Road Accident | Contributory Negligence Cannot Be Inferred From Scene Mahazar Alone: Kerala High Court

Manju Elsa Isac

10 Jun 2024 3:30 PM GMT

  • Road Accident | Contributory Negligence Cannot Be Inferred From Scene Mahazar Alone: Kerala High Court

    The Kerala High Court, in an appeal against an order of the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal, held that contributory negligence cannot be fixed based on the scene mahazar alone. It can be relied on if there is a police charge alleging contributory negligence or evidence to support the mahazar.“If the police charge attributes contributory negligence, the same can be relied on by the tribunal,...

    The Kerala High Court, in an appeal against an order of the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal, held that contributory negligence cannot be fixed based on the scene mahazar alone. It can be relied on if there is a police charge alleging contributory negligence or evidence to support the mahazar.

    If the police charge attributes contributory negligence, the same can be relied on by the tribunal, but, here, in this case, there is only scene mahazar available. In the absence of any other substantial evidence, contributory negligence cannot be attributed relying solely on the scene mahazar,” said Justice Shoba Annamma Eapen.

    The case is that the appellant was driving a motorcycle when he was hit by another motorcycle. The person who hit the appellant did not have a valid driving license. The tribunal fixed the damages but held that the insurance company need to pay only 50% as there was contributory negligence on the part of the appellant. The Tribunal held that the appellant did not have a valid license. Further, the Tribunal held that as per the scene mahazar, the accident seems to have happened in the middle of the road and not on the left side.

    The appellant showed in the High Court that he had obtained his license on 10.06.1994 and he was aged 19 years at that time. A driving license is valid for 20 years or until he turns 40, whichever is earlier. The accident occurred in 2011 and he was holding a valid license at that time. The Court accepted this contention.

    In the matter of scene mahazar, the appellant brought the attention of the Court to the scene mahazar to convince the court that the accident did not occur in the middle of the road.

    The court however referred to Jiju Kuruvila & Others v Kunjunjumma Mohan to hold that no inference of contributory negligence can be drawn from scene mahazar. The Tribunal had rejected the final report against the appellant. Hence, it relied on the scene mahazar alone to fix 50% contributory negligence on the appellant.

    The Court ordered the insurance company to pay the rest 50% amount to appellant and recover the same from the owner of the motorcycle and the person who drove it on that day.

    Counsel for Appellant: Advocates C. Harikumar, Renjith Rajappan

    Counsel for Respondents: Advocates V. O. Philomina, Viju Thomas, M. Meena John, Mikhiya Ann Viju

    Citation: 2024 LiveLaw Ker

    Case Title: Raju K. J. v Deepak T. V. and Others

    Case No.: M.A.C.A No. 4003 of 2019

    Click Here To Read/Download Order

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