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Appeal Filed By Insurance Company 'Unnecessary' Considering 'Smallness Of Amount': Gujarat High Court Upholds Compensation Award Of ₹65,200

PRIYANKA PREET
25 May 2022 5:30 AM GMT
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Stating that the Insurance Company had unnecessarily filed an appeal for challenging a small compensation amount in a motor vehicles accident claim, Justice Sandeep Bhatt has affirmed the award of INR 65, 200 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and dismissed the appeal of the Insurance Company.

The brief facts of the case were that the Claimant (Respondent No. 1) was riding in a rash and negligent manner on a motorcycle with the Opponent No. 2 as a pillion rider when the Opponent No. 4 driving a tempo hit the motorcycle because of excessive speed. This caused serious injuries and fracture to the Claimant. The claim petition was filed to gain compensation worth INR 3 lakhs. However, noting the involvement and liabilities of both parties and the disability claims, the Tribunal declared a compensation of INR 65,200 with 7.5% interest for the Claimant.

The Insurance Company contested that the negligence of the tempo driver should be deemed as 100% since the chargesheet was filed against the driver but the Tribunal had disregarded this factum. Further, negligence attributed to the driver of the motorcycle was 20% though it was 'categorically mentioned' in the FIR that he was more negligent. Additionally, the insurance company of the tempo driver was not joined as a party which could imply that the tempo was uninsured. Therefore, the Tribunal had erroneously passed the compensation award.

Per contra, the Claimant averred that there was no error in the order since the width of the road was 11 feet and it was a single track road with no divider and the driver of the tempo did not apply brakes to avoid the accident. The Tribunal had rightly attributed 80% of negligence to the tempo driver and 20% negligence to the motorcycle rider. Further, the amount of compensation was low and looking to its smallness, the appeal should be dismissed.

Affirming the order of the Tribunal, the High Court remarked that none of the drivers had applied brakes and therefore, the attribution of liability to both parties was correct. Therefore, the direction given to the Insurance Company to pay the amount jointly and severally was also 'just and proper.' Reliance was placed on Khenyei versus New Indian Assurance Co. Ltd., (2015) 9 SCC 273 to hold that the Company could recover 20% of the amount from the owner of the bike.

Further, admonishing the Company for unnecessarily filing the appeal over a "small amount", the Bench dismissed the appeal and directed the Tribunal to disburse the funds to the Claimant after following due process.

Case Title: NATIONAL INSURANCE CO LTD v/s RAJEEN RAFIQAHMED VOHRA & 4 other(s)

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 182

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