MAC App. No. 11 of 2015. Case: The Branch Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs Karma Bhutia and Ors.. Sikkim High Court

Case NumberMAC App. No. 11 of 2015
CounselFor Appellant: Thupden G. Bhutia, Advocate and For Respondents: R.C. Sharma, Advocate
JudgesMeenakshi Madan Rai, J.
IssueMotor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Sections 149, 149(2)(a)(ii), 163A, 5
Judgement DateMarch 03, 2016
CourtSikkim High Court


Meenakshi Madan Rai, J.

  1. This Appeal is preferred against the Award granted in a Claim under Section 163A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, in MACT Case No. 17 of 2014 of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, North Sikkim at Mangan (for short "Claims Tribunal"). The Claims Tribunal vide the assailed Judgment dated 28-02-2015 ordered the Appellant to pay compensation calculated at Rs. 4,14,500/- (Rupees four lakhs fourteen thousand and five hundred) only, with interest @ 10% per annum, to the Claimants till full and final payment.

  2. The Respondents No. 1, 2, 4 and 5 herein were the Claimants before the Claims Tribunal and are the brothers of the deceased, who died due to a motor accident at Dikchu-Mangan road. Respondent No. 3 another brother of the deceased has passed away in the interim.

  3. The Claims Tribunal framed two issues and on consideration of the entire matter reached the finding that the Respondents were entitled to compensation supra against the Claim of Rs. 7,26,500/- (Rupees seven lakhs twenty six thousand and five hundred) only, made by the Claimants.

  4. The main thrust of the arguments put forth by the Learned Counsel for the Appellant is that the Driving Licence of the deceased who was driving the passenger taxi vehicle, was not valid as it was not issued by the appropriate Licensing Authority and was procured through illegal means. Peripheral to this argument was the exposition that the owner Respondent No. 6 having failed to check the authenticity of the Driving Licence has acted in contravention to Section 5 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Non-compliance of Rule 3 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, is another point agitated as a corollary. Under this argument, it was expostulated that as Rule 3 supra was not complied with, the relevant Clause in the Insurance Policy was also violated.

  5. The second leg of the argument raised was that as the deceased was a bachelor, 50% ought to have been deducted from the amount calculated as Loss of Earnings, to the contrary a deduction of only 1/3rd was only made. The third leg of the argument consisted of the proposition that the award of compensation of an amount of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand) only, towards non-pecuniary damages is beyond the scope of Section 163A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

  6. Per contra, the Respondents argued that although the Appellant insists that the Driving Licence of the driver was not genuine but to counter this allegation they have only furnished a Verification Report obtained from the Sub-Divisional Office at Siliguri, West Bengal, which firstly is not the appropriate Authority not being the Licensing Authority. Secondly, during the course of trial, the document was not exhibited and, therefore, cannot be relied on by the Appellant at this stage. It was contended that the evidence of Respondent No. 6 clearly indicates that he had conducted a driving test, perused the Driving Licence concluded that it was genuine and employed the deceased. Therefore, the question of him being negligent in allowing the deceased to drive does not arise. To support his contentions on this point, Learned Counsel for the Respondents placed reliance on New India...

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