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Motor Accident Claim | Lack Of Endorsement To Drive Transport Vehicle Not Equivalent To Lack Of Valid Driving License: Gujarat High Court

PRIYANKA PREET
24 Feb 2022 1:06 PM GMT
Motor Accident Claim | Lack Of Endorsement To Drive Transport Vehicle Not Equivalent To Lack Of Valid Driving License: Gujarat High Court
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The Gujarat High Court has recently held it to be a well-settled principle of law that "merely in absence of endorsement to drive the transport vehicle in the license does not amount to lead to the interpretation that the driver is not holding valid and effective driving license." Justice Sandeep Bhatt observed this in connection with a First Appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicle...

The Gujarat High Court has recently held it to be a well-settled principle of law that "merely in absence of endorsement to drive the transport vehicle in the license does not amount to lead to the interpretation that the driver is not holding valid and effective driving license."

Justice Sandeep Bhatt observed this in connection with a First Appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicle Act ('MV Act') wherein the Appellant-Insurance Company was aggrieved with the order passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. The Tribunal had awarded compensation worth INR 1,55,000 with 9% interest pa to the claimants (driver) and owner jointly and severally.

Background

Deceased minor Ajay, aged 6 years, was dashed into by a tempo while he was crossing the road and he succumbed to the injuries. The parents and the younger brother of Ajay filed a claim petition before the Tribunal worth INR 2,05,000. Opponents 1 and 2 i.e., the driver and owner did not submit any written statement whereas the Insurance Company denied the claim. Accordingly, after examination of facts and circumstances, the Tribunal awarded the aforesaid compensation to the claimants.

The Appellant-Company submitted that the driver was not having the endorsement to drive the transport vehicle and for driving goods vehicle such endorsement of the RTO was necessary. Further, the driver did not hold a valid license and therefore, the Company was not liable to pay the amount.

Judgement

Justice Bhatt identified the issue of the driver not having endorsement and also not holding valid driving license as the primary issue worth consideration. To address this, the Bench referred to Mukund Dewangan versus Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd.,Mukund Dewangan versus Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., [AIR 2017 SC 3668] wherein it was held:

"section 10(2) (a) to (j) lays down the classes of vehicles to be driven not a specific kind of motor vehicles in that class. If a vehicle falls into any of the categories, a licence holder holding licence to drive the class of vehicle can drive all vehicles of that particular class. No separate endorsement is to be obtained nor provided, if the vehicle falls in any of the particular classes of section 10(2)."

"It was also rightly contended that there are several vehicles which can be used for private use as well as for carrying passengers for hire or reward. When a driver is authorised to drive a vehicle, he can drive it irrespective of the fact whether it is used for a private purpose or for purpose of hire or reward or for carrying the goods in the said vehicle."

Noting this interpretation by the Supreme Court on the necessity of an endorsement and also taking into account the definitions of 'light motor vehicle' and a 'transport vehicle' in the Act, the Bench opined that the law was well settled that the lack of endorsement does not amount to a lack of driving license for the vehicle.

Per the precedent, the transport vehicles did not require any endorsement to drive the said vehicle as mentioned in amendment of Form 4 under the MV Act. Therefore, the Tribunal had not erred in awarding compensation which was "on very lower side", per the Bench. Accordingly, the Appeal was rejected.

Case Title: NEW INDIA ASSURANCE CO LTD Versus MUKESHBHAI BHIMSINGBHAI RAJPUT & 4 other(s)

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 54

Case No.: C/FA/3736/2010

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment


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