8 Aug 2023 12:02 PM GMT
The Karnataka High Court reiterated that Motor Vehicles Act being a beneficial legislation, the provisions thereof have to be given beneficial meaning and effect. It held that benefit under the Act cannot be taken away on a technical aspect that too of limitation under Section 166(3) of the Act, which mandates that no claim petition can be entertained unless it is made within six months of...
The Karnataka High Court reiterated that Motor Vehicles Act being a beneficial legislation, the provisions thereof have to be given beneficial meaning and effect.
It held that benefit under the Act cannot be taken away on a technical aspect that too of limitation under Section 166(3) of the Act, which mandates that no claim petition can be entertained unless it is made within six months of the occurrence of the accident.
While dismissing an insurer's appeal against condonation of delay in filing the claim petition, a single judge bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj also recounted the amendments made in the year 2019 and the Rules which have been framed in the year 2022, that require First Accident Report (FAR) registered by an Investigating Officer at the time of the accident to be treated as a claim petition.
Since in this case the IO failed to forward FAR to the Court, no automatic proceedings could be initiated otherwise the question of delay in filing claim petition would have been futile. Court suggested that all Police Officers registering a FAR relating to an accident must adhere to Section 159 of the MV Act and forward the FAR to the Claims Tribunal, so that the same can be treated as the claim petition and the process commenced.
Further, to ensure such situations are avoided in the future, the Court issued following directions:
#DGP, Commissioner of Transport Department, Secretary, Health Department as also Secretary, e-Governance Department are required to implement the Central Motor Vehicles Amendment Rules of 2022.
# The State Police IT is directed to integrate the Police IT system with integrated Road Accident Data Base/E-Detail Accident Report (E-DAR) on the Parivahan website set up by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH).
# The Police IT is also directed to integrate with Unique Disability ID (UDID) website set up by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, in order to track the disability caused to a victim of accident and the report issued by the medical board constituted under the disability Act.
# The police IT to integrate with Forensic Laboratory Management System (FLMS) set up under the State of Karnataka as also with the VAHAN website.
# The police IT to integrate with all the Insurance Companies providing insurance service in the country, so as to secure the details of the insurance policy in respect of the vehicles involved in the accident on the basis of vehicle number.
# The police IT to integrate with the Transport Department, so as to secure the details of the vehicle, owner and the driver involved in the accident.
# All the above details to be made available to the Courts by integrating with the Case Information System, used by the Courts.
# A detailed project report to be submitted in this regard in four weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
# Irrespective of Rules of 2022, in terms of Section 159 of the MV Act, if the Investigating Officer has submitted the First Accident Report in terms of Section 159 of the MV Act, the same would have reached the Court for necessary action to be taken.
So far as merits of the case are concerned, the insurer had argued that the claim is time barred in view of Section 166(3) of MV Act, which excludes the operation of Section 5 of the Limitation Act.
Disagreeing, the Court held, “MV Act being a beneficial enactment Section 5 of the Limitation Act being enacted to provide succor to persons who have come to Court late, but with a valid reason, Section 5 of the Limitation Act would also have to be considered beneficially and there being no bar under the MV Act for applying the principles under section 5 of the Limitation Act.”
Thus Court held that Section 166(3) of the MV Act does not place a 'blanket embargo' in entertaining a claim petition filed after the limitation period.
Court also referred to the Central Motor Vehicles (Fifth Amendment) Rules, 2022 which required that the FAR be treated as a claim petition, and said, “In my considered opinion, subsection (3) of Section 166 of the MV Act is virtually rendered redundant, if not redundant, it is made dependent on the various actions required to be carried out by the different authorities under the Rules of 2022.”
Case Title: The Divisional Manager United India Insurance Company Ltd And Ramu @ Ramesh S/O Yallappa & Others
Case No: WRIT PETITION NO.201961 OF 2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 300
Date of Order: 21-07-2023
Appearance: Advocate Mohd Abdul Quayum for Appellant.
Click Here To Read/Download Order