An accident is inexplicable, when it was said that the driver was in full senses and capable of exercising full control over the car, at the time of the accident. It was more probable that his drink, really led to it. This honorable judgement was passed by Supreme Court of India in the case of Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company Ltd vs. Pearl Beverages Ltd. [C.A. No.-001526-001526 / 2021] by The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and The Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph.
The appeal was filled by appellant. An accident, which took place involving a car belonging to the respondent-Company, which was insured with the appellant, had resulted in this appeal against the Order by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The car was completely damaged. The question which arises in this Appeal was, whether the NCDRC was correct in holding that the appellant was not entitled to invoke the shield of Clause (2c) of the Contract of Insurance, under which, it was not liable, if the person driving the vehicle, was under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or drugs. Affidavit evidence of the Company Secretary of the respondent (PW1), the driver of the car and the person who travelled with the driver in the car, was tendered. The FIR, which was under Section 279/427 of the IPC and Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the medico-legal case sheet of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, were among the documents produced by the respondent. The Order, which have referred to under Section 279 of the IPC, was also later produced.
The court opinioned that, “Firstly, the Report indicates that smell of alcohol by a Medical Practitioner; Therefore, the conclusion is inevitable that the driver had consumed alcohol and was driving the vehicle, It is also true that there is no evidence other than the smell of alcohol being detected, The requirement under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act is not to be conflated to what constitutes driving under the influence of alcohol under the policy of insurance in an Own Damage Claim. It would be a case where the driver would still be in control of his faculties even while having caused the accident. The driver has pleaded guilty and stands convicted under Section 279 of the IPC, which penalises rash or negligent driving.”
Th appeal was allowed by the court stating that, “the setting of the width of the road and the thinnest possible traffic, and without the slightest excuse, hitting at the footpath with massive force, not being able to maintain control, hitting the electric pole, the wall of the children park. The impact is so much that it led 181 to the overturning of the car and what is more, catching fire of the vehicle. This accident is inexplicable, if the driver is to be believed as PW2, when he deposed “I was in my full senses and capable of exercising full control over the car, at the time of the accident”. It is more probable that his drink, really led to it.”