No com­pen­sa­tion to goods car­rier trav­ellers

The New Indian Express - - CHENNAI -

IN a sig­nif­i­cant judg­ment hav­ing far reach­ing con­se­quences, a divi­sion bench of the Madras High Court has held that in­sur­ance com­pa­nies can­not be made li­able to pay com­pen­sa­tion to those who travel in goods car­ri­ers, in the event of an ac­ci­dent.

In the light of the cat­e­gor­i­cal pro­nounce­ments of a larger bench of the Supreme Court in var­i­ous ac­ci­dent death cases, a bench said the Mo­tor Ac­ci­dents Claims Tri­bunals are not right in di­rect­ing the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies con­cerned to pay com­pen­sa­tion and re­cover the same from the owner of the ve­hi­cle in­volved.

The bench gave the rul­ing while pass­ing or­ders on a batch of ap­peals from Bharati AXA Gen­eral In­sur­ance Com­pany Lim­ited in Ben­galuru, chal­leng­ing a com­mon or­der dated Septem­ber 23, 2014 of the Mo­tor Ac­ci­dents Claims Tri­bunal at Dharmapuri.

Aandi and 15 oth­ers of Ko­ta­p­atty had en­gaged a goods car­rier to at­tend a wed­ding at Soolakurichi on Septem­ber 1, 2011. While re­turn­ing af­ter mar­riage, the van top­pled and some died on the spot. Oth­ers sus­tained in­juries. They moved the tri­bunal which in Septem­ber 2014 awarded var­i­ous amounts ac­cord­ing to the in­juries/deaths. The tri­bunal di­rected the in­sur­ance firm to pay the sum and re­cover the same from the owner of the ve­hi­cle later.

Ag­grieved, the in­sur­ance com­pany pre­ferred the present ap­peals, which were al­lowed now.

“No doubt true that in many cases the claimants may not be able to re­alise the award amount from the own­ers of the ve­hi­cles in­volved in the ac­ci­dent. But, the said fac­tual sit­u­a­tion alone can­not im­pel us to do some­thing against the pro­vi­sions of the statute and the de­ci­sions of the larger benches of the Supreme Court,” the bench said.

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