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A Comprehensive Insurance policy covers the liability of a pillion rider as well as an occupant in the four-wheeler regardless of premium collected for the same: Bombay High Court

On Tuesday, the 26th of July, in the year 2022, The Bombay High Court passed a judgement in the case of Dhiraj s/o Mahaveersingh Chandel & Anr. vs. Smt. Usha W/o Kishor Bingewar & Ors.( First Appeal No.784 Of 2007)  that ensures justice is endowed to a deceased of an accident and that his family if fairly compensated. This Judgement was passed by The Honourable Mr Justice M. S. Jawalkar.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

In this case, an appeal is filed by the appellant challenging the judgment and award passed by the Chairman of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Nagpur on 29th June 2007. In this judgment the appellant were directed to pay compensation in favour of claimant, who is the respondent in this appeal.

The respondent filed a claim under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicle Act, claiming compensation of Rs.11,27,000 in respect to the death of Kishor Damodhar Bingewar. He dies in an accident that took place on 17/03/1995 at about 2.00 p.m. near the village Gangalwadi on Barad.

It is contention of the first appellant that the deceased was a pillion rider on a motorcycle which was registered in the name of the appellant. Due to rash and negligent driving of the second appellant, who was driving the vehicle, the vehicle skidded, because of which grievous injuries were caused to the deceased who died after he was shifted to the hospital.

It is further contention of the second appellant that he was not riding the vehicle and he was a pillion rider and the deceased himself was riding the vehicle at the concerned time due to which an act of rash and negligent driving cannot be attributed to him. It was later proven in the court that the deceased was in fact driving the vehicle.

It was the contention of the Insurance Company that policy does not cover third party or person’s liability and hence the Insurance Company is not liable to pay any compensation. Believing on the statement made by the Insurance Company, the learned Tribunal erroneously held that Insurance Company is not liable to pay any compensation. Also, the second Appellant was not holding a valid and effective licence to drive the two-wheeler vehicle at the relevant time, thus, there was breach of condition of policy also. Therefore, Insurance Company cannot be directed to pay at all in this case.

JUDGEMENT:

 In this case, the court said the policy is a “comprehensive policy”, however, it was vehemently contended during the proceeding that it does not cover liability of pillion rider as there is no premium accepted to cover risk of driver or pillion rider. The courts says as it has been established prior, the comprehensive policy itself means a package policy and it covers liability of pillion rider as well as occupant in the four-wheeler. In view of this clear position, the Insurance Company is liable to pay compensation for death of Kishor and as far as the breach of policy is concerned with regards to the lack of an effective driving Licence, the Insurance Company may first pay the compensation and later recover the same from the insured.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.

Click here to view the Judgement

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