M.A. No. 244 of 2013. Case: United India Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs Tara Devi and Ors.. Jharkhand High Court

Case NumberM.A. No. 244 of 2013
CounselFor Appellant: Ashutosh Anand, Advocate and For Respondents: S.K. Laik, Advocate
JudgesAmitav Kumar Gupta, J.
IssueIndian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 106; Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) - Sections 279, 304A, 338; Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Sections 140, 149, 149(5), 166, 169, 39, 66
Judgement DateFebruary 07, 2017
CourtJharkhand High Court

Judgment:

Amitav Kumar Gupta, J.

  1. This appeal is directed against the award dated 25.04.2013 in T(M.V.) Case No. 182/2009 passed by the District Judge-IV-cum-Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Dhanbad.

  2. The claimant/appellant, Tara Devi filed the application under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter to be called as the Act) claiming compensation of Rs. 17,22,860/- on account of the death of her husband, Late Gopal Chandra Das. It is stated that her husband along with his daughter, Mamta Kumari Das, was travelling in Tempo No. JH- 10L-2976 which dashed into a standing truck on G.T. Road, due to which her husband and daughter (respondent No. 2), sustained injuries and were taken for treatment to the D.V.C hospital at Maithan. Thereafter her husband was referred to Central Hospital, Seraidhela, Dhanbad but he succumbed to the injuries.

  3. On the basis of the fardbeyan of Mamta Kumari Das(Respondent No. 2), Chirkunda (Maithan) P.S. Case No. 140/2008 was registered under Sections 279,338 and 304A IPC and chargesheet was laid against Mohd. Sohrab Ansari, the driver of the tempo.

  4. Mohd. Sohrab Ansari (respondent No. 4) in the present appeal, filed his show cause admitting that he was the owner of the tempo which was validly insured with M/s. United India Insurance Co. Ltd./the appellant and the insurance policy was valid from 20.09.2007 to 19.09.2008.

  5. Appellant (O.P. No. 2), United India Insurance Co. Ltd., filed their written statement, admitting that the tempo was insured with them. It was asserted that a transport vehicle cannot be deemed to be validly registered under Section 39 of the Act unless a fitness certificate is granted and Section 66 of the Act stipulates that the owner is bound to have the route permit for plying the transport vehicle in any public place, failing which it shall be presumed that there is statutory violation of the conditions of the policy, as contemplated under Section 149 of the Act. It is alleged that the driver of the offending vehicle (O.P. No. 1) had no valid and effective driving license on the relevant date of accident and it was incumbent for the plaintiff and owner of the vehicle to prove that the driver had a valid and effective driving license for fastening the liability to pay the compensation amount upon the insurer. It is stated that as per the FIR the tempo was carrying 10-12 passengers which was in excess and violation of the number of passengers permissible in terms of the R.C. Book leading to contravention of the terms and conditions of the policy as also the provisions of the M.V. Act.

  6. On the pleadings of the parties the Tribunal framed seven (7) issues. The claimant examined three witnesses and produced the documents namely Exhibit-1, a page of the service Book of deceased Gopal Chandra Das, containing his date of birth; Ext. 2- certified copy of FIR; Ext. 3-certified copy of chargesheet; Ext. 4-heirship certificate; Ext. 5-death certificate issued by PMCH, Dhanbad.

  7. The court below on the basis of the evidence held that the deceased died on account of injuries sustained in road accident while travelling in the tempo bearing registration No. JH-10L-2976 and Mohd. Sohrab Ansari was the owner cum driver of the tempo. That the appellant (O.P. No. 2) failed to establish that there was violation of the terms and conditions of the policy. The tribunal considered the date of birth of the deceased and the salary of Rs. 19,470/- mentioned in Ext. 1 as correct and awarded compensation of Rs. 17,22,860/- with interest @ 6% minus the interim compensation from the date of the application fastening the liability on the appellant/Insurer to satisfy the award since the vehicle was validly insured with the appellant.

  8. Learned counsel for the appellant has argued that the tribunal, while deciding issue No. 5, had held that under Section 106 of the Evidence Act, the onus was upon the opposite party No. 1 to prove that he had a valid driving license and since O.P. No. 1 has failed to produce the driving license, accordingly the inference was drawn that he did not have a valid driving license. It is contended that in view of the finding of...

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