The Tripura High Court in the case of National Insurance Company vs Sri Sujit Das (MAC App 36 of 2020) upheld that if rash and negligent driving of the driver is the proximate cause of the accident and the said vehicle is covered by valid insurance, the insurance company is liable to pay the compensation.
Facts of the case : On 14.04.2016 at about 6.40 p.m. the petitioner Sri Sujit Das along with seven persons were proceeding towards Udaipurby boarding a Scorpio, but suddenly the vehicle was capsized on the National Highway and dashed with a tree. As a result of the accident, the petitioner along with others sustained injuries. During treatment one passenger succumbed to the injuries. The petitioner stated that the accident occurred due to rash and negligent driving by the driver.
The liability was fixed on the insurer of the vehicle as on the date of alleged accident the vehicle was insured and had all valid documents. The tribunal was also satisfied that the rash and negligent driving of its driver was the proximate cause of the accident. Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Rs.2,26,000/- in favor of the claimant.
Counsel for the insurance company had argued mainly on two points (1) the driver of the vehicle was drunk and (2) the vehicle being registered as a private vehicle was used as a hire vehicle and thus it was the violation of policy conditions.
Judgment : The court held that the insurance company could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt with regard to the state of drunkenness by the driver and no evidence had been placed on record by the insurance company that the vehicle was used as a hire vehicle. Though in the cross examination, it was stated that they paid Rs.15000/- to the driver. This court could not draw the conclusion that the said amount is paid to the owner for the purpose of hiring the vehicle.
This court was of the view that since the said vehicle is covered by valid insurance, the insurance company is liable to pay the compensation.
JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY