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State of Kerala Vs. K. Bavakutty Rowther - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles;Criminal
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 251 of 1959
Judge
Reported inAIR1960Ker341; 1960CriLJ1461
ActsTravancore-Cochin Motor Vehicles Act, 1125 - Sections 89 and 89(1); Motor Vehicles Insurance Rules - Rule 14
AppellantState of Kerala
RespondentK. Bavakutty Rowther
Appellant AdvocatePublic Prosecutor
Respondent Advocate D. Narayanan Potti, Adv.
Cases ReferredBir Singh v. Sm. Hashi Rashi
Excerpt:
- .....of the offence punishable under section 112 read with section 89 (1) of the travancore-coehin motor vehicles act x of 1125. fish van t. c. q. 1765 when being driven on the punalur-kayamkulam road on 25-10-1957 was involved in an accident. when the records of the van were gone through after the accident, it was found out that at the time of the accident the motor vehicle was not covered by a policy of insurance in the name of the accused who was then the registered owner.the heirs of the victim were denied compensation under the third party insurance by the insurance department on the ground that the accused did not possess a policy of insurance complying with the requirements of section 89 (1) of the motor vehicles act. the government therefore ordered the prosecution of the.....
Judgment:

Anna Chandy, J.

1. This appeal is filed by the State against the order of the Second Glass Magistrate, Kayamkulam in C. C. No. 305 of 1959 acquitting the accused Bavakutty Rowther, the registered owner of the Fish Van T.C.Q. 1765, of the offence punishable under Section 112 read with Section 89 (1) of the Travancore-Coehin Motor Vehicles Act X of 1125. Fish Van T. C. Q. 1765 when being driven on the Punalur-Kayamkulam Road on 25-10-1957 was involved in an accident. When the records of the van were gone through after the accident, it was found out that at the time of the accident the motor vehicle was not covered by a policy of insurance in the name of the accused who was then the registered owner.

The heirs of the victim were denied compensation under the Third Party Insurance by the Insurance Department on the ground that the accused did not possess a policy of insurance complying with the requirements of Section 89 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Government therefore ordered the prosecution of the accused. During the trial, it was revealed that the vehicle T.C.Q. 1765 was covered by a certificate of insurance issued to Shri Pappachan the former owner on 21-5-1957 for the period from 1-4-1957 to 31-3-1958. Relying on this, the learned Magistrate arrived at the conclusion that the accused is not guilty of the offence of not possessing an insurance certificate for the vehicle on 25-10-1957.

Though the accused had no such contention, the Magistrate thought, the accused must have believed that the insurance certificate of the van covering the period was enough to satisfy the requirements of the Motor Vehicles Act. The learned Magistrate, holding that the law permits a person to cause or allow any other person to use a vehicle if there is a policy of insurance in his favour, came to the conclusion that there is nothing culpable in the accused using the vehicle on the public road since the former owner of the vehicle in whose name the insurance certificate stood, by transferring ownership to the accused, had in effect allowed the accused to use the vehicle. He therefore acquitted the accused.

2. The learned Public Prosecutor argues that the view taken by the Magistrate is completely erroneous and that the order of acquittal has to be reversed. I am inclined to agree with him. Section 89 (1) reads thus :

'No person shall use except as a passenger or cause or allow any other person to use the motor vehicle in a public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that person or that other person as the case may be, a policy of insurance complying with the requirements of this chapter.'

3. Therefore the question whether the former owner permitted the accused to use the vehicle does not assume any importance and the real point for determination is whether on the date of the accident, the policy of insurance was in force. That would depend upon the question whether the transfer of ownership of the vehicle will by itself result in the transfer of the benefits of the policy of insurance which stands in the name of the transferor. The learned Public Prosecutor brought to my notice the case reported in Bir Singh v. Sm. Hashi Rashi, AIR 1956 Cal 555, wherein it was held that

'if a restrictive clause as regards the rights of a transferee from the previous owner of the motor vehicle is found in a third party insurance policy and no approval of a transfer is obtained from the insurer, but the motor vehicle is registered by the Transport Authorities, the result is that the vehicle runs without cover o a policy. Such user of the vehicle without a cover of insurance makes the person using it liable for an offence under Sub-section (1) of Section 94 read with the relevant portions of Chapter IX of the Motor Vehicles Act'.

The difficulty in the present case is, that the certificate of insurance is not belore Court and as such It is not possible to find out whether it contains a stipulation that the assent of the insurer is necessary to transfer the benefits of the insurance along with the transfer of the ownership of the vehicle. The learned Public Prosecutor has brought to my notice the provisions of Rule 14 (c) of the Rules for the Insurance of Motor Vehicles (Notification No. D Dis. 17/50/Addl. Fin. (Ins) dated nil published in the Gazette Extraordinary dated 13th April 1951). The rule reads :

'When a policy-holder disposes his car, the rights of the policy may be transferred to the purchaser, if he so desires on informing this office in Writing to the effect that the rights of the policy may be transferred to the purchaser and on payment of Rs. 2 towards transfer fee. The purchaser shall forward a fresh proposal and also arrange for the surrender of the certificate of Insurance and policy issued already by the State Insurance Officer for cancellation. On receipt of the above documents a fresh certificate of insurance and policy will be issued by the State Insurance officer for the balance period of the policy.''

The above rule indicates that only a compliance with its provisions will entitle the transferee to claim the benefits of the insurance which stood in the name of the transferor. However I do not think that a final disposal of the case is proper without examining the policy of insurance.

4. The case has therefore to go buck for fresh disposal. The policy of insurance may be asked to be produced and the matter verified whether any approval by the insurer was necessary for the transfer of the benefits of the policy to the transferee.

5. In the result the order of acquittal is setaside and the case is sent back for fresh disposal inaccordance with law and in the light of the observations made above.


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