(1) It is true that with regard to the Madras Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal Rules, 1961, certain provisions of the Civil Procedure Code along have been made applicable to proceedings before the Claims Tribunal, as provided for in rule 18. Presumably, other provisions of the Civil Procedure Code may not apply, by implication. It is further true that under rule 7 of the rules, there is provision only for the filing of a written statement and there is no reference to the filing of an additional written statement subsequently, for which there is express provision under O. 8 rule C.P.C. Nevertheless I do not think that the court or Tribunal is devoid of an inherent power to permit such procedure as are rendered imperative by the principles of natural justice, even though there may be no explicit reference to such a procedure in the rules. The principle of S/ 151 C.P.C. has an intrinsic application to all judicial or quasi-judicial tribunals, though the section itself may not apply. That is for the reason that the principles of natural justice themselves have never been codified in the system of jurisprudence that prevails in this country, while all courts and quasi-judicial tribunals have been uniformly held bound to respect those principles.
(2) An authority helpful upon this point of view is M/s Groz Beckert Sabool Ltd. v. Jupiter General Insurance Co. Ltd., , which was also a proceeding for a claim for compensation for an accident, under the Motor Vehicles Act. The learned Judge held that, in the absence of a positive authority like the Civil Procedure Code, the Tribunal should have reasoned by analogy, as nearly as possible to such provisions.
(3) In the present matter it is really not necessary to go so far. While there is no provision or rule, as such for the insurance company (respondent) to file an additional written statement, the insurance company is always at liberty to put forward a ground of law in defence. That is permitted, because there can be no bar no prohibition to a legal defence, precisely as it cannot be argued that a clerical error in the proceedings cannot be corrected by a party even in the absence of an explicit provision; obviously, to deny such relief would be opposed to the principles of natural justice. In the present case, in two of the claims, the proprietor of the concerned vehicle has taken the plea that, prior to the date of the accident, the vehicle was transferred to another person, so that there was no subsisting legal liability on his part.
It is not disputed before me that in accordance with the proposition of law enunciated by the Division Bench in M. Bhoopathy v. M. S. Vijayalakshmi, : AIR1966Mad244 the transfer of the ownership of the vehicle will have the legal consequence of terminating the contract of insurance, so that the company is no longer liable under that policy. In the present case, therefore, it is always open to the company to urge that if such transfer be true the company has no legal liability in respect of the claims for damages arising out of the accident. Strictly speaking, no additional written statement to this effect is necessary, since it is a pure question of law related to a pleading of fact, which is already on the record.
(4) The revision petitions are accordingly dismissed, in the light of these observations. The parties will bear their own costs.
(5) Petitions dismissed.