy, learned counsel for respondents.

4. It is the specific contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that on 10.02.2002 at about 8.30 a.m., deceased - Yechuri Veeranjaneyulu along with one Panubothu Seetharam Naik was proceeding on his Hero Honda Splendor motorcycle bearing registration No.AP 24G 6161 towards Adavidevulapally village from Miryalaguda. At about 8.45 a.m., when they reached Hanumanpet bypass road, one vehicle was coming in opposite direction and at the same time, one road side dog suddenly came on the road. The deceased who was driving the motorcycle suddenly applied brakes, lost control and fell on the ground. As a result, the deceased received grievous injuries on his head. Immediately, he was taken to Government Hospital, Miryalaguda. As the condition was very serious, he was referred to Hyderabad and died on the way.

5. By referring the said facts supported by Exs.A1 - FIR and A6 - final report and also the evidence of PW.1, the learned counsel for the appellant - Insurer would contend that the deceased died due to his own negligence and, therefore, the respondents - claimants being legal representatives of the deceased cannot invoke the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (for short 'the Act'). He would further contend that the deceased was not a third party as per the provisions of the Act and the respondents are not entitled for the compensation. He would also contend that the Tribunal without appreciating the contention of the appellant that the deceased was not a third party and that the claimants are not entitled for compensation, has awarded the entire amount claimed by them fixing liability on the respondent - Insurer.

6. In support of above contentions, the learned counsel for the appellant has relied upon the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in New India Assurance Co. Ltd., v. Sadanad Mukhi 2009 ACJ 998 , Dhanraj v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd. 2005 ACJ 1 and United India Insurance Co.Ltd., v. Sunanda 2007 ACJ 1715 and would contend that in all the said decisions, the deceased died or person injured in the accident due to his own fault and that the legal heirs/injured are not entitled for compensation under the provisions of the Act.

7. The learned counsel for the Insurer would also contend that as per Ex.B1 insurance policy, there is no coverage to the risk of owner/driver of the vehicle involved in the accident. The learned counsel also referred the deposition of RW.1, who categorically deposed that as per Ex.B1, there is no coverage to the owner and as such, Insurer is not liable to pay any compensation to them. According to him, the respondents - claimants did not elicit anything contra from the cross-examination of RW.1. But, the Tribunal without appreciating the same held that as per Ex.B1 insurance policy, it is very clear that it covers risk to the driver-cum-owner of the vehicle involved in the accident. According to him, the said finding of the Tribunal is erroneous and contrary to the record since Ex.B1 policy did not cover the risk to the driver-cum-owner of the vehicle. The appellant did not collect any amount towards the same from the deceased and Ex.B1 also shows that the deceased did not pay any amount towards risk to the driver-cum-owner of the vehicle.

8. Supporting the impugned order, the learned counsel for the respondents - claimants would contend that the deceased went to the appellant office to obtain policy and he has offered payment towards risk to the owner - cum - driver. The appellant did not collect the same from the deceased. The learned counsel for the respondents would also contend that the deceased being layman insofar as the insurance policy and terms are concerned and, therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of the appellant - Insurer to advise the deceased properly and collect the premium from the deceased.

9. The learned counsel for the respondents referred various provisions of the India Motor Tariff including Personal Accident Cover under Motor Policy, Compulsory Personal Accident Cover for Owner-Driver, Optional Personal Accident Cover for persons other than Owner-Driver and cover note. He would further refer the certificate of insurance and policy are to be issued only in the standard forms given in Section 6 of the India Motor Tariff. He would also refer to 'extra benefits' mentioned in the said India Motor Tariff. The learned counsel for the respondents would also refer to the standard form for private car package policy and personal accident to unnamed hirer and unnamed pillion passengers. The learned counsel for the respondents has also referred a Circular No.MOT/GEN/10, dated 02.06.1986 issued by the Tariff Advisory Committee, Bombay and would contend that in the meeting of the said Committee, it was decided that the Standard Motor Cycle Comprehensive Policy should cover liability to pillion passengers treating them as occupants in the Motor Cycle and Provide indemnity to such persons who are not carried for hire or reward.

10. With the above said contentions, the learned counsel for the respondents would contend that it is the mistake of the appellant - Insurer in not collecting the premium from the deceased covering risk of owner-driver as per the said India Motor Tariff which is mandatory and, therefore, the respondents being legal heirs of the deceased shall not be deprived of compensation for no fault on them. He would further contend that M.V. Act is a beneficial legislation and, therefore, benefits should be given to the victims/respondents, legal heirs of the deceased. With the said contentions, the learned counsel for the respondents would contend that the Tribunal on the analysis of the entire evidence, both oral and documentary, has rightly awarded the compensation fixing liability on the Insurer.

11. On perusal of entire evidence, including Ex.B1 - policy, it is not in dispute that the owner of the offending vehicle did not pay premium to cover the risk of owner-cum-driver to the appellant - Insurer and Insurer did not collect the same. According to the claimants, the Insurer did not collect the same in accordance with the said India Motor Tariff and Circular dated 02.06.1986. But, the claimants cannot raise the said contentions in any application filed under section 166of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. If at all, the claimants are having any grievance, they have to approach appropriate forum, but not under the provisions of M.V. Act. Therefore, the said contention of the claimants cannot be accepted. It is relevant to note that the claimants filed the application under Section 166 of the M.V. Act and, therefore, the burden lies on them to prove that the Insurer is liable to pay compensation. But, the claimants failed to discharge the said burden with convincing evidence.

12. On perusal of the entire record, it is not in dispute that the accident had occurred due to apply of brakes by the deceased who was driving his own motorcycle and lost control over it and fell on the road. There is no third party involved in the accident. The accident had occurred due to own fault of the deceased himself. Therefore, in the case on hand, the deceased is not a third party as per the provisions of the Act. Thus, the respondents - claimants cannot take shelter under the Act by invoking the provisions there-under. As held by the Apex Court in the aforesaid decisions, respondents are not entitled for any compensation and the appellant - Insurer is not liable to pay the said compensation to the claimants. The finding of the Tribunal that as per Ex.B1 policy, it is very clear that it covers risk to the driver-cum-owner of the vehicle involved in the accident and the deceased and, therefore, the Insurer is liable to pay compensation is erroneous and incorrect appreciation on facts and in law. From the said finding, it is clear that the accident had occurred due to apply of sudden brakes by the deceased himself and there is no third party involved.

13. As discussed supra, on perusal of the insurance policy, the appellant did not collect any premium from the deceased to cover the risk to the driver-owner and the deceased did not pay any premium under Ex.B1 to cover risk to the driver-owner. RW.1 evidence is also very specific on the same. The respondents did not elicit anything con

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tra from cross-examination of RW.1. The appellant has also taken a specific plea that as per Ex.B1 - policy, the respondents are not entitled for any compensation from the Insurer. 14. In view of the aforesaid discussion, the finding of the Tribunal that Ex.B1 covers risk to the driver-owner of the vehicle involved in the accident is erroneous and contrary to the record. As such, applying the principle held by the Apex Court in the aforesaid decisions and also on the analysis of the facts and circumstances of the present case, the finding of the Tribunal fixing the liability on the appellant - Insurer is erroneous and accordingly, the same is liable to be set aside. 15. In the result, the appeal filed by the appellant - respondent - Insurer is allowed setting aside the order and decree dated 31.05.2006 in O.P. No.741 of 2004 passed by the Tribunal. However, there shall be no order as to costs. As a sequel, Miscellaneous Applications, if any, pending in the appeal shall stand closed.
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