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Motor Accident Claim | Offending Driver's Statement Can't Form Part Of Charge-Sheet: Gujarat High Court

PRIYANKA PREET
19 March 2022 5:45 AM GMT
Motor Accident Claim | Offending Drivers Statement Cant Form Part Of Charge-Sheet: Gujarat High Court
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The Gujarat High Court has held that when proceedings against a driver are instituted for negligence causing a motor accident, then such driver's statements cannot form part of the charge sheet filed against him."The copy of charge-sheet filed against the driver of the offending vehicle – Truck and the fact that he is prosecuted in the Court of law, if at all, chargesheet is filed against...

The Gujarat High Court has held that when proceedings against a driver are instituted for negligence causing a motor accident, then such driver's statements cannot form part of the charge sheet filed against him.

"The copy of charge-sheet filed against the driver of the offending vehicle – Truck and the fact that he is prosecuted in the Court of law, if at all, chargesheet is filed against the driver, his own statement recorded in the said criminal case would never form a part of charge-sheet as it cannot be used against him during the course of trial", Justice Umesh Trivedi opined.

The observation was made while hearing an appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act challenging the award passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Main) wherein the Claimants were awarded compensation worth INR 25,28,000 with interest at 9% per annum. This compensation was for the death of the victim caused in a vehicular accident who was the husband of the original Claimant No.1 and the father of Claimant Nos 2 and 3.

The deceased was earning INR 11,760 per month while serving as an Assistant Production Manager when the Opponent's truck dashed with the motorcycle of the deceased. Accordingly, the Tribunal calculated INR 17,069 as the deceased's monthly income inclusive of 50% prospective earning. Consequently, INR 25,28,000 was calculated as the amount of compensation including funeral costs etc.

The Appellant contested that the deceased was negligent on a highway crossing the road in between the divider. This amounted to contributory negligence if not sole responsibility. To bolster this contention, the Appellant relied on the FIR wherein it was stated that the accident occurred while crossing road from the divider.

The High Court's foremost opinion was that the Appellant's own statement recorded in the said criminal case would not form a part of charge-sheet and cannot be used against him during the trial.

Further, in the absence of the driver's examination before the Tribunal, the evidence led before it with regard to the sole negligence of the driver could not be disputed by the Insurance Company. The Company could have cross-examined the driver of the offending vehicle to assert its contentions but it did not do so, the Court noted.

Accordingly, it held that the Tribunal correctly held the driver as solely responsible and negligent for causing the death of the deceased. The appeal was dismissed.

Case Title: RELIANCE GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED Versus ASHABEN VIKRAMBHAI CHAUHAN

Case No.: C/FA/57/2022

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