Vs. Managing Director, Thanthal Periyar Transport Corporation  INSC 260 (14 February 1996)
S.P. (J) Bharucha S.P. (J) Majmudar S.B. (J)
1996 AIR 1217 1996 SCC (2) 736 1996 SCALE (2)308
O R D
E R The appellant was injured in a motor accident on 15th January, 1987. The accident took place by reason
of a collision between the motor cycle which the appellant was riding and a bus
belonging to the respondent. The appellant filed a claim petition before the
Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Madras, seeking compensation from the
respondent in the sum of Rs.2,00,000/-. The respondent contested the claim and
alleged that it was the appellant who had been negligent. The case of the
respondent in this behalf was upheld by the Tribunal and by the High Court in
appeal. This finding is not now contested.
the appellant suffered permanent disability as a result of the accident was
found and is not in issue. What is in issue is the finding on the High Court in
the order under appeal that, even so, the appellant was not entitled to
"no fault compensation" under Section 92-A of the Motor Vehicles Act,
to the High Court, the appellant was not entitled to this compensation because
he was found to have been negligent. It relied upon the statement of Objects
and Reasons of the Amending Act by reason of which Section 92-A in Chapter
VII-A had been introduced, and the judgments of this Court in Gujarat State
Road Transport Corporation Ahmedabad vs. Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai & Anr.,
(1987) 3 SCC 234, and Minu B. Mehta and another vs. Balkrishna Ramachaandra Nayan
and another, (1977) 2 SCC 441, to hold the provisions of that Section 92-A
apply only when there is no negligence on the pert of the deceased or the
injured person, as the case may be.
92-A reads thus:
Liability to pay compensation in certain cases on the principles to no fault. –
where the death or permanent disablement of any person has resulted from an
accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle or motor vehicles, the owner
of the vehicle shall, or. as the case may be, the owners of the vehicles shall,
jointly and severally, be liable to pay compensation in respect of such death
or disablement in accordance with the provisions of this section.
The amount of compensation which shall be payable under sub- section (1) in
respect of the death of any person shall be a fluid sum of fifteen thousand
rupees and the amount of compensation payable under that sub-section in respect
of the permanent disablement of any person shall be a fixed sum of seven
thousand five hundred rupees.
any claim for compensation under sub-section (1), the claimant shall not be
required to plead and establish that the death or permanent disablement in
respect to which the claim has been made was due to any wrongful act, neglect
or default to the owner or owners of the vehicle or vehicles concerned or of
any other person.
claim for compensation under subsection (1) shall not be detected by reason of
any wrongful act, neglect or default of the person an respect of whose death or
permanent disablement the claim has been made nor shall the quantum of
compensation recoverable in respect to such death or permanent disablement be
reduced on the basis of tho share of such person in the responsibility for such
death or permanent disablement." By reason of sub-section (1) of Section
92-A, an absolute liability is cast upon the owner of a vehicle to pay
compensation in respect of death or permanent disablement resulting from an
accident arising out of its use. By reason of sub-section (3), the claimant is
not required to plead or establish that the death or disablement was due to a
wrongful act or neglect or default to the owner or any other person. Sub-section
(4) is in two parts. The first pert states that a claim for compensation under
the Section is not defeated by reason of any wrongful act, neglect or default
of the person who had died or suffered permanent disablement.
second part states that the quantum of compensation is not to be diminished
even if the person who had died or suffered permanent disablement bore some
responsibility for his death or disablement.
was, therefore, on a plain reading of Section 92-A, particularly, the first
part of sub- section (4) thereof, no basis for holding that a claim thereunder
could be made only if the person who had died or suffered permanent disablement
had not been negligent. The provision being clear, no external aid to its
construction, such as the Statement of Objects and Reasons, was called for.
judgment in the case of Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai (supra) dealt principally with
the question whether the brother to a person who had died in motor accident
could claim compensation under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939.
In paragraph 10 of the judgment it was observed" ".... From the point
to view of the pedestrian the roads of this country have been rendered by the
use of the motor vehicles highly dangerous. 'Hit and run' cases where the
drivers of the motor Vehicles who have caused the accidents are not known are
increasing in number. Where a pedestrian without negligence on his part is
injured or killed by a motorist whether negligently or not, he or his legal
representatives as the case may be should be entitled to recover damages if the
principle of social justice should have any meaning at all. In order to meet to
some extent the responsibility of the society to the deaths and injuries caused
in road accidents there has been a continuous agitation throughout the word to
make the liability for damages arising out of motor vehicles accidents as a
liability without fault, in order to meet the above social demand on the
recommendation of the Indian Law Commission Chapter VII-A was introduced in the
Act. Sections 92- A to 92-E of the Act are to be found in Chapter VII-A.
Section 92- E of the Act provides that the provisions of Chapter VII-A shall
have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of the
Act or of any other law for the time being in force. Section 22-A of the Act
provides that where the death or permanent disablement of any person has
resulted from an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle or motor
vehicles, the owner of the vehicle shall, or, as the case may be, the owners of
The vehicles shall, jointly and severally, be liable to pay compensation in
respect to such death or disablement in accordance with the provisions of the
said section ".
words emphasized by the High Court are underlined.
passage does not interpret Section 92 A; the sentence in which the underlined
words occur is a statement of a principle of social justice.
decision in the case of Minu B. Mehta & Anr. vs. Balkrishna Ramchandra Nayar
& Anr. (ibid) was rendered before Section 92 A was introduced into the
statute and is of no assistance in its interpretation.The appellant is entitled
to the benefit of the provisions of Section 92-A and to compensation on the sum
of Rs.7,500/-, as quantified therein for permanent disability.
appeal is allowed. The judgment and order under appeal is set aside. The
respondent shall pay to the appellant compensation in the sum of Rs.7,500/-
with interest thereon at the rate of 12 per annum from the date of the
appellant's claim petition till payment or realization.
shall be no order as to costs.