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Principle Of 'Pay And Recover' Can Be Ordered If Driver Of Offending Vehicle Does Not Possess A Valid Driving License: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
1 July 2019 4:03 PM GMT
Principle Of Pay And Recover Can Be Ordered If Driver Of Offending Vehicle Does Not Possess A Valid Driving License: SC [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court has reiterated that, if the driver of the offending vehicle does not possess a valid driving license, the principle of 'pay and recover' can be ordered to direct the insurance company to the pay the victim, and then recover the amount from the owner of the offending vehicle.Parminder Singh, a driver, was driving a Hyundai Elantra car in which Captain...

The Supreme Court has reiterated that, if the driver of the offending vehicle does not possess a valid driving license, the principle of 'pay and recover' can be ordered to direct the insurance company to the pay the victim, and then recover the amount from the owner of the offending vehicle.

Parminder Singh, a driver, was driving a Hyundai Elantra car in which Captain Kanwaljit Singh, the then Cabinet Minister in Punjab, was being driven from Ludhiana. The car collided with the Truck which came from the opposite direction at a very high speed, and rammed into the car. Captain Kanwaljit Singh succumbed to his injuries on the same day while undergoing treatment in the hospital. The driver survived, but became permanently disabled. The High Court enhanced the compensation awarded to him by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal to Rs.21,06,000/-

In the appeal filed by him, the Apex Court bench comprising Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice MR Shah observed that the compensation awarded to him towards his medical expenses is highly insufficient given the fact that he had undergone 5 surgeries, including a surgery for a severe head injury, and 12 throat surgeries. It said:

"The Appellant was produced before us. He was in an extremely pitiable state. On account of the removal of the frontal bone of the skull, half of his head has caved in. Furthermore, a deep circular incision was made in his throat, and his body was in an unstable condition, undergoing tremors. The Appellant is further suffering from hemiplegia, due to which the left side of his body is not functioning properly.. Given the debilitated state of the Appellant, no amount of money can compensate him. He has been in this condition since the age of 22 years when the accident took place, and will remain like this throughout his life. The Appellant has also been deprived of having a normal married life with a family, and would require medical assistance from time to time. Being completely dependant, he would require the help of an attendant throughout his life."

The bench then awarded the compensation as follows:

Rs. 32,40,000/- to be awarded towards loss of future earnings by taking the income of the Appellant at Rs. 10,000/- p.m., and granting Future Prospects @50%; ii) Rs. 7,50,000/- to be awarded towards repeated hospitalizations and medical expenses for undergoing surgeries and medical treatment; iii) Rs. 10,00,000/- to be awarded towards future medical expenses and attendant charges.

The court also noted that, in this case, evidence has been produced from the office of the Regional Transport Office to prove that the drivers of the two offending trucks were driving on the basis of invalid driving licenses. The bench said:

This Court in Shamanna & Ors. v. The Divisional Manager, The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors., held that if the driver of the offending vehicle does not possess a valid driving license, the principle of 'pay and recover' can be ordered to direct the insurance company to the pay the victim, and then recover the amount from the owner of the offending vehicle.

The bench then directed the Insurance Company to pay the enhanced compensation amount and said that it is entitled to recover the amount from the owners and drivers of the two offending trucks.

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