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Lalan Singh and anr. Vs. Mahboob Hussian and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC510
AppellantLalan Singh and anr.
RespondentMahboob Hussian and anr.
Excerpt:
- - 1 with great speed and the accident bad occurred bue to to rash and negligent driving of its driver. 4. the non-applicant/appellants as well as the respondent no. there is also sufficient, evidence that the claimant sustained fracture of his right hand, thigh bone as well as that of tibia and thumb bone......truck and that in any case the vehicle was not driven rashly or negligently. the respondent no. 2 insurance company took the stand that the insurance company was not liable for payment of compensation as the vehicle was registered only for carriage of goods and that the policy did not cover the risk of passengers carried in the truck.5. on over all consideration of the materials on record, the claims tribunal took the view that the insurance company was not liable as the policy did not cover the risk of carrying the passengers in the truck and, therefre, absolved the insurance company from the liability to pay the compensation. the claims tribunal however, coming to the conclusion that the accident had resulted because of the rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by its driver.....
Judgment:

Faizan Ud-Din, J.

1. This is an appeal Under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) preferred by the owner and the driver of the vehicles involved in the accident against the award dated 31-10-77 passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Satna, in Claims Case No. 4/77.

2. It was not disputed that the truck No. MPA 8485 belonged to the non-appellant appellant No. 2 Rakesh khanna and that the non-appellant No. 1 was the driver ia the said truck on the relevant date. It has also not been disputed that, the said, truck was insured with the respondent No. 2 Oriental Fire and General Insurance Co., Ltd., Jabalpur.

3. The claimant respondent No. 1 had made an application Under Section 110-A of the Act for award of compensation for the injuries caused to him in the accident. His case was that be was working as a labourer in the relief work being done at Balaghati. On 6-6-75 the. truck in question was going from Gigne to Deoloan and the-refore the claimant boarded the said truck on payment of hire charges so as to reach the place of his work but when the truck reached near village Chirhai it dashed against a tree, as a result of which he sustained fracture of his right hand elbow, right thigh bone and fracture of his thumb. It was alleged that at the relevant time the truck was driven by the non-applicant/appellant No. 1 with great speed and the accident bad occurred bue to to rash and negligent driving of its driver. He therefore, made a claim of Rs. 45,000/- in all.

4. The non-applicant/appellants as well as the respondent No. 2 contested the said claim by contending that the claimant was not travelling in the truck and that in any case the vehicle was not driven rashly or negligently. The respondent No. 2 insurance company took the stand that the insurance company was not liable for payment of compensation as the vehicle was registered only for carriage of goods and that the policy did not cover the risk of passengers carried in the truck.

5. On over all consideration of the materials on record, the Claims Tribunal took the view that the insurance company was not liable as the policy did not cover the risk of carrying the passengers in the truck and, therefre, absolved the insurance company from the liability to pay the compensation. The Claims Tribunal however, coming to the conclusion that the accident had resulted because of the rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by its driver Lalansingh in which the claimant was travelling as a paid passengers, made an Award W.Rs. 5580/: in favour of the Claimant against the appellants being the driver and owner of the vehicle respectively. It is against this Award that the driver and owner of the vehicle have directed this appeal.

6. The main contention of -the learned Counsel for the appellant was that as the vehicle was insured as per its policy Ex. D-1, the insurance company was liable the compensation awarded to the claimant and therefore the Claims Tribunal was not right in holding that the insurance company was not liable. I do not find any merit in this contention. A perusal of the policy Ex. D-1 which is an admitted document will go to show that the truck involved in the accident was registered only as a public carrier with certain limitations as to its use. In the schedule of the policy under the beading Limitation as to use', it is mentioned that the policy does not cover use for conveyance of passengers on hire or reward. Section 95 of the Act provides that a policy shall not be required to cover liability in respect of the death of a person or passenger being carried in the vehicle if it is goods vehicle except so far as is necessary to meet the requirements in relation to the liability under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923. If further provides that the company's liability shall be governed by the terms of the policy. As pointed out earlier the policy embodies the condition that it does not cover use for conveyance of passengers on hire or reward. In view of the aforesaid provisions of law and the terms of the policy there was neither any statutory obligation to insure the risk resulting to persons travelling in the goods vehicle nor there was coverage of insurance in the policy relating to persons travelling in the goods vehicle and therefore the insurance company could not be made liable for the compensation. An insurance company can be made liable to pay the compensation awarded against the insured only when the person or passenger sustaining the injuries while travelling in a vehicle registered as a vehicle for carriage of goods, was a person or passenger carried in such vehicle by reason of or in pursuance, of a contract of employment at the relevant occasion. Admittedly, in this case the claimant Mahboob was not a person or passenger carried by reasons of or in pursuance of a contract of employment at the relevant time and as such no liability can be fastened with the insurance company. In this view of the matter the view taken by the Tribunal could not be said to be incorrect.

7. Learned Counsel for the appellants then contended that the policy covers the third person risk and therefore the insurance company would be liable. I do not find any substance in this submission also because the claimant would not be cowered by the term third party as he was travelling in the vehicle itself involved in the accident. A 'third party' could be a person or body of persons not travelling in the vehicle in the accident but one who is knocked down by a motor vehicle which is insured in the insurance company covering third party risk.

8. Lastly the learned Counsel for the appellants contended that the compensation awarded to the claimant was excessive. But this argument is without any force. There is ample evidence to show that at the relevant time the vehicle was driven by the appellant No. 1. There is also satisfactory evidence that the claimant was travelling in the said vehicle when it met with the accident. There is also sufficient, evidence that the claimant sustained fracture of his right hand, thigh bone as well as that of tibia and thumb bone. (See evidence of Dr. Dass P.W. 6). According to the medical evidence the claimant could not work with full vigour even after the unifiaction of the bones as he was capable of doing before the fractures. The doctor also stated that there was possibility of the joints becoming still and it may creates difficulty in the movement of his hand and leg. Having regard to these facts as also the comparable cases, it could not be said that the compensation awarded to the claimant was in any way excessive.

9. In the result, the appeal fails and is hereby dismissed with costs. Counsel fee as per schedule if certified.


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