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The Sr. Divisional Manager Vs. Dodda Durgappa and Others - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKarnataka Dharwad High Court
Decided On
Case Number Misc. First Appeal No. 24811 of 2010 [MV] A/ w Misc. Cvl. Nos. 101756 & 101757 of 2011 In Misc. First Appeal No 24811 of 2010 [MV]
Judge
Reported in2012(2)KCCR1328
AppellantThe Sr. Divisional Manager
RespondentDodda Durgappa and Others
Advocates:For the Petitioner: A.G. Jadhav, Advocate. For the Respondents: T. Hanumareddy, Advocate, for C/Res.
Excerpt:
motor vehicles act, 1988 - section 173 (1) -.....to the situation to which the law can be made applicable. 2. the present appeal by the appellant-insurance company is nothing short of above description. in the present appeal, the insurance company is questioning the joint liability fastened on it along with the insured to meet the claimants – dependents of a person who was travelling along with his goods in a bajaj tempo vehicle, which meet with an accident due to the negligence driving of the driver of the vehicle, causing grievous injuries to the goods carrying passenger and his subsequent death also, giving cause for the dependents of the deceased – parents, sisters and brothers – coming up with an application for compensation in mvc no 123 of 2009 on the file of principle district and sessions judge and mact -1,.....
Judgment:

(Prayer: This Misc First Appeal is filed under Section 173 (1) of M.V.Act, 1988, against the judgment and award dated 02.03.2010 passed in MVC No.123/2009. On the file of the Prl. District and sessions judge cum Member, MACT, Bellary, awarding the compensation of Rs.4,45,000/- with interest at the rate of 6% p.a., from the date of petition till realization.)

1. Nationalized insurance companies after issuing policies sought to be projected as comprehensive policies covering all sorts of risks of the insured-owners of motor vehicles, when are confronted with awards passed by motor accident claims tribunals at the instance of the injured victims or dependents of a victim who has breathed his last in the accident, come up with all sorts of fantastic grounds and points in an appeal even when having not made good any such defence before the tribunal in spite of extending an opportunity to defend their cases and even without any pleading or supporting material having been made good before the tribunal, start raising all questions of law that too on the premise that such law is settled by the Supreme Court, even when the fact situation in no way is anywhere near to the situation to which the law can be made applicable.

2. The present appeal by the appellant-insurance company is nothing short of above description. In the present appeal, the insurance company is questioning the joint liability fastened on it along with the insured to meet the claimants – dependents of a person who was travelling along with his goods in a Bajaj tempo vehicle, which meet with an accident due to the negligence driving of the driver of the vehicle, causing grievous injuries to the goods carrying passenger and his subsequent death also, giving cause for the dependents of the deceased – parents, sisters and brothers – coming up with an application for compensation in MVC No 123 of 2009 on the file of Principle District and Sessions Judge and MACT -1, Bellary.

3. The tribunal quantified the total compensation in a sum of Rs.4,45,000/-, as under:

1. Loss of DependencyRs.4.32.000/-
2. Funeral ExpensesRs.0.10.000/-
3. Conveyance chargesRs.0.03.000/-
TotalRs.4,45,000/-
4. The insurance company questions the legality of this award and order on a formidable ground of non-liability of the insurance company in respect of claims out of any injury or death of a passenger in goods vehicles. The other ground is that while computing the loss of dependency, the tribunal has committed an error in applying the multiplier with reference to the age of the deceased, which was 18 instead of applying the multiplier with reference to the age of the mother of the deceased, which is 14 and it is also required to be corrected.

5. On the other hand, Sri T Hanamareddy, learned counsel for the respondents, who has entered caveat on behalf of the respondents, points out that it is not as though the policy was mere act policy but that it was a comprehensive policy and the insurer had collected premium of Rs.3,106/- in all, which included the third party claim premium Rs.1,530/- and also the policy being termed as a ‘comprehensive policy’ and therefore submits that there is no way of the insurance company to wriggle out of the liability, as the policy is much more than the statutory policy and being a comprehensive policy covering such risks also and has also pointed out that the capacity as indicated in the registration certificate of the vehicle, which is mentioning as 1+1, which means that in addition to the driver, one passenger is also permitted and the deceased being a passenger accompanying the goods can never be characterized as an unauthorized passenger and the insurance company has taken up all sorts of untenable contentions to defeat the claims of the dependents of the deceased.

6. However, Sri Hanumareddy would not dispute that the correct multiplier is as suggested by Sri Jadhav, learned counsel for the appellant-insurance company, which is 15, but points out that the inadequacy under the other heads more than makes up with the excess under this head and therefore submits that there is no need to apply any correction in an appeal of this nature at the instance of the insurance company.

7. I have perused copy of the policy – ExR1 – and also copy of the registration certificate –ExP8. The very insurance policy as was sought to be placed before the tribunal clearly indicates that the amount of premium collected which is more than the premium towards third party claim policy and learned counsel for the appellant in fact fairly submits that the policy is a packaged/ comprehensive policy. Limits of the policy as mentioned in the very policy are as under:

Limits of Liability:

Under Section-II-I(i) Death of or bodily injury in respect of any one accident: As per Motor Vehicles Act 1988.

Under Section-II-I(i) Damage to third party property in respect of one claim or series of claims arising out of one event: Rs.750,000.

8. While it is true that there is no statutory liability in respect of the claim of present nature, if the insurance company has issued a comprehensive or packaged policy to cover all risks of the insured and as expressly excluded only the above liability or putting a can on the above liability, it is reasonable to infer that other claims which the insured faces in law, whether as is provided under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 or even otherwise, are all risks which are required to be covered if not by statute, but by contract and therefore there is absolutely no merit in the contention urged by the learned counsel for the appellant and in fact the contention is ill-founded, untenable and cantankerous one, as the claim is not even due to injury or consequential death of an unauthorized passenger but even as expressly mentioned in the registration certificate, the deceased being a goods accompanying passenger is an authorized one and not unauthorized passenger. Though there is an application of higher multiplier i.e. 18 instead of 15, having regard to the circumstances and the manner in which the tribunal has quantified the amount, I am not very enthusiastic to interfere in this appeal in favour of the insurance company which has come up with untenable and frivolous contentions. It is therefore, the award of the tribunal is left undisturbed and the appeal is dismissed.

9. When there is no merit in the main appeal itself, question of considering the application in Misc Cvl No 101756 of 2011 for condoning the delay in filing the appeal does not arise and so also there is no need to consider the application in Misc Cvl No 101757 of 2011 for grant of interim stay of the impugned order and award and therefore both these applications are dismissed.


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