A. Sridhar Vs. United
India Insurance Co. Ltd. & ANR.
J U D G M E N T
H.L. DATTU, J.
appeal is directed against the Judgment and Order passed by the High Court of
Madras, Chennai in Civil Miscellaneous Appeal No. 1779 of 2002, wherein, the
Court has allowed the appeal of the Insurance Company and reduced the compensation
awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Chennai (for short, "the
Tribunal") from `1,60,000/- to `25,000/- under Section 140 of the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as, "the Act").
the Claim Petition filed under Section 166 of the Act, the appellant has stated
that on 14.01.1998, at about 7.10 PM, while he was riding the motor cycle along
with a pillion rider, the vehicle met with an accident due to oil spill on the road
and suffered grievous injuries. Since the vehicle is insured with the respondent-Insurance
Company, he is entitled for compensation of `6,00,000/- (Rupees Six Lakhs) as
Insurance Company has denied its liability. The Tribunal, while considering the
claim of the appellant, has come to the conclusion that the accident did not take
place due to rash and negligence driving of the claimant but due to oil
spilling on the road. Accordingly, the Tribunal has assessed the compensation payable
to the claimant at a sum of `1,60,000/- together with interest at 6% per annum
under the Insurance Policy.
the appeal filed by the Insurance Company, the High Court, has taken exception
to the order passed by the Tribunal and has come to the conclusion that the Tribunal
is not justified in allowing the claim petition moved under Section 166 of the
Act and ought to have determined the compensation payable under Section 140 of
the Act. Accordingly, the High Court has modified the award and has reduced the
compensation payable to `25,000/-.
by the Judgment and Order, the claimant is before us in this appeal.
have heard the learned counsel for the parties and perused the record. From the
evidence on record, the Tribunal holds that the appellant, while driving the
motor vehicle on the fateful day, met with an accident not because of the fault
of the owner of the vehicle or because of the fault of the other vehicle, but
because of the oil spill on the road. Therefore, the negligence can be attributable
only on the person who was driving the vehicle and hence, is not entitled to compensation
under the Insurance Policy. Therefore, the High Court was justified in invoking
the beneficial legislation and in directing the Insurance Company to pay
limited amount by way of compensation to the injured person of an accident arising
out of the use of a motor cycle on the basis of "no fault liability,"
since the accident has arisen out of use of motor vehicle and has resulted in
grievous injuries to the claimant.
view of the above, we do not see any legal infirmity in the Judgment and Order passed
by the High Court. The appeal is, accordingly, dismissed. Costs are made easy.
D. Sampath Vs. United
India Insurance Co. Ltd. & ANR.
J U D G M E N T
H.L. DATTU, J.
appeal is directed against the Judgment and Order passed by the High Court of Judicature
at Madras in Civil Miscellaneous Appeal No. 2099 of 2002 dated 12.04.2010. By the
impugned judgment, the Court has modified the compensation awarded by the Motor
Accident Claims Tribunal, Chennai (for short, "the Tribunal") in MCOP
No.1971 of 1998 dated 12.02.2002.
facts are not in dispute. Claimant was a pillion rider of a motor cycle which
was driven by one A. Sridhar. It met with an accident due to oil spill on the
road on 14.01.1998 at about 7.10 P.M. The claimant and the driver of the
vehicle sustained injuries. Both of them were treated in the hospital for the
injuries sustained by them.
The vehicle was insured
with United India Insurance Company Ltd. - respondent No.1 by the owner of the vehicle
- respondent No.2. The claimant filed claim petition before the Tribunal
inter-alia requesting to award compensation at a sum of `12,00,000/- (Rupees Twelve
lakhs only) under various heads. Claimant had examined himself as PW-2 and other
witnesses, including Dr. J.R.R. Thiagarajan - PW-3, who had assessed the disability
sustained by the claimant at 75%.
The Tribunal, after considering
the various factors, including the medical evidence, had quantified the compensation
payable by the Insurance Company at a sum of `3,50,000/-. Being aggrieved by the
compensation so awarded by the Tribunal, the claimant had preferred Civil
Miscellaneous Appeal No.2099 of 2002, before the High Court of judicature at Madras.
The Court, after re- considering the claim of the claimant and re-appreciating the
evidence on record, has enhanced the compensation to `4,90,000/- from
`3,50,000/- awarded by the Tribunal. It is this judgment and order which is
called in question in this appeal.
have heard learned counsel for the parties to the lis and perused the records.
do not intend to disturb the judgment and order passed by the High Court except
to a limited extent. The High Court, while assessing the compensation payable to
the claimant, has arrived at the loss of earning capacity in a sum of `
8,16,000/- and, thereafter, though the Doctor has assessed 75% disability, has taken
into account 50% disability while calculating the loss of income without any
rhyme or reason. In our view, this is a mistake committed by the High Court. It
is no doubt true that, while making assessment, there is an element of guess work,
but that guess work again must have reasonable nexus to the available material/evidence
and the quantification made.
In the instant case, the
claimant had not only examined himself to sustain the claim made in the
petition but also Dr. J.R.R. Thiagarajan, PW-3, who has stated that the claimant
has suffered 75% disability, by referring to the Disability Certificate issued
by a competent Doctor who had treated the claimant. Though the Doctor is cross-examined
at length by learned Advocate for the Insurance Company, nothing adverse to the
interest of the claimant is elicited. Therefore, the Tribunal has rightly
accepted the evidence of the Doctor-PW-3. However, the High Court has taken 50%
disability into account while calculating the loss of income. This, in our view,
is the mistake committed by the High Court.
We hastened to add
that we are not saying that under all circumstances, the Court has to blindly
accept the Disability Certificate produced by the claimant. The Court has the discretion
to accept either totally or partially or reject the Certificate so produced and
marked in the trial but, that, can be done only by assigning cogent and acceptable
reasons. In this view of the matter, we take the disability suffered by the
claimant at 75% and calculate the loss of income of the claimant keeping in view
the loss of earning capacity of the claimant assessed by the High Court. Accordingly,
we arrive at the loss of earning capacity of the claimant at `6,12,000/-.
the result, the appeal is partly allowed. We direct the Insurance Company to
deposit a sum of `6,12,000/- after deducting the amount already paid or
deposited with accrued interest of 6% from the date of filing of the claim
petition till its payment before the Tribunal within two months from today. On
such deposit, the Tribunal is directed to release the amount to the claimant. No
order as to costs.