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Abdul Ghafoor and ors. Vs. the New India Assurance Co. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 23 of 1974
Judge
Reported inAIR1980All410
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 95, 95(1), 96 and 110A
AppellantAbdul Ghafoor and ors.
RespondentThe New India Assurance Co. and ors.
Appellant AdvocateV.K. Burman, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateRam Vilal Gupta, ;S.C. Srivastava, ;Satish Chandra and ;Deoki Nandan, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....if any of these three conditions is not satisfied, the insurer will not be responsible to pay compensation for the bodily injury or death which may have been caused to a third party. these provisions clearly show that in absence of a decree against the owner (person insured), an insurer has no liability to satisfy the claim of a third party as under the policy the insurer is liable to satisfy the liability which may have been accrued against the person insured......caused to a third party. these provisions clearly show that in absence of a decree against the owner (person insured), an insurer has no liability to satisfy the claim of a third party as under the policy the insurer is liable to satisfy the liability which may have been accrued against the person insured. it, therefore, follows that in j the absence of a decree against the owner of a vechile, the insurer cannot be held liable for the damages accruing to the dependents of a person who may have died in an accident.6. in the instant case raj kishore owner had obtained an insurance policy from new india insurance company in respect of the vehicle which was involved in the accident. the initial liability of paying damages to the claimants rests on the owner of the vehicle who was.....
Judgment:

K.N. Singh, J.

1. This is an appeal under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act by the claimants against the judgment and order of the Claims Tribunal, Etawah, dismissing the appellants' claim petition filed under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939.

2. Briefly the facts giving rise to this appeal are that Mahmood a conductor who was in the employment of Raj Kishore, owner of Public Carrier Vehicle No. USF 8823, was killed in an accident which took place on 3-6-1970. Abdul Ghafoor the father of the deceased and Mohan Bibi, foster mother of the deceased, Roopa Begam wife of the deceased and Gulam Kadir and Mohd. Usman minor brothers of Mahmood filed claim petition under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, claiming compensation from the owner of the vehicle and the New India Assurance Company with whom the vehicle had been insured. The Claims Tribunal dismissed the claim petition by its order dated 1-10-1973. The Claims Tribunal held that since Smt. Roopa Begam widow of the deceased Mahmood had filed an application for compensation before the Commissioner under the Workmen's Compensation Act 1923 other dependents of the deceased Mahmood could not maintain another claim petition in view of Section 110-AA of the Motor Vehicles Act. On merits the Claims Tribunal held that the vehicle was being driven by Raj Kishore owner himself in a negligent and rash manner resulting in the accident causing the death of Mahmood. The Tribunal found that the owner was liable to pay a sum of Rs. 25000/- to the claimants but it did not award any amount as compensation to the claimants in view of his findings that the claim petition was not maintainable. Aggrieved, the claimants have preferred this appeal against the judgment and order of the Claims Tribunal.

3. During the hearing of this appeal, it was brought to our notice that the claimant-appellants failed to take any steps for the owner of the vehicle. The appellants were granted time to take steps for service of notice on Raj Kishore but they failed to do so and the appeal against Raj Kishore was dismissed twice by a learned single Judge, once on 31-7-1978 and then again on 29-10-1979. The claimants did not pursue the appeal and they failed to take steps for service of notice on Raj Kishore owner of the vehicle, with the result there is no appeal against the owner of the vehicle and the order of the Claims Tribunal has become final so far as the owner is concerned. In the circumstances learned counsel for the Insurance Company urged that the present appeal is incompetent and no decree can legally be passed against the Insurance Company alone.

4. There is no dispute that the owner of the vehicle is not before us and even if the appeal is allowed, nodecree could be passed against the owner, instead a decree can only be passed against the insurer. The question arises as to whether in the absence of owner of the vehicle a decree can be passed against the insurer for payment of damages to the dependents of a person who may have died in the accident. In order to appreciate this question we have to consider the liability of the insurer under the Motor Vehicles Act. Section 95 provides for taking a policy of Insurance by the owner of a vehicle and the limits of liability. Section 95 (1) (b) lays down that an insurer is responsible in respect of acts of persons mentioned in the policy to the extent mentioned in Sub-section (2). Section 95 (2) prescribes the extent of liability which may be incurred by the owner in respect of any accident. In the event of an accident of goods vehicle, causing death or bodily injury to employees being carried in the vehicle the extent of insurer's liability to pay compensation extends up to Rs. 50,000/-. Section 95 read as a whole makes it clear that the insurer is responsible for the liability which may be incurred by the owner in respect of bodily injury caused to any person by him or by his employees arising out of the use of a vehicle in a public place. Section 96 deals with the duties of the insurer to satisfy judgments against person insured in respect of third party. The title of section itself indicates that the insurer is liable to satisfy the party who may have obtained judgment or decree against the person insured. Section 96 (1) reads:

'96. Duty of insurers to satisfy judgments against persons insured in respect of third party risks. -- (1) If, after a certificate of insurance has been issued under Sub-section (4) of Section 95 in favour of the person by whom a policy has been effected, judgment in respect of any such liability as is required to be covered by a policy under Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 95 (being a liability covered by the terms of the policy) 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 the costs and any sum payable in respect of interest on that sum by virtue of any enactment relating to interest on judgments.'

5. The above provisions places an obligation on the insurer to pay the amount which may have been awarded against the owner of the vehicle subject to certain conditions and qualifications. The first condition is that there should be a judgment or decree against a person insured. The second condition is that the judgment must be in respect of liability covered by the policy under Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 95. The third condition is that the liability, in fact, must be covered by the terms of the policy. If any of these three conditions is not satisfied, the insurer will not be responsible to pay compensation for the bodily injury or death which may have been caused to a third party. These provisions clearly show that in absence of a decree against the owner (person insured), an insurer has no liability to satisfy the claim of a third party as under the policy the insurer is liable to satisfy the liability which may have been accrued against the person insured. It, therefore, follows that in j the absence of a decree against the owner of a vechile, the insurer cannot be held liable for the damages accruing to the dependents of a person who may have died in an accident.

6. In the instant case Raj Kishore owner had obtained an insurance policy from New India Insurance company in respect of the vehicle which was involved in the accident. The initial liability of paying damages to the claimants rests on the owner of the vehicle who was responsible for the accident resulting in the death of the deceased Mahmood. Since Raj Kishore owner has not been served with the notice of the appeal, the appellants cannot be granted any decree against the insurer.

7. Learned counsel for the appellants made oral request to grant time for taking steps for service of notice on Raj Kishore respondent. The appellants had been granted time for service of notice on Raj Kishore on several occasions but the appellants have beennegligent in the matter and they never took steps for service of notice on Raj Kishore. In the circumstances we are not prepared to grant indulgence to the appellants in the matter. In our opinion, the appellants themselves are responsible for the situation that the owner has not been served with the notice of appeal. We, therefore, refuse to grant any time to the appellants.

8. In the result we dismiss the appeal but there will be no order as to costs.


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