8 May 2023 11:15 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court recently said that once a competent criminal court has found the driver of an offending vehicle guilty and convicted him for charges of rash and negligent driving and causing death, findings of Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal that the driver of the car was another person, cannot be accepted. A single judge bench of Justice N S Sanjay Gowda set aside the finding of...
The Karnataka High Court recently said that once a competent criminal court has found the driver of an offending vehicle guilty and convicted him for charges of rash and negligent driving and causing death, findings of Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal that the driver of the car was another person, cannot be accepted.
A single judge bench of Justice N S Sanjay Gowda set aside the finding of the tribunal that had held the insurance company was not liable to pay as Athaulla Khan (driver) was not involved in the accident because in the MLC register and the wound certificate, the name of the driver was shown as Akthar, son of Ameer Jan Khan who had caused accident.
The bench said “If this assertion of the Insurer is accepted that Athaulla Khan was not the driver, essentially Athaulla Khan would stand acquitted and the order of conviction itself would be overturned in a proceeding under the Motor Vehicles Act, which is clearly impermissible.”
The claimants had said that deceased Shukru Sab along with his grand-daughter Vasila was standing near Bhadri shop, a car driven by Athaulla Khan collided with them, as a result of which, Shukru Sab suffered grievous injuries and ultimately succumbed to the same and Vasila, his grand-daughter also suffered injuries. They, therefore, sought compensation.
However, the insurance company opposed the claim saying the police had in collusion with the claimant filed a charge sheet against Athaulla Khan, who not involved in the accident. MLC register and wound certificate showed driver's name as Akhtar, whereas Akthar did not have any driving licence.
The bench noted that after the accident, the driver of the car also suffered injuries and was admitted to the Hospital. The Doctor, who was examined stated that 'Aktharulla Khan' was in a semiconscious state and was under the influence of alcohol. He has also stated that the name of the patient was as indicated in the MLC register.
It said, “In order to establish that the person who was hospitalised was different than one who was arrayed as 1st respondent (Athaulla Khan), no evidence has been adduced by the Insurer apart from merely trying to take advantage of the entries in the medical records.”
Observing that the police, after investigation, have proceeded to charge sheet Athaulla Khan and the Criminal Court, after trial, has concluded that it was this Athaulla Khan who was driving the car in a rash and negligent manner and has also convicted him, the bench held
“In the light of the conviction that Athaulla Khan suffered at the hands of Criminal Court, it cannot be held that he was not the driver of the car at the time of the accident.”
It added “Since the Competent Court has come to the conclusion that Athaulla Khan had driven the car in a rash and negligent manner and was responsible for causing the death of Shukru Sab and causing injuries to his grand-daughter Vasila, the finding of the Tribunal that the driver of the car was the person other than Athaulla Khan cannot be accepted. Consequently, the finding in this regard is set aside and the Insurer is held liable for payment of compensation for the death of Shukru Sab as well as for payment of compensation to Vasila.”
Further the court modified the compensation awarded from Rs 4,43,000 to Rs 9,48,200. It directed the Insurance Company to deposit the amount of compensation awarded within a period of two months.
Case Title: Dilshad And Athaulla Khan & others
Case No: MISCELLANEOUS FIRST APPEAL NO. 5640 OF 2018 (MV-D) C/W MISCELLANEOUS FIRST APPEAL NO. 333 OF 2018 (MV-D), MISCELLANEOUS FIRST APPEAL NO. 334 OF 2018 (MV-I)
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 173
Date of Order: 06-04-2023
Appearance: Advocate Hanumanthappa A for Appellant.
Advocate N.R.Rangegowda for R2.
Advocate Shashidhara for R3.
Advocate S.Nirmala for R4.
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment