Motor Accident Claim: Absence Of Permit Is Statutory Breach Of Policy Condition Absolving Insurer, Holds SC [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court has held that plying of the transport vehicle in public without permit is a statutory breach and if such a vehicle gets involved in an accident, the insurer will be absolved of liability to pay.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar was considering an appeal from the Punjab & Haryana High Court. The appeal was filed by the owner of the truck involved in the accident. The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal found that the truck was being plied without permit, and held that statutory breach of policy conditions had occurred. Therefore, the insurer was not held liable.
Aggrieved, the owner filed appeal before the high court unsuccessfully. In the SLP filed in the Supreme Court, the owner contended that absence of permit was not a fundamental breach which led to the accident. It was also contended that application for permit was filed, and it was during its pendency that the accident had occurred.
Rejecting the contentions, the bench held as follows;
“In the case at hand, it is clearly demonstrable from the materials brought on record that the vehicle at the time of the accident did not have a permit. The appellants had taken the stand that the vehicle was not involved in the accident. That apart, they had not stated whether the vehicle had temporary permit or any other kind of permit. The exceptions that have been carved out under Section 66 of the Act, needless to emphasise, are to be pleaded and proved. The exceptions cannot be taken aid of in the course of an argument to seek absolution from liability. Use of a vehicle in a public place without a permit is a fundamental statutory infraction. We are disposed to think so in view of the series of exceptions carved out in Section 66”.Read the Judgment Here