Insurance Law; Sayed Vs. Gopalakrishnan [Kerala High Court, 10-03-2016]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 – Ss. 157 & 149 (2) – Insurance Policy – Transfer of Vehicle – Liability of Insurance Company – Held, As per the New Act, once the vehicle is transferred, there is a deemed transfer of policy of insurance in the name of the transferee and the insurance company is liable to indemnify the insured or even the transferee by virtue of the deeming provision. They can be exonerated from liability only if they are able to establish the violation of policy conditions or defences as provided u/s. 149(2) of the Act and not otherwise.

2016 (3) KLT SN 80 (C.No. 67) : ILR 2016 (2) Ker. 648 : 2016 (2) KHC 351

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

P.N. Ravindran & K. Ramakrishnan, JJ.

M.A.C.A.No.1169 of 2005

Dated this the 10th March, 2016

AGAINST THE AWARD IN OPMV 327/2001 of MACT,THODUPUZHA DATED 13-09-2004

APPELLANT(S)/PETITIONER

SAYED, S/O. MUHAMMED ALI, KALLUVETTIKUZHI HOUSE, THOKKUPARA KARA, ANACHAL P.O. PALLIVASAL VILLAGE. BY ADV. SRI.JOHN JOSEPH(ROY)

RESPONDENT(S)/RESPONDENTS

1. GOPALAKRISHNAN

2. SHAFI MUHAMMED

3. UNITED INDIA INSURANCE CO. LTD., MUNNAR.

R2 BY ADV. SRI.S.JIJI R3 BY ADV. SMT.RAJI T.BHASKAR

J U D G M E N T

K. Ramakrishnan, J.

The claimant in O.P.(MV) No.327 of 2001 on the file of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Thodupuzha is the appellant herein. The claim petition was filed by the claimant for compensation for the personal injuries sustained by him in a motor vehicle accident occurred on 21.11.2000. The case of the appellant in the claim petition was that he was travelling in a motor bike with No.KL6-7821. When it reached the place of occurrence, a jeep bearing No.KL6-555 came from the opposite direction, driven by the second respondent, owned by the first respondent and insured by the third respondent hit against his bike and caused severe injuries to him. He was a fish vendor by profession and aged 52 years at the time of accident. He was getting a monthly income of Rs.4,500/-. He suffered permanent disability thereby he could not attend his work. So, he claimed a total compensation of Rs.4,50,000/- on various heads.

2. Respondents 1 and 2 remained ex-parte.

3. The third respondent filed written statement and additional written statement contending that the vehicle was insured with them at the relevant time but they denied negligence on the part of the second respondent. According to them, the accident occurred due to the negligence of the appellant himself. Further, the vehicle was insured in the name of the first respondent but he was not the owner of the vehicle at the time of accident and the second respondent was the owner and this fact was suppressed by the first respondent. So, the policy is ab initio void. The transfer of ownership of the vehicle was not reported to the insurer. So, they are not liable to indemnify the insured. They also contended that the amount claimed is exorbitant. They denied the occupation, income, disability, etc. alleged by the appellant in the claim petition. So, they prayed for dismissal of the claim petition.

4. The Doctor who treated the appellant was examined as PW1 and Exts.A1 to A13 documents were marked on the side of the claimant. No oral or documentary evidence adduced on the side of the respondents. After considering the evidence on record, the Tribunal found that the accident occurred due to the negligence on the part of the second respondent and awarded a total compensation of Rs.1,17,700 on various heads as follows:

“Transport to hospital – Rs. 6,000/- Loss of earnings – Rs. 2,000/- Medical expenses – Rs. 61,350/- Damage to clothing – Rs. 250/- Extra nourishment – Rs. 700/- Bystander’s expenses – Rs. 2700/- Pain and suffering – Rs. 15,000/- Disability and loss of earning power – Rs. 29,700/- —————– Total – Rs.1,17,700/- ==========

5. Relying on the decision reported in Rikhi Ram and another v. Sukhrania and others, 2003 ACJ 534 the Tribunal held that the insurance company is liable to pay the amount but they can recover the amount either from the insured or the transferee of the vehicle. Dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation and also the finding of the Tribunal regarding the liability of the insurance company, the present appeal has been preferred by the appellant/claimant before the Tribunal.

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