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It cannot be said that a person holding a learner’s licence is not entitled to drive the vehicle.: High Court of Chhattisgarh

A learner’s licence is, also a licence within the meaning of the provisions of the said Act. It cannot, therefore, be said that when a vehicle is being driven by a learner subject to the conditions mentioned in the licence, he would not be a person who is not ‘duly licensed’ resulting in conferring a right on the insurer to avoid the claim of the third party as upheld by the High Court of Chhattisgarh through the learned bench led by Justice Deepak Kumar Tiwari in the case of Oriental Insurance Company Limited the Branch Manager Branch Office Ambikapur, District Surguja, Chhattisgarh. v. Bhagwanti W/o Late Parshu and Ors. (MAC No. 1237 of 2018).

Facts of the matter, in brief, are that the claimants are the mother, wife and children of deceased Parshuram, who died in an accident on 16.6.2016. The claim petition was filed before the Tribunal on the ground that deceased Parshuram was working as a Mason. The offending vehicle i.e., Tractor, which was coming from the opposite side, dashed the deceased, as a result of which the deceased sustained grievous injuries and died on the spot. It was further averred that the accident occurred on account of rash and negligent driving by the Chotu @ Rajkumar Khalkho. The deceased was aged about 35 years and was working as Mason and thereby used to earn Rs.15,000/- per month. It was alleged that the accident happened on account of fault on the part of the deceased and the deceased himself was responsible for the accident. After hearing learned counsel for the parties and material available on record, the learned Tribunal passed the impugned award and granted compensation of Rs.9,20,500/- fastening liability on the Insurance 4 Company as well as the Owner and Driver of the vehicle jointly and severally. The Claimants have assailed the impugned award on the ground that it is illegal, erroneous and contrary to law.

After the perusal of the facts and arguments by the learned counsels, the Hon’ble Court held that “It is directed that Insurance Company shall firstly pay the award amount of Rs.10,17, 200/- to the claimants with 6% interest per annum from the date of filing of claim petition i.e. 27.8.2016 till its realization within a period of 2 months and thereafter shall recover the said amount from the Owner in the same execution proceeding without filing separate suit. Accordingly, preferred by the Oriental Insurance Company is disposed of For the foregoing, MAC No.1707 of 2018 filed by the Claimants is allowed in part to the extent as indicated above.

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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