MV Accident: SC Denies Insurance Claim as Driver did not Hold Permit

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June 01, 2018

Case name: Amrit Paul Singh & Anr. v. TATA AIG General Insurance & ors.

In this recent case, the Supreme Court denied claim of insurance to the Appellant in Motor Vehicle Accident case on the ground that on the date of accident the driver of the vehicle in question was not holding the permit.

Also read Important Judgments on Compensation in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases

In the case, the Appellants being legal representatives of deceased claim insurance from the respondent Insurance Company. Here it would be germane to mention that the deceased met with an accident while driving motor cycle which was hit by an offending truck.

The Respondent Insurance Company opposed the claim on the ground that the vehicle in question was driven in violation of the terms of the insurance policy inasmuch as the vehicle on the date of accident did not have the permit.

In appeal the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT) as well as the High Court held that as the driver was not entitled to insurance claim as he was not holding permit on the date of accident and was not entitled to ply the vehicle.

Aggrieved by the aforesaid, the Appellant approached the Supreme Court.

Also read Accident Claims – How to get compensation under Motor Vehicles Act

Bench’s Verdict

The Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and made the following observations in the case:

  • That a permit has to be issued by the competent authority under the Act for use of a a motor vehicle as a transport vehicle.
  • That Section 2(47) states that “transport vehicle” means a public service vehicle, a goods carriage, an educational institution bus or a private service vehicle. Section 66 stipulates necessity for permits.   Sub­section   (1)   thereof   provides   that   no   owner   of   a motor vehicle shall use or permit the use of the vehicle as a transport vehicle in any public place, whether or not such vehicle is actually carrying passengers or goods save in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or countersigned by a Regional or State Transport Authority.
  • That use of a vehicle in a public place without a permit is a fundamental statutory infraction.  With reference to the facts of the instant case, the Supreme Court opined that as the insurer had taken the plea that the vehicle in question had no permit the existence of permit was a matter of documentary evidence. However, nothing had been brought on record by the Insured to prove that he had permit of the vehicle and in such a situation the onus to prove otherwise could not be cast on the insurer.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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