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The Premier Insurance Company, Kakinada Vs. R. Jagadeswara Rao and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent Appeal No. 43 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1980AP34
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110-E and 111-A; Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules, 1964 - Rule 530-A
AppellantThe Premier Insurance Company, Kakinada
RespondentR. Jagadeswara Rao and anr.
Respondent AdvocateA. Hanumantharao, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....- sections 110-e and 111-a of motor vehicles act, 1939 and rule 530-a of andhra pradesh motor vehicles rules, 1964 - compensation awarded to respondent in accident claim - execution application filed by respondent to execute compensation award - appellant contended that execution application filed under rule 530-a not maintainable as rule 530-a is inconsistent with section 110-e - purpose of section 110-e to facilitate recovery of money - under section 111-a state government empowered to make rules for purpose of carrying into effect provisions of section 110-e - rule 530-a in such circumstances cannot be said inconsistent and maintainability of execution application cannot be objected - held, execution application ordered to be restored. - - 2. the relevant facts are few..........preferred by the victims of the motor vehicle accidents. for the purposes of adjudicating these claims 'motor accidents claims tribunals' in short 'claims tribunals' manned by a judge of the high court or a district judge, are directed to be brought into existence by the state governments. under s. 110-b. these claims tribunals are given power of enquiring into the claim and making an award determining the amount of just compensation specifying person or persons to whom the compensation shall be paid and by whom. sec. 110-e which is the most important section for the purpose of this case, should be read in full. '110-e. where any money is due from an insurer under an award, the claims tribunal may, on an application made to it by the person entitled to the money, issue a certificate.....
Judgment:

P.A. Choudary, J.

1. This Letters Patent Appeal is filed by the Premier Insurance Company, Kakinada against a judgment of our learned brother Chennakesav Reddy, J. By means of his order, Chennakesav Reddy, J. reversed an order of the District Judge, Rajahmundry, dated 25-3-1974 dismissing Execution Petition No. 15 of 1973 in O. P. No. 76 of 1967 filed under R. 530-A of Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules. The aforesaid Execution Petition No. 15 of 1973 had been filed by one Jagadeswara Rao, seeking execution of a compensation award decreed to him against the Insurance Company and the owner of a vehicle. But, the learned District Judge, holding that the aforesaid R. 530-A is inconsistent with Section 110-E of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1939, dismissed the Execution Petition.

2. The relevant facts are few and the questions of law are also simple, although they appear to be complicated enough for the Insurance Company to be able to successfully arrest the execution of the aforesaid award decree for well over five years.

3. Jagadeswara Rao, the execution petitioner, is the victim of an accident caused by a motor vehicle owned by one Ramarao and insured with the Premier Insurance Company Kakinada. In claim proceedings instituted by Jagadeswara Rao under Section 110-A of the aforesaid Motor Vehicles Act, the District Judge, Rajahmundry, acting as the Claims Tribunal, awarded the victim of the motor accident a sum of Rupees 12,600/- as compensation; armed with this order of the Claims Tribunal, in E. P. No. 25 of 1973 for the execution of the award decree, he made to that execution application, the Premier Insurance Company Kakinada, the insurer and Ramarao and owner as the respondents.

4. The Insurance Company raised a preliminary objection as to the maintainability of the execution application. It said that the execution application filed under the aforesaid R. 530-A is not legally maintainable as R. 530-A is inconsistent with Sec. 110-E of the aforesaid Motor Vehicles Act. The learned District Judge had upheld this objection raised by the Insurance Company as to the maintainability of the execution application and dismissed the same.

5. It is against that order of the learned District Judge, the motor vehicle accident victim Jagadeswara Rao, preferred C. M. A. No. 263 of 1977 to the Court which was allowed by our learned brother Chennakesav Reddy, J. Feeling aggrieved by the order of our learned brother, the Insurance Company prefers this L. P. A. under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent.

6. In order to appreciate the contentions of the Insurance Company, it is necessary to see the Scheme of the Motor Vehicles Act and in particular the effect of Sec. 110-E of the Motor Vehicles Act and Rule 530-a made by the A. P. State Government.

7. The Motor Vehicles Act of 1939 had provided for, among other things, for the adjudication of the claims preferred by the victims of the motor vehicle accidents. For the purposes of adjudicating these claims 'Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals' in short 'claims Tribunals' manned by a Judge of the High court or a District Judge, are directed to be brought into existence by the State Governments. Under S. 110-B. these Claims Tribunals are given power of enquiring into the claim and making an award determining the amount of just compensation specifying person or persons to whom the compensation shall be paid and by whom. sec. 110-E which is the most important Section for the purpose of this case, should be read in full.

'110-E. Where any money is due from an insurer under an award, the Claims Tribunal may, on an application made to it by the person entitled to the money, issue a certificate for the amount to the Collector and the Collector shall proceeded to recover the same in the same manner as an arrear of land revenue.'

8. The aforesaid Section 110-E was amended by the Central Act 56 of 1969 with effect from 2-3-1970. After the amendment, Section 110-E reads as follows:-

'Where any money is due from any person under an award, the Claims Tribunal may on an application made to it by the person entitled to the money issue a certificate for the amount to the Collector and the Collector shall proceed to recover the same in the same manner as an arrear of land revenue.'

9. It is clear from the language of Section 110-E that the original Section was available for the execution of the award given by the Claims Tribunal only against the insurer. In other words, the owner and the driver and the like were not covered by the original Sec. 110-E. In order to supply this statutory deficiency, Section 110-E was amended by Act 56 of 1969 with effect from 2-3-1970. Now after the amendment Section 110-E is available for the claimant to proceed in execution not only against the insurer but also the owner and the driver. But, both before and after the amendment, the aforesaid procedure prescribed for execution always remained 'summary'. Under Section 110-E the procedure is for the Claims Tribunal, to issue a certificate to the District Collector specifying the amount and the persons liable under the award and for the Collector to recover the amount from those named persons by the summary method provided by the Revenue Recovery Act. There is no change in this procedure even after the amendment of the section in the year 1969.

10. At a time when Section 110-E was not operative against the parties other than the insurer, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh made R. 530-A in the year 1965 providing for an alternative mode for enforcing the award. That rule reads as follows:-

'Subject to the provisions of S. 110-E the Claims Tribunal, shall, for the purpose of enforcement of its award, have all the powers of a civil court in the execution of a decree under the Civil P. C. 1908, as if the award were a decree for the payment of money passed by such Court in a Civil Suit.'

Under R. 530-A, the Claim-holder has been given a right to proceed under Civil P. C. not only against the insurer but also against the owner and the driver.

11. The learned District Judge had reasoned, in our opinion, quite wrongly, that although, R. 530-A was valid before Section 110-E has been amended in the year 1969, it has become invalid after the amendment of the Section in the year 1969. In the words of the learned District Judge, 'By virtue of this amendment, the argument, that has been advanced before me for the respondents is, that the section confers jurisdiction on the civil Court and thus there is no consistency between the two..........' When the section itself confers a jurisdiction on the Collector for execution purposes by means of Section 110-E. R. 530-A is inconsistent and cannot prevail over Section 110-E R. 530-A was framed prior to March 1970. So, in view of my finding that the word 'may' must be construed as 'shall' in the context of Sec. 110-E, it is only the Collector that can execute the Award after obtaining certificate from the Civil Court and R. 530-A goes against the basic policy of the parent statute and so this rule becomes ultra vires.'

12. In our considered opinion, the learned District Judge had fallen into a serious error by failing to notice the statutory provisions more particularly, Section 111-A of the aforesaid Motor Vehicles Act which authorises the State Government to make rules. The aforesaid section reads as follows:-

'111-A: 'A State Government may make rules for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of Ss. 110 to 110-E and, in particular, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters viz.

(a) & (b) ...........

(c) the powers vested in a civil court which may be exercised by a Claims Tribunal.

(d) ..............

(e) any other matter which is to be, or may be, prescribed.'

The intention of the Legislature in enacting Section 111-a is clearly to empower the State Government to frame rules which would supplement the powers of execution conferred on the Collector under Section 110-E of the Motor Vehicles Act. The purpose under lying Section 110-E of the Act is to facilitate recovery of the money. Under Sec. 111-A, the State Government is empowered to make rules for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of Sec. 110-E. It is therefore competent for the State Government to frame Rule 530-A in the form in which it has been framed. Inasmuch as the statute itself contemplates the making of and authorizes the framing of supplementary provisions in the form of rules, facilitating the fruition of the purposes underlying S. 110-E, any supplementary Rule like R. 530-A cannot be held to be inconsistent with Sec. 110-E of the Act. In other words, it must be understood that it is never the intention of Parliament to exhaustively provide for the method and manner of execution by enacting Section 110-E. The clear intention of the parliament as evidenced by Section 111-A, is that the procedure provided for by Section 110-E can be added to and supplemented by the rules that might be made by the State Government out of felt necessities of the local situation.

13. There were and always remained undoubted differences between the Section 110-E and R. 530-A. Always under the rule the claimant can proceed against the trio, the insurer, the owner and the driver but, only under the provisions of the Civil P. C. But the provisions of the Section 110-E before its amendment were made operative only against the insurer. It is only after the amendment, the provisions of that Section are made available against the three. To that extent, there is perfect harmony between the Section and Rule. But both before and after the amendment of this section, the section provided for a more summary and speedy remedy by making the machinery of the Revenue Recovery Act available for the realisation of the award money, whereas, under the Rule, the steady and slow procedure of Civil P. C. alone can be used for execution of the award decree. It is therefore open for a claimant either to choose a summary procedure available under the Section 110-E of the Motor Vehicles Act for the activation of which he has to depend upon the official initiative and co-operation or to opt for the slow and steady procedure provided by the Civil P. C. the implementation of which would depend upon his own initiative and interest. We find this additional method is one authorised by Sec. 111-A of the Act. We therefore, cannot agree with the conclusion of the learned District Judge that R. 530-A is inconsistent with any provisions of the Act R. 530-A in our opinion provides for a supplementary mode of execution in addition to what has been provided for under Sec. 110-E of the Act.

14. It is settled rule of construction that a Court construing a provision of law should presume that the intention of the authority making it was not to exceed its powers and to enact it validly. Where, therefore, two constructions of the rule are possible, one leading to its invalidity and another sustaining it as a valid piece of legislation, the court must lean to that interpretation which upholds its validity (see State of M. P. v. Dadabhoy's colliery Company, : [1972]2SCR609 . The declaration of invalidity is too serious a matter for any Court to be made light-heartedly.

15. We must clearly point out that even on the assumption that R. 530-A is ultra vires of Sec. 110-E of the Motor Vehicles Act, as wrongly held by the learned District Judge he is wholly unjustified in dismissing the execution petition. If R. 530-A being ultra vires of the rule-making power of the State Government is non est, the District Judge, as Claims Tribunal, has still got power and jurisdiction to proceed under Sec. 110-E of the Act. The fact that the execution petition mentioned an invalid and ultra vires provision would not take away the jurisdiction of the District Judge conferred by Sec. 110-E of the statute of deal with the execution application. (see Hukumchand Mills v. State of Madhya Pradesh, : [1964]52ITR583(SC) ). By failing to deal with the execution petition even on the alternative basis and merely holding that the rule is inconsistent with the Act, the District Judge unwittingly helped to postpone the execution of the award decree for all these years.

16. For all the aforesaid reasons, we dismiss the Letters Patent Appeal and direct the District Judge, Rajahmundry, to restore E. P. No. 15/73 in O. P. No. 76/77 to his file and dispose of in the light of this Judgment expeditiously and without any delay whatsoever.

17. Appeal dismissed.


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