MR.VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER
This revision petition pertains to an insurance claim of a motor cycle. It was repudiated by the respondent, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. on the grounds that, at the time of the incident-
a) the vehicle was driven by the complainant without a valid license and,
b) the vehicle itself was not registered, as required by Section 39 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
2. The case of the complainant before the District Forum was that the delay in registration was due to the fact that he intended to get a specific number of his choice for registration. Secondly, at the time this vehicle was snatched away from him, it had been parked and was not being driven. Therefore, the license of the driver was not relevant because it was not a case of the vehicle being involved in any road accident.
3. On the other hand, the plea of the OP/Insurance Company was that the complainant had neither deposited the registration fees nor produced the vehicle for inspection by the Transport Department for the purposes of registration. Had the vehicle been registered, it would have been easy for the police to trace it out. It was further argued that the vehicle was insured subject to the conditions in the policy and relevant provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. Non-registration of the vehicle was in violation of Section 39 of the Act. The records reveal that the police had arrested and charge-sheeted the two persons concerned with the incident of snatching of this Motor-Cycle, but they had not been able to recover the vehicle.
4. The District Forum rejected the above contentions of the OP/Insurance Company and held that use of the vehicle without registration was a matter to be dealt under the Motor Vehicles Act, but the insurer and the insured are bound by the terms of the contract between them. In the absence of a specific condition in the policy that if the owner does not get the vehicle registered within a period of seven days of its purchase, the Insurance Company will not be liable to pay for the loss of the vehicle. It was not proper to repudiate the claim on this ground. Therefore, the District Consumer Forum allowed the claim and directed the Insurance Company to pay the claim.
5. The decision of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Satna, Madhya Pradesh was reversed by the M.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in the impugned order passed in Appeal No.2433 of 2007. The Commission held that it was a case of a vehicle being used without registration. The incident occurred while it was being so used. It was a case just not a violation of the terms of the policy but also of the law therefore, the Insurance Company was justified in repudiating the claim.
6. We have perused the record and heard Shri Ravindra Mishra, Advocate for the revision petitioner and Ms. Preetima Shrivastav, Advocate for the respondent, Oriental Insurance Company. The revision petition has been filed with a delay of 54 days, which the petitioner has sought to explain in the application for condonation filed with the petition. In our view, the application for condonation does not sufficiently explain this delay of 54 days. Therefore, the revision is liable to be dismissed on the ground of limitation alone.
7. Coming to the merits of the case, we find that the main ground of challenge to the impugned order is that neither before the District Forum nor before the State Commission, the OP/Oriental Insurance Company had raised the point that violation of the law under the Motor Vehicles Act also amounted to violation of the policy. It is therefore argued that the State Commission has erred in raising this point on its own. It is further contended that the insurance policy nowhere states that at the time of loss due to theft the claimant should not have violated the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
8. In our view, these arguments are neither legally correct nor acceptable. Registration of the vehicle is mandatory requirement of the law. The relevant provision, Section 39 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, reads”
œNo person shall drive any motor vehicle and no owner of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or in any other place unless the vehicle is registered in accordance with this Chapter and the certificate of registration of the vehicle has not been suspended or cancelled and the vehicle carries a registration mark displayed in the prescribed manner.
Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to a motor vehicle in possession of a dealer subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.?
Clearly therefore, till the vehicle receives this certification of registration from the competent authority, it is not legally useable on roads. Averments in the complaint petition itself show that the Motor Cycle was used by the Complainant for dropping his uncle to the Railway Station Satna and that the incident had happened on its return journey. This use of the motor cycle was in clear violation of the statutory requirement of registration.
9. In view of the above, we find ourselves in complete agreement with the State Commission that use of the vehicle in violation of the law itself will take it beyond the protection of the policy. We accordingly, uphold the view of the State Commission that under the circumstances of the case, the Insurance Company was justified in repudiating the claim of the revision petitioner/complainant. The revision petition is, therefore considered to be devoid of any merit. It is accordingly dismissed on the ground of limitation as well as on merits. The parties shall bear their own costs.