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Rukmani Ammal and ors. Vs. K.G. Haridas Kunnathalai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor vehicles;Insurance
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1984)1MLJ321
AppellantRukmani Ammal and ors.
RespondentK.G. Haridas Kunnathalai and ors.
Cases ReferredLtd. v. Mrs. Krishna Kishari and Ors.
Excerpt:
- - 50,000. 2. the said claim was opposed by the owner of the lorry as well as the insurance company with which the lorry had been insured. not satisfied (with the award passed in their favour, the claimants have come up in appeal before us......compensation of rs. 50,000.2. the said claim was opposed by the owner of the lorry as well as the insurance company with which the lorry had been insured. their case was that the person who drove the scooter had been rash and negligent and it is because of the rashness and negligence on his part, the accident occurred and therefore, neither the owner of the lorry nor the insurance company can be held liable to pay compensation as claimed by the claimants.3. the tribunal after analysing the evidence adduced ,by both parties, held that it is the driver of the lorry, who was rash and negligent in driving the vehicle and as a result of such rashness and negligence on his part, the accident has occurred, which ultimately resulted in the death of sivasami. on the question of compensation, the.....
Judgment:

Ramanujam, J.

1. The claimants in M.C.O.P. No. 45 of 1975 on the file of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Coimbatore, are the appellants herein. They had filed a claim petition claiming compensation of Rs. 50,000 on account of the death of one Sivasami in a motor vehicles accident. Their case as set out in the claim petition was that the first petitioner is the mother and petitioners 2 to' 4 are the brothers of the deceased Sivasami, that the deceased was seated on the pillion of the .scooter TNC 2554, driven by his brother, the second petitioner, that the said scooter and one lorry TNC 5227 collided, as a result of which, Sivasami, who was seated on the pillion of the scooter was thrown out resulting in his instantaneous death and that for the death of the said Sivasami, the claimants are entitled to get a compensation of Rs. 50,000.

2. The said claim was opposed by the owner of the lorry as well as the insurance company with which the lorry had been insured. Their case was that the person who drove the scooter had been rash and negligent and it is because of the rashness and negligence on his part, the accident occurred and therefore, neither the owner of the lorry nor the insurance company can be held liable to pay compensation as claimed by the claimants.

3. The Tribunal after analysing the evidence adduced ,by both parties, held that it is the driver of the lorry, who was rash and negligent in driving the vehicle and as a result of such rashness and negligence on his part, the accident has occurred, which ultimately resulted in the death of Sivasami. On the question of compensation, the Tribunal held that (a sum of Rs. 6,000 will be a fair and just compensation payable to the claimants for the death' of the said Sivasami. Not satisfied (with the award passed in their favour, the claimants have come up in appeal before us. Since the claimants have succeeded in establishing the rashness and negligence on the part of the driver of the lorry, it is unnecessary to go into that question in this appeal. That question has become final as the finding of the Tribunal in that regard has not been challenged before us by the respondents. Therefore, the only two questions that arise in this appeal are : (i) whether the award of compensation of Rs. 6,000 in this case is 'fair and adequate or whether it calls for enhancement? (2) Whether the Tribunal is justified in holding that the Insurance Company is not liable to meet any portion of the amount of compensation awarded herein

4. So far as the claim for compensation is concerned, it is seen that the deceased Sivasami was 15 years : old at the time of his death and he was studying in ,X standard. It is also in evidence that he is a healthy bright boy. The Tribunal, however, after noting the above features held that except the mother, the first claimant,- the other claimants, being, the brothers of deceased Sivasami, cannot be said to be the dependants of the deceased, that even, if the deceased had been alive and employed, he would have contributed only partly for the maintenance of the mother as the other sons, viz., claimants 2 to 4 will also contribute for the maintenance of their mother. Therefore, the total dependency of the first claimant mother was taken to be only Rs. 6,000. However having regard to the fact that apart from the loss of dependency which has been estimated at Rs. 6,000 the first claimant as the mother is entitled to claim compensation for the loss of expectation of life of the deceased which can be easily estimated at Rs. 4,000. We are therefore inclined to allow a sum of Rs. 4,000 in addition to the sum of Rs. 6,000 awarded by the Tribunal as and towards loss of expectation of life. Since the first claimant being the mother, she is entitled to claim the loss of expectation of life, along- with the loss of dependency. Thus the total compensation payable to the first claimant in respect of the accident will come to Rs. 10,000. The Tribunal has awarded a sum of Rs. 6,000 as compensation and made a direction to pay the same to all the claimants. But the claimants 2 to 4 cannot be said to be dependants of deceased Sivasami. Therefore, the entire sum of Rs. 10,000 awarded by us will be paid to the first claimant mother.

5. Coming to the second question as to the extent of the liability of the Insurance Company, it is seen from the judgment of the 'Tribunal' that the Tribunal was of the view that the Insurance Company is not liable to pay compensation for the pillion-rider of the scooter as per the terms of the policy and in support of that view, it relied upon the decision reported in Unique Motor and General Insurance Co., Ltd. v. Mrs. Krishna Kishari and Ors. 1968 A.C.J. 318. But that case related to the liability of the owner of the motor cycle for the death caused to the pillion-rider. Therefore, the principle laid down in that case will not apply to a case of collision between a lorry and a scooter. So far as the lorry is I concerned, the pillion-driver is a third party land the liability to such third parties is normally expected to be covered by the Insurance Company under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. Merely because the deceased was a pillion-rider and not a driver 'of the scooter, the Insurance Company cannot disclaim its liability.

6. Section 94 of the .Motor Vehicles Act provides that no person shall use a motor vehicle in -a public place unless there is in force in relation, to the use of the vehicle by that person a policy of Insurance complying with the requirements of 'Chapter VIII. Section 95 says that in order to comply with the requirements of this chapter, a policy of insurance midst be a policy which insures the person owning the vehicle against any liability which may be incurred by him in, respect of death of or bodily injury to any person or damage to any property of a third party caused by or arising out of the vehicle used in a public place. It cannot be disputed! that the accident took place when the lorry was being driven on a public road. It is also : not in, dispute that so far as the lorry is concerned, the pillion-rider is' a third party and admittedly, the pillion-rider died as a result of the accident. Therefore, under Section 95(1)(b)(i) the policy taken by the owner of the lorry from the Insurance Company should be taken to have covered the third party risk including the risk of a pillion-rider of a scooter, which was hit by the lorry. Thus the Tribunal has committed an error in holding that the Insurance Company is not liable to compensate the first claimant for the death caused to pillion-rider. We have to therefore hold that the Insurance 'Company is liable to bear the entire compensation of Rs. 10,000 which we have fixed. ;

7. The appeal is therefore allowed and, the compensation is enhanced from Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 10,000 and the Insurance Company is also held liable to pay the compensation to the first claimant mother. The sum of Rs. 10,000 awarded as compensation will bear interest at 6 percent, per annum from the date of the award of the Tribunal till date of realisation. The direction regarding costs made by the Tribunal will stand set aside. There will be no order as to costs in this appeal.


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