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Compensation Under MV Act Applicable Only When Injury Or Fatality Is Due To Collision: Bombay HC

Nitish Kashyap
28 Jun 2017 12:05 PM GMT
Compensation Under MV Act Applicable Only When Injury Or Fatality Is Due To Collision: Bombay HC
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Dismissing an appeal against an order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), the Bombay High Court has held that Section 163-A of the Motor Vehicles Act is applicable only id the injury or fatality is the result of the collision and a consequence of it.

Justice GS Patel held that a collision after the occurrence of the injury, and independent of the injury, is not an accident “arising out of the use of” the offending vehicle at all, simply because the offending vehicle was not involved in the injury or fatality causing incident.

Justice Patel was hearing the first appeal filed by one Suresh Kadam, his wife and daughter.

Kadam claimed that his son Dinesh died in an accident which was due to a collision between his motorcycle and a bus. This particular bus was leased by Thane Municipal Corporation at the time.

Thus, Kadam claimed a compensation of Rs. 4.5 lakh from Thane Municipal Corporation, bus lessor Arex Travel and the insurer Oriental Insurance.

The MACT dismissed this claim and imposed costs on Suresh Kadam, his wife and daughter.

While the order of costs imposed was set aside by Justice Patel, the dismissal of appeal was upheld.

Case Background

On April 8, 2007, 22-year-old Dinesh was travelling towards Vasai on his company motorcycle to meet a client along with a colleague. On his way, he hit a patch of sand or gravel and lost control of his motorcycle.

Appellant’s counsel AM Gokhale argued that Dinesh’s injuries are attributable to his collision with the bus and the argument of negligence on Dinesh’s part or contributory negligence was wholly irrelevant as it was a claim under Section 163 A of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Whereas, MV Limaye and DS Joshi, who appeared for the respondents, submitted that “there was no accident involving the bus at all”.

According to them, the bus never hit Dinesh. The motorcycle hit a patch of sand, it skidded and its riders fell, it hit the road divider and came before the bus.

The bus driver, who was a witness before the MACT, said he was very clear that he stopped his bus immediately after he saw Dinesh’s motorcycle hit the divider and jump off to the other side, and that the bus never struck Dinesh (or vice versa). It was also pointed out that it was the driver and the conductor who took the injured to hospital.

The pillion rider was not sure whether the bus was stopped as he himself had fallen; however, he stated that it would be incorrect to say that Dinesh sustained injuries due to a collision with the bus.

Final order

Dismissing the appeal, Justice Patel observed:“It is a threshold requirement, and it is indispensable: a claimant must show that the injury or death was a result of an accident ‘arising out of the use of a motor vehicle’. It must be shown that the accident caused the injury or death. A collision after the injury is not an accident ‘arising out of the use of the motor vehicle’.”

Read the Judgment Here

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