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New India Assurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Swaran Kanta and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal from Order No. 394 of 1979
Judge
Reported in[1987]61CompCas483(P& H)
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 95
AppellantNew India Assurance Co. Ltd.
RespondentSwaran Kanta and ors.
Appellant Advocate G.S. Chawla, Adv.
Respondent Advocate K.K. Aggarwal, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredSingh v. Sham Lal
Excerpt:
.....of passing of the said order. - 5. the extent of insurance cover in any particular case is a matter within the exclusive knowledge of the insured and the insurer and, therefore, in a case where neither the insurance company nor the claimants disclose the limit of liability of the insurance company and the claimants claim an amount larger than the limit prescribed in section 95 of the motor vehicles act, it is now well settled that the onus lies upon the insurance company to plead and prove, by placing on record the policy of insurance, that its liability does not extend to the amount claimed or that it was limited to the minimum statutory requirement, as the case may be. 6. in the present case, in the absence of the policy of insurance and even of a plea to that effect, there is..........whether its liability was unlimited or limited to the extent as prescribed under section 95 of the motor vehicles act ?2. krishan kumar, the deceased, was killed in an accident caused by rash and negligent driving of a truck. the tribunal, after holding so, awarded rs. 60,520 as compensation to the claimants, they being the widow and children of krishan kumar, the deceased.3. the point canvassed by mr. g.s. chawla, counsel for the insurance company, was that rs. 50,000 was the maximum limit of the liability of the insurance company as no plea had been put forth by the claimants that there was any specific contract between the insured and the insurer whereby this limit stood extended. in other words, unless so specifically pleaded, liability of the insurance company must be taken to be to.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. The controversy in appeal here is with regard to the limit of liability of the insurance company for the compensation awarded, namely, whether its liability was unlimited or limited to the extent as prescribed under Section 95 of the Motor Vehicles Act ?

2. Krishan Kumar, the deceased, was killed in an accident caused by rash and negligent driving of a truck. The Tribunal, after holding so, awarded Rs. 60,520 as compensation to the claimants, they being the widow and children of Krishan Kumar, the deceased.

3. The point canvassed by Mr. G.S. Chawla, counsel for the insurance company, was that Rs. 50,000 was the maximum limit of the liability of the insurance company as no plea had been put forth by the claimants that there was any specific contract between the insured and the insurer whereby this limit stood extended. In other words, unless so specifically pleaded, liability of the insurance company must be taken to be to the extent stated in Section 95 of the Motor Vehicles Act which in this case was Rs. 50,000.

4. The contention raised cannot stand scrutiny. The requirement of Section 95 of the Motor Vehicles Act is that a motor vehicle must be insured and the insurance company must bear liability at least to the extent indicated therein, but it contains no prohibition to the insurance company agreeing to accept liability in excess of such limit.

5. The extent of insurance cover in any particular case is a matter within the exclusive knowledge of the insured and the insurer and, therefore, in a case where neither the insurance company nor the claimants disclose the limit of liability of the insurance company and the claimants claim an amount larger than the limit prescribed in Section 95 of the Motor Vehicles Act, it is now well settled that the onus lies upon the insurance company to plead and prove, by placing on record the policy of insurance, that its liability does not extend to the amount claimed or that it was limited to the minimum statutory requirement, as the case may be. A judicial precedent here is provided by A jit Singh v. Sham Lal [1984] ACJ 255 ; [1986] 59 Comp Cas 946 (P & H), where it was held that the provisions of Section 95 of the Motor Vehicles Act do not prohibit the covering of a greater risk by the insurer than the minimum prescribed therein and therefore, if the insurance company, for whatever reasons, fails to bring on record the policy of insurance, it cannot be heard to say that it had agreed to indemnify the insurer only to the extent indicated in the statutory provision.

6. In the present case, in the absence of the policy of insurance and even of a plea to that effect, there is clearly no warrant to hold that the liability of the insurance company was limited to Rs. 50,000. This liability must be held to extend to the entire amount awarded. There is thus no merit in this appeal which accordingly is hereby dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs, 300.


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