SC directs insurance firm to pay Rs. 3.25 lakh as compensation to man for vehicle damage in accident
The Supreme Court has set aside an order of the NCDRC refusing compensation to a man for damage to his truck in an accident, saying carrying more passengers has not contributed to the mishap in any manner.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said the view of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) is clearly erroneous and directed insurance firm, The New India Assurance Co. Ltd, to pay Rs. 3.25 lakh to the man as compensation.
''We find that there is a clear distinction between a third-party claim on account of compensation payable to the passenger in the goods vehicle on account of negligence driving of the vehicle whereas the present case is a case of own damage, which is an independent action not dependent upon the number of passengers carried in goods vehicle. ''In view thereof, we find that the order passed by the National Commission is not sustainable in law. The same is set aside and the order of the State Commission is restored. The appeal is, accordingly, allowed,'' the bench said and directed that the amount of compensation be paid within three months.
The top court's order dated September 30 came on an appeal filed by Shri Annappa challenging an order of the NCDRC which repudiated his claim for damage to his truck which met with an accident on October 2, 2000 The counsel appearing for the appellant referred to an earlier judgment of the apex court and said the SC had allowed claim on the similar facts that the truck was carrying more passengers than what was permitted in the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.
The claim for damage was repudiated by the insurance firm on grounds that the vehicle was a goods vehicle and passengers were not permitted to be carried.
The insurance company said the vehicle was thus being used contrary to the terms and conditions of the policy at the time of accident as the vehicle was carrying 25 passengers.
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum had earlier allowed the complaint and directed the firm to pay Rs. 3,25,000 with 12 per cent interest per annum which was affirmed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The District Forum as well as the State Commission relied on the judgment of apex court which said, ''Merely by lifting a person or two, or even three, by the driver or the cleaner of the vehicle, without the knowledge of the owner, cannot be said to be such a fundamental breach that the owner should, in all events, be denied indemnification.'' The National Commission allowed the revision of the insurance company, holding that carrying of passengers in excess of six persons is in violation of the terms and conditions of the policy and, therefore, own damage cannot be granted.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)