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The driver of the vehicle should hold a valid driving licence as on the date of the accident: High Court of Delhi.

Insurance companies generally have this clause in their Insurance policies, as per which the driver of the vehicle should hold a valid driving license as on the date of the accident. A single Judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva in the matter of Baksh Ram Vs. SMT. Heena And Ors. (MAC.APP. 201/2021), dealt with an issue where the appellant filed an against the impugned judgement dated 18.09.2020 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal granting recovery right to the insurance company i.e. respondent No.7 against the appellant as well as the driver of the offending vehicle.

In the present case, the counsel of the appellant submitted to the court that the driver of the vehicle had a driver’s license which had validity up to 10.11.2014, and the accident had taken place on 5.12.2014. the counsel also submitted that the driver of the vehicle had expired. Further, the counsel in reference to section 14 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) stated that the said section states that the driving license continues to be effective for a period of 30 days from the date of its expiry. The counsel thereby stated that the tribunal wrongly held that the driver was not holding a driver’s license at the time of the accident and stated that the driver violated the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

The court observed that- “the accident had taken place on 05.12.2014, which was within 30 days of the expiry of the driving license on 10.11.2014. Accordingly, the driving license was effective on the date on which the accident took place”. Thereby the contentions of the contentions of the insurance company as noticed by the impugned order that there was a violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy was held not sustainable.

Referring to the judgement of the Supreme Court in National Insurance Company Vs. Swaran Singh & Ors. (2004) 3 SCC 297, in which the apex court held that as per section 14 of the act, the driver’s license remains valid for a period of 30 days from the day of its expiry, the court held that- “the finding returned by the tribunal that the driver was not holding a valid driving license at the time of the accident is not sustainable and is set aside. Consequently, the right of recovery granted to the insurance company from the owner and driver of the vehicle is also set aside”.

Thereby the appeal was allowed and directed the insurance company to deposit the awarded amount within a period of two weeks from the date of judgement passed.  The court also directed the tribunal to disburse the same to the claimants as per the scheme of disbursal, upon deposit of the amount.

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