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United India Insurance Company Ltd. v/s Ram Nath Singh & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- RAM-NATH & COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24131TN1998PTC040557

Company & Directors' Information:- NATH PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31908PN2013PTC148540

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65990MH1941PTC003461

Company & Directors' Information:- RAM NATH AND CO PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U26931UP1964PTC002986

Company & Directors' Information:- NATH AND CO LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U15141KL1946PLC000796

Company & Directors' Information:- D S RAM SINGH AND CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL1958PTC002894

    First Appeal From Order No. 35 of 1999

    Decided On, 06 February 2019

    At, High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

    By, THE HONOURABLE DR. JUSTICE KAUSHAL JAYENDRA THAKER

    For the Appellant: Nagendra Kumar Srivastava, Advocate. For the Respondent: Mahendra Singh, Advocate.



Judgment Text


Heard Sri Nagendra Kumar Srivastava, learned counsel for the appellant and perused the judgment and order impugned. None appeared on behalf of respondent.

2. This appeal, at the behest of the United India Insurance Company Limited, has been preferred against the judgment and award dated 3.10.1998 passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal/VII Additional District Judge, Deoria (hereinafter referred to as 'Tribunal') in M.A.C.P. No.158 of 1992 awarding a sum of Rs. 60,500/- in favour of the injured-respondent.

3. While going through the record, it is not clear how the Tribunal has held against the insurance company. Issue No.3 goes to show that the fundamental duty cast on the owner to prove that driver had a valid driving license was not fulfilled. The onus cannot be sifted on insurance company in the absence of any documentary evidence.

4. Contesting respondent who is the claimant submits that the dispute is between the Insurance Company and its insured and his money has been released.

5. Section 147 and 149 of Act, 1988 reads as follow :

"Section 147 Requirements of policies and limits of liability. -

"(1) In order to comply with the requirements of this Chapter, a policy of insurance must be a policy which-

(a) is issued by a person who is an authorised insurer; and

(b) insures the person or classes of persons specified in the policy to the extent specified in sub-section (2)-

(i) against any liability which may be incurred by him in respect of the death of or bodily 27 [injury to any person, including owner of the goods or his authorised representative carried in the vehicle] or damage to any property of a third party caused by or arising out of the use of the vehicle in a public place;

(ii) against the death of or bodily injury to any passenger of a public service vehicle caused by or arising out of the use of the vehicle in a public place:

Provided that a policy shall not be required-

(1) to cover liability in respect of the death, arising out of and in the course of his employment, of the employee of a person insured by the policy or in respect of bodily injury sustained by such an employee arising out of and in the course of his employment other than a liability arising under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 (8 of 1923) in respect of the death of, or bodily injury to, any such employee-

(a) engaged in driving the vehicle, or

(b) if it is a public service vehicle engaged as conductor of the vehicle or in examining tickets on the vehicle, or

(c) if it is a goods carriage, being carried in the vehicle, or (ii) to cover any contractual liability.

Explanation. -For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the death of or bodily injury to any person or damage to any property of a third party shall be deemed to have been caused by or to have arisen out of, the use of a vehicle in a public place notwithstanding that the person who is dead or injured or the property which is damaged was not in a public place at the time of the accident, if the act or omission which led to the accident occurred in a public place.

(2) Subject to the proviso to sub-section (1), a policy of insurance referred to in sub-section (1), shall cover any liability incurred in respect of any accident, up to the following limits, namely:-(a) save as provided in clause (b), the amount of liability incurred;

(b) in respect of damage to any property of a third party, a limit of rupees six thousand:

Provided that any policy of insurance issued with any limited liability and in force, immediately before the commencement of this Act, shall continue to be effective for a period of four months after such commencement or till the date of expiry of such policy whichever is earlier.

(3) A policy shall be of no effect for the purposes of this Chapter unless and until there is issued by the insurer in favour of the person by whom the policy is effected a certificate of insurance in the prescribed form and containing the prescribed particulars of any condition subject to which the policy is issued and of any other prescribed matters; and different forms, particulars and matters may be prescribed in different cases.

(4) Where a cover note issued by the insurer under the provisions of this Chapter or the rules made thereunder is not followed by a policy of insurance within the prescribed time, the insurer shall, within seven days of the expiry of the period of the validity of the cover note, notify the fact to the registering authority in whose records the vehicle to which the cover note relates has been registered or to such other authority as the State Government may prescribe.

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, an insurer issuing a policy of insurance under this section shall be liable to indemnify the person or classes of persons specified in the policy in respect of any liability which the policy purports to cover in the case of that person or those classes of persons.

Section 149. Duty of insurers to satisfy judgments and awards against persons insured in respect of third party risks.-

(1) If, after a certificate of insurance has been issued under sub-section (3) of section 147 in favour of the person by whom a policy has been effected, judgment or award in respect of any such liability as is required to be covered by a policy under clause (b) of sub-section (l) of section 147 (being a liability covered by the terms of the policy) 1[or under the provisions of section 163A] is obtained against any person insured by the policy, then, notwithstanding that the insurer may be entitled to avoid or cancel or may have avoided or cancelled the policy, the insurer shall, subject to the provisions of this section, pay to the person entitled to the benefit of the decree any sum not exceeding the sum assured payable thereunder, as if he were the judgment debtor, in respect of the liability, together with any amount payable in respect of costs and any sum payable in respect of interest on that sum by virtue of any enactment relating to interest on judgments.

(2) No sum shall be payable by an insurer under sub-section (1) in respect of any judgment or award unless, before the commencement of the proceedings in which the judgment or award is given the insurer had notice through the Court or, as the case may be, the Claims Tribunal of the bringing of the proceedings, or in respect of such judgment or award so long as execution is stayed thereon pending an appeal; and an insurer to whom notice of the bringing of any such proceedings is so given shall be entitled to be made a party thereto and to defend the action on any of the following grounds, namely:-

(a) that there has been a breach of a specified condition of the policy, being one of the following conditions, namely:-

(i) a condition excluding the use of the vehicle-

(a) for hire or reward, where the vehicle is on the date of the contract of insurance a vehicle not covered by a permit to ply for hire or reward, or

(b) for organised racing and speed testing, or

(c) for a purpose not allowed by the permit under which the vehicle is used, where the vehicle is a transport vehicle, or

(d) without side-car being attached where the vehicle is a motor cycle; or

(ii) a condition excluding driving by a named person or persons or by any person who is not duly licensed, or by any person who has been disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence during the period of disqualification; or

(iii) a condition excluding liability for injury caused or contributed to by conditions of war, civil war, riot or civil commotion; or

(b) that the policy is void on the ground that it was obtained by the nondisclosure of a material fact or by a representation of fact which was false in some material particular.

(3) Where any such judgment as is referred to in sub-section (1) is obtained from a Court in a reciprocating country and in the case of a foreign judgment is, by virtue of the provisions of section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) conclusive as to any matter adjudicated upon by it, the insurer (being an insurer registered under the Insurance Act, 1938 (4 of 1938) and whether or not he is registered under the corresponding law of the reciprocating country) shall be liable to the person entitled to the benefit of the decree in the manner and to the extent specified in sub-section (1), as if the judgment were given by a Court in India:

Provided that no sum shall be payable by the insurer in respect of any such judgment unless, before the commencement of the proceedings in which the judgment is given, the insurer had notice through the Court concerned of the bringing of the proceedings and the insurer to whom notice is so given is entitled under the corresponding law of the reciprocating country, to be made a party to the proceedings and to defend the action on grounds similar to those specified in subsection (2).

(4) Where a certificate of insurance has been issued under sub-section (3) of section 147 to the person by whom a policy has been effected, so much of the policy as purports to restrict the insurance of the persons insured thereby by reference to any condition other than those in clause (b) of subsection (2) shall, as respects such liabilities as are required to be covered by a policy under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 147, be of no effect: Provided that any sum paid by the insurer in or towards the discharge of any liability of any person which is covered by the policy by virtue only of this sub-section shall be recoverable by the insurer from that person.

(5) If the amount which an insurer becomes liable under this section to pay in respect of a liability incurred by a person insured by a policy exceeds the amount for which the insurer would apart from the provisions of this section be liable under the policy in respect of that liability, the insurer shall be entitled to recover the excess from that person.

(6) In this section the expression "material fact" and "material particular" means, respectively a fact or particular of such a nature as to influence the judgment of a prudent insurer in determining whether he will take the risk and, if so, at what premium and on what conditions, and the expression "liability covered by the terms of the policy" means a liability which is covered by the policy or which would be so covered but for the fact that the insurer is entitled to avoid or cancel or has avoided or cancelled the policy.

(7) No insurer to whom the notice referred to in sub-section (2) or subsection (3) has been given shall be entitled to avoid his liability to any person entitled to the benefit of any such judgment or award as is referred to in sub-section (1) or in such judgment as is referred to in sub-section (3) otherwise than in the manner provided for in sub-section (2) or in the corresponding law of the reciprocating country, as the case may be. Explanation.-For the purposes of this section, "Claims Tribunal" means a Claims Tribunal constituted under section 165 and "award" means an award made by that Tribunal under section 168."

6. It is an admitted position of fact that there was a breach of policy condition, namely, though the fundamental duty is of the owner and driver to discharge the duty and to prove that the driver had a proper driving licence to drive the vehicle in question and involved in the accident. The finding on issue no. 2 of the Tribunal shows that

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no driving licence was ever produced by the respondent, owner and driver nor did they stepped into the witness box. Once it is found as the matter of fact that the owner had not proved that he had given the vehicle to a driver who possessed licence to drive the vehicle involved . The driver also did not step into the witness box, hence it is to be presumed that the driver did not produce or prove that they had driving licence. The onus could not be shifted on the insurance company. Just because the vehicle was insured with the appellant-insurance company it cannot be made liable unless it is proved that there was no violation of the policy condition. 7. I am supported in may view in the matter of the judgment of Apex Court in Pappu and others vs. Vinod Kumar Lamba and others, reported in AIR 2018 SC 592. 8. In that view of the matter without delving further the insurance company is given right to recover as granted by Apex Court in the aforementioned case. 9. In this case, where there was no valid license, the third party risk can be recovered. The insurance company is granted the right of recovery though the amount is very less. 10. The appeal is partly allowed. Judgment and decree passed by the Tribunal shall be modified to the aforesaid extent.
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