No Claim Petition Under MV Act Maintainable When Driver-Cum-Owner Causes Accident Himself And No Other Vehicle Is Involved: SC [Read Judgment]

No Claim Petition Under MV Act Maintainable When Driver-Cum-Owner Causes Accident Himself And No Other Vehicle Is Involved: SC [Read Judgment]

“A Claimant, in our view, cannot maintain a claim on the basis of his own fault or negligence and argue that even when he himself may have caused the accident on account of his own rash and negligent driving, he can nevertheless make the insurance company to pay for the same.”

The Supreme Court has reiterated that when an owner-cum-driver of a vehicle is himself responsible for the accident caused, in which no other vehicle is involved; no claim petition will be maintainable under Motor Vehicles Act.

In this case (National Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Ashalata Bhowmik), the High Court of Tripura had upheld the compensation awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, West Tripura, of a sum of Rs 10,57,800 with interest, even though it held that the deceased was not a third party and that the accident had occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle. However, it ordered the compensation to be paid with a rider that the order shall not be treated as a precedent. The high court had also taken note of the insurance contract clause of indemnification extended to a personal accident of the owner-cum-driver was limited to the extent of Rs 2 lakh.

The insurer assailed this order before the apex court.

The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice S Abdul Nazeer observed that legal representatives of the deceased could not have maintained the claim petition filed under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Referring to a judgment in Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Jhuma Saha, Justice Abdul Nazeer said: “It is an admitted position that the deceased was the owner-cum-driver of the vehicle in question. The accident had occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by the deceased. No other vehicle was involved in the accident. The deceased himself was responsible for the accident. The deceased being the owner of the offending vehicle was not a third party within the meaning of the Act. The deceased was the victim of his own action of rash and negligent driving. A Claimant, in our view, cannot maintain a claim on the basis of his own fault or negligence and argue that even when he himself may have caused the accident on account of his own rash and negligent driving, he can nevertheless make the insurance company to pay for the same.”

Setting aside the award of compensation, the bench observed that, since the indemnification extended to personal accident of the deceased is limited to Rs 2 lakh under the contract of insurance, the legal representatives are entitled for that amount only.

Read the Judgment Here