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United India Fire and General Insurance Co. and Vs. Hoondi Bai and 6 ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC485
AppellantUnited India Fire and General Insurance Co. and ;anar Singh
RespondentHoondi Bai and 6 ors.
Cases ReferredSmt. Santara Bai v. S. Prahlad
Excerpt:
- - this would include owner of the goods as well as his employees;.....for hire or reward or by reason of or in pursuance of a contract of employment in any vehicle, the insurance company is liable. this would include owner of the goods as well as his employees;(iii) the insurer shall not be liable to cover liability in respect of employees of the insured in respect of the death of or bodily injury to, any such employee arising out of and in the course of his employment other than a liability arising under the workmen's compensation act, 1923 if such employee is: (a) engaged in driving such vehicle; or (b) if it is a public service vehicle engaged as a conductor of the vehicle or in examining tickets on the vehicle; or (c) if it is goods vehicle being carried in the vehicle;(iv) the insurer shall not be liable to cover any contractual liability.2. it is.....
Judgment:

Guman Mal Lodha, J.

1. The above two appeals were heard at length and reference was made by this Court for consideration of the legal issues, to the larger Bench. Hon'ble the Chief Justice constituted a full bench consisting of three Hon'ble Judges who, after a careful and thoughtful consideration of the various legal issues involved in Smt. Santara Bai v. S. Prahlad (S.B. Cri. Misc. Appeal No. 111/73 and Ors. on 17-4-1985 in the case, have held as under:

Thus, taking in view the entire case law and the provisions of Section 95 of the Act read with Rule 133 of the Rules following principles can be deduced:

(i) in case of a gratuitous passenger going on joy-ride or on his own responsibility, insurance company is not liable;

(ii) in case of passengers carried for hire or reward or by reason of or in pursuance of a contract of employment in any vehicle, the Insurance Company is liable. This would include owner of the goods as well as his employees;

(iii) the insurer shall not be liable to cover liability in respect of employees of the insured in respect of the death of or bodily injury to, any such employee arising out of and in the course of his employment other than a liability arising under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 if such employee is: (a) engaged in driving such vehicle; or (b) if it is a public service vehicle engaged as a conductor of the vehicle or in examining tickets on the vehicle; or (c) if it is goods vehicle being carried in the vehicle;

(iv) the insurer shall not be liable to cover any contractual liability.

2. It is common ground between the parties now that in view of the above authoritative decision of the Full Bench, the liability of the insurance company in the present case would be limited to the liability arising under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, and the principle No. (iii) deduced by their Lordships of the Full Bench, would apply.

3. It is also common ground that the liability in the present case for the death of Kewal Singh who, was working on the goods truck under the employment of Anar Singh, the insurer of the owner cum-driver of the truck No. RSM 2798, would be only to Rs. 7,000/-.

4. Shri R.P. Goyal, the learned Counsel, appearing for the owner-cum-driver of the vehicle, Anar Singh, submitted that the liability of the owner should not be fastened because, Kewal Singh was travelling on the tool box of the vehicle, and was not sitting in the vehicle either in the cabin of the driver or behind him.

5. In my opinion, as per the written statement of Anar Singh, himself, the deceased was his Khalasi; and since the driver-cum-owner was driving the vehicle it was his responsibility to ensure as to where Kewal Singh should be seated. Obviously, it depends upon the type of the work and care, which is to be taken by the Khalasi while the vehicle in motion. In each goods transport vehicle, the different device for the seat of the Khalasi is adopted and there is no firmed practice as to where the Khalasi should sit because the Khalasi is the lowest in the ladder. Normally, the owner or the driver would not have bothered about his place of seat in goods vehicle.

6. I am, therefore of the opinion that the finding arrived at by the Tribunal on all point including rashness and negligence of the driver-cum-owner Anar Singh and the employment of Kewal Singh so also the liability arising out of the accident, calls for no interference.

7. Shri J.P. Goyal the learned Counsel, appearing for the claimants and on behalf of the wife of the deceased Kewal Singh, submitted that he has filed cross-objection on behalf of the claimants for the increase and enhancement of the compensation awarded by the Tribunal and the interest on it.

8. So far as the quantum of compensation is concerned, Shri J.P. Goyal could not persuade me on any tangible grounds to increase it. Consequently the amount of Rs. 37,500/- as compensation against Anar Singh, the driver-cum-owner,out of which the liability of Insurance Company would be upto Rs. 7,000/- is confirmed.

9. Shri Goyal, on behalf of the appellant-Anarsingh, submitted that the claims for the interest should not be allowed because the claimants were at liberty to take execution proceedings and realise the amount but such a thing has not happened in the instant case, and further it is not known whether amount has been realised or not.

10. Both the learned Counsel for the parties are not in a position to state whether amount has been deposited, paid or not, except that, Shri Srivastava states that the Insurance Company has deposited Rs. 7,000/-. In all accident compensation cases, it is the duty of the owner of the vehicle and the insurance company to pay the amount immediately as soon as they come to know of the accident, and not to wait for the claimants who should file petitions for claims of compensations. This is a social welfare and social society a legislation provided for giving relief to the unfortunate victims of the accidents and should not be treated as civil cases of contract.

11. In such circumstances, the claimants are entitled to interest from the date of the application till the rate of deposit or payment at the rate of 9% p.a, in the instant case. However, if within a period of three months from today the amount is not paid, the interest would be at the rate of 12% from the date of this judgment.

12. In the result, S.B. Civil Misc. Appeal No. 84/1977 filed by the Insurance Company is partially allowed; S.B. Civil Misc. Appeal No. 111/77 filed by Anar Singh is dismissed; and the cross-objection filed by the claimants is partly accepted to the extent of interest as mentioned above.

13. The parties would bear their own costs, so far as this Court is concerned.


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