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The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal is required to discuss comprehensively and then come up with a lucid finding thereabout: High Court of J&K and Ladakh

When there is substance in the submission of learned counsel. The Tribunal is required to deliberate upon, discuss and decide, in detail, as held by the Hon’ble High Court of J&K and Ladakh through a learned bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul in the case of National Insurance Company Limited Vs Shameema Begum and others [CMAM no. 76/2017].

Brief facts of the case are that a claim petition was filed by claimants – respondents 1 to 4 herein, before the Tribunal on 12th August 2011, averring therein that on 7th June 2011, respondent no.8 (driver) was rashly and negligently plying offending vehicle and on reaching Mirgund on Srinagar-Baramulla NHW, he lost control over offending vehicle and struck against a pedestrian, namely, Ghulam Rasool Antoo, who was standing on the correct side of the road with due care and caution, with the result deceased sustained multiple fatal injuries on various parts of his body, and ultimately succumbed to injuries in hospital. Offending vehicle was insured with appellant Insurance Company. Claimants/respondents 1 to 4 sought grant of compensation of Rs.25.00 Lakhs along with interest. Appellant Insurance Company resisted claim petition before the Tribunal on the ground that driver of offending vehicle was not having valid and effective driving licence at the time of alleged accident. It was also stated that offending vehicle at the time of alleged accident was being driven in violation of terms and conditions of insurance policy, permit and provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act. It was admitted that offending vehicle was insured with appellant-Insurance Company.

After hearing both the parties, the Hon’ble High Court observed that learned senior counsel for appellant Insurance Company has stated that the Tribunal has not dealt with Issue no.2 in proper perspective. Respondent no.8, driver of offending vehicle, was not having valid and effective driving licence at the time of accident. However, the Tribunal did not properly appreciate this facet of the matter while deciding aforesaid Issue. According to him, finding returned by the Tribunal on Issue no.2 is bad in law as there was breach on the part of owner of offending vehicle and, therefore, insurance company is not bound to prove terms and conditions of insurance policy. It is contended that driving licence of respondent no.8 could not be verified as the records pertaining to the period from 05.02.2002 to 29.01.2006 and the record pertaining to HGV endorsement w.e.f. 05.07.2002 to 07.05.2007 was missing from the office of ARTO Doda. It is also contended that driving licence was renewed from ARTO Udhampur w.e.f. 27.03.2008 to 26.03.2011 and thereafter the said licence was renewed from 08.07.2011 to 07.07.2014 and, therefore, the licence was not renewed after 03 months of the date of accident. It is also contended that the Tribunal while passing impugned award has not appreciated the law correctly.

In conclusion, the court stated “There is substance in the submission of learned senior counsel qua validity of driving licence. The Tribunal was required to deliberate upon, discuss and decide Issue no.2 vis-à-vis valid and effective driving licence of driver of offending vehicle, in detail, which, however, is missing in the present case. So, the Tribunal is required to discuss comprehensively Issue no.2 and come up with a lucid finding thereabout. To this extent impugned Award is liable to be set-aside.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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