Motor VehicleS Act, 1988


(2018)2 SCeJ 1235

 3rd July, 2018

 

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988  – Computation of income – Salary certificate or Income Tax returns  - There is nothing in the law which requires the Tribunal to assess the income of the deceased only on the basis of a salary certificate instead of the income tax return for arriving at a just and fair compensation to be paid to the claimants for the loss of life -   Deceased employee of FCI - Employer deposed that the deceased was getting Rs. 8848/- as gross monthly salary and proved salary certificate – Tribunal passed the award on the basis that the salary he was receiving i.e. Rs. 8848/- - Income Tax Returns of the deceased showed an income of Rs. 2,42,606/- per annum for the assessment year 2004-05 and Rs. 2,17,130 for the assessment year 2003-04 - No doubt that if the salary certificate is taken into account the salary of the deceased should be taken as Rs. 1,06,176/-  since the gross salary was Rs.8848 per month -  That, however, in our view does not mean that the income of the deceased as stated in the Income Tax return should be totally ignored -  It is not possible to agree with the observation of the Tribunal that it was necessary for the claimants to “explain the said contradiction” between two figures of income -  The claimants had led reliable evidence that the deceased had returned an income of Rs. 2,42,606/- - Indeed, it was possible that the deceased had income from other sources also - Income taken as per Income Tax Returns.

 

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(2018)2 SCeJ 1155

SUPREME COURT e@journal

Order dated 3 May, 2018

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, Section 2(21) - Central Rules Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989  - Whether a person licensed to drive a light motor vehicle is ipso facto entitled to drive a transport vehicle in that category, decided by a Bench of three Judges in in Mukund Dewangan Vs. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. (2017) 14 SCC 663 – Submission that in Section 4, 7, 14 of the MVA and and Rule 5, 31 of the Central Rules Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 and other provisions, there does not appear to be any exception carved out for transport vehicles which come in the light motor vehicle category - Since the prayer is for the reconsideration of Mukund Dewangan (supra), we are of the view that it is only appropriate that the prayer itself, in light of some of the submissions we have noted above, be considered by a larger Bench of 3 Judges.

 

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,  S. 149, 166 - A distinction has to be made between “route permit” and “permit” in the context of Section 149 of the Act.

 

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 -  S. 2(28), (31), S. 66  - Permit - Use of a vehicle in a public place without a permit is a fundamental statutory infraction  - – Insurance company not liable .

 

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 – Onus of proof  - Insurer had taken the plea that the vehicle in question had no permit - It does not require the wisdom of the “Tripitaka”, that the existence of a permit of any nature is a matter of documentary evidence -  Nothing has been brought on record by the insured to prove that he had a permit of the vehicle -  In such a situation, the onus cannot be cast on the insurer -  Therefore, the tribunal as well as the High Court had directed the insurer was required to pay the compensation amount to the claimants with interest with the stipulation that the insurer shall be entitled to recover the same from the owner and the driver. 

 

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Insurance - Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 Section 2(21) - Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 - Licence for commercial vehicles - holder of the LMV licence had no authority to drive the commercial vehicle without proper endorsement from the concerned transport authority -For enabling a person to drive a commercial vehicle, the licencing authority has to ensure that he fulfils the requisite conditions of age, educational qualifications, medical certificate etc.  - Unless a person satisfies the licencing authority on that score and obtains proper authorisation for driving a commercial vehicle, he cannot be stated to be in possession of a valid and effective driving licence - There is evidently a fundamental breach of the terms and conditions of the policy for non-possession of a proper licence - Insured is not liable to be granted any compensation by the petitioner under the terms and conditions of the policy. (2017) PLRIJ 33 (NCDRC)

 

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), S. 166 – Future prospects - Standardized percentage is capable of being varied if the evidence is so led  where the assessment is based on actual evidence led to the satisfaction of the Tribunal/the Court that the future prospects were higher than the standard percentage provided in Pranay Sethi (2017-4)188 PLR 693 (SC) ....................

 

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), S. 166 – Future prospects - Standardized percentage is capable of being varied if the evidence is so led  - Percentage for calculating future rise in income is no bar to future prospects being taken at a higher level where the assessment is based on actual evidence led to the satisfaction of the Tribunal/the Court that the future prospects were higher than the standard percentage provided in Pranay Sethi (2017-4)188 PLR 693 (SC)  -  Assessed income of the deceased at the time of the accident was Rs.6,273 per month - Tribunal, however added approximately 100 per cent towards future rise in income and considered the prospective income at Rs.12,000 per month, and after deducting 1/3rd towards personal expenses of deceased -  High Court declined to accept the future income rise as 100 per cent and took the same as 50 per cent in view of Sarla Verma & Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation (2009-3)155 PLR 22 (SC),  Constitution Bench judgment of this Court inNational Insurance Company Limited v. Pranay Sethi & Ors (2017-4)188 PLR 693 (SC),  while examining the observations in Sarla Verma, gave its imprimatur to the addition of 50 per cent to actual salary of the deceased towards future prospects where the deceased had a permanent job and was below the age of 40 years, as in the present case -  However, in order passed in Hem Raj (2018-2)190 PLR 480 (S.C.), while taking note of the views expressed by Pranay Sethi, it has been observed that the percentage for calculating future rise in income is no bar to future prospects being taken at a higher level where the assessment is based on actual evidence led to the satisfaction of the Tribunal/the Court that the future prospects were higher than the standard percentage  - Two certificates dated 16.10.1998 and 8.7.2005 (date of accident 16.8.1998) were proved in terms whereof the deceased’s future prospects would have entitled her to a gross salary in the range of Rs.14,000 to Rs. 17,000 per month - No doubt the second certificate is dated 8.7.2005, after a lapse of 7 years from the first certificate, but then that would be a more realistic estimate of what a person holding that post would be earning at that stage of time - Thus, the assessment of the Tribunal is based on the evidence led in the present case - As noticed above, the standardized percentage is capable of being varied if the evidence is so led - Tribunal was justified in giving a 100 per cent increase and taking the future prospects at Rs.12,000 per month. 

 

 

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MVA

SUPREME COURT e@journal

(2018)1 SCeJ 529

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988  -  Quantification of compensation - Disability 55% - Temporary  - Can be granted both on account of permanent disability as well as loss of future earnings,

(2018)1 SCeJ 401

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

DOD : February 09, 2018

Reported ; 11.2.2018

 

 Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988) Section 166 - Deceased – Aged 21 years of age - Unmarried  - Working as a contract worker - Future prospects under the head ‘loss of dependency’ - Awarded at the rate of 40% of the established income. [Para 4]

 

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988) Section 171 - Interest awarded at the rate of 9% (nine percent) per annum

 


(2018)1 SCeJ 397

Motor Vehicles Act

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

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DOD : February 09, 2018

Reported : February 10, 2018

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988) Section 166 - Deceased  - 23 years of age - Unmarried and his parents who filed the claim were in the age group of 40 to 45 years – Following Munna Lal Jaindecided by a three Judge Bench of this Court, it is held that multiplier should depend on the age of the deceased and not on the age of the dependants - Multiplier 18.

 

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988) Section 171 - Interest - Rate of interest modified to 9% (nine percent) per annum instead of 6% per annum granted by the Tribunal and High Court. 

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(2018)1 SCeJ 338

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 

Date of judgement

9th February, 2018

Reported

 9th February, 2018

 

 

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), Section 166 - One side of the Road was closed due to construction work -  The road was about 88 ft. wide i.e. 44 ft. on each side with a divider in between - Offending Gas Tanker standing parked in middle of the road, without any indicators or parking lights - Maruti Car struck against the back of the Gas Tanker as the driver of car could not spot the parked tanker due to flash­lights of the oncoming traffic from front side - Tribunal helddriver of the car was himself not negligent in causing the accident and that the accident has been caused due to sole negligence of the driver of the offending stationed truck in the busy road - High Court overturned the finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal and opined that it was a case of 50% contributory negligence as the tanker/offending vehicle was visible from a distance of 70 ft. - Approach of the High Court in reversing the well considered finding recorded by the Tribunal on the material fact, which was supported by the evidence on record, cannot be countenanced - Said finding of the High Court set aside.

 

Practice and Procedure  - First appeal  - Approach of the High Court in reversing the conclusion arrived at by the Tribunal has been very casual, if not cryptic and perverse -  Indeed, the appeal before the High Court is required to be decided on fact and law -  That, however, would not permit the High Court to casually overturn the finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal - As is evident from the analysis done by the Tribunal, it is a well considered opinion and a plausible view - The High Court has not adverted to any specific reason as to why the view taken by the Tribunal was incorrect or not supported by the evidence on record -  It is well settled that the nature of proof required in cases concerning accident claims is qualitatively different from the one in criminal cases, which must be beyond any reasonable doubts - The Tribunal applied the correct test in the analysis of the evidence before it – Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), Section 166.                    

                             

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988) - Nature of poof  - It is well settled that the nature of proof required in cases concerning accident claims is qualitatively different from the one in criminal cases, which must be beyond any reasonable doubts – Held, Tribunal applied the correct test in the analysis of the evidence before it.

                                                    

Held,

 

Tribunal  relying on Lekhu Singh and other v. Udey Singh and others, (2007-4)148 P.L.R. 507 held that while considering a claim petition, the Tribunal is required to hold an enquiry and act not as criminal court so as to find whether the claimants have established the occurrence beyond shadow of any reasonable doubt - In the enquiry, if there is prima facie evidence of the occurrence there is no reason to disbelieve such evidence -  The statements coupled with the facts of registration of FIR and trial of the accused in a criminal court are sufficient to arrive at a conclusion that the accident has taken place. Likewise, in Kusum Lata v. Satbir, (2011-2)162 P.L.R. 490 (S.C.) Hon’ble Apex Court has held that in a case relating to motor accident claims, the claimants are not required to prove the case as it is required to be done in a criminal trial. The Court must keep this distinction in mind. Strict proof of an accident caused by a particular bus in a particular manner may not be possible to be done by the claimants. The claimants were merely to establish their case on the touchstone of preponderance of probability. The standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt could not have been applied. Tribunal applied the correct test in the analysis of the evidence before it. 

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(2018)1 SCeJ 307

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 *Date of judgement: 06/02/2018*

 

*Date of reporting : 06/02/2018*

 

 

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), Section 2(30) - ‘owner’ -  It is the person in whose name the motor vehicle stands registered who,  for the purposes of the Act, would be treated as the ‘owner’ - Where the registered owner has purported to transfer the vehicle but continues to be reflected in the records of the registering authority as the owner of the vehicle, he would not stand absolved of liability under the Act. HDFC Bank Limited Reshma, (2015) 3 SCC 679 and Purnya Kala Devi State of Assam, (2014) 14 SCC 142. Distinguished.

Held, the principle underlying the provisions of Section 2(30) is that the victim of a motor accident or, in the case of a death, the legal heirs of the deceased victim should not be left in a state of uncertainty. A claimant for compensation ought not to be burdened with following a trail of successive transfers, which are not registered with the registering authority. To hold otherwise would be to defeat the salutary object and purpose of the Act. Hence, the interpretation to be placed must facilitate the fulfilment of the object of the law.

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), Section 2(30) - ‘owner’ -  Minor  - Where a person is a minor, the guardian of the minor would be treated as the owner.

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), Section 2(30) - ‘owner’ -  Hypothecation - Where a motor vehicle is subject to an agreement of hire purchase, lease or hypothecation, the person in possession of the vehicle under that agreement is treated as the owner.                      

 

 

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988), Section 2(30), 50(3) -  There can be transfer of title by payment of consideration and delivery of the car -  But for the purposes of the Motor Vehicles Act, the person whose name is reflected in the records of the registering authority is the owner - The owner within the meaning of Section 2(30) is liable to compensate - The mandate of the law must be fulfilled - T V Jose v Chacko P M , (2001) 8 SCC 748, referred

 

 

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(2017) PLRIJ 33 (NCDRC)

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance - Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 Section 2(21) - Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 - Licence for commercial vehicles - holder of the LMV licence had no authority to drive the commercial vehicle without proper endorsement from the concerned transport authority -For enabling a person to drive a commercial vehicle, the licencing authority has to ensure that he fulfils the requisite conditions of age, educational qualifications, medical certificate etc.  - Unless a person satisfies the licencing authority on that score and obtains proper authorisation for driving a commercial vehicle, he cannot be stated to be in possession of a valid and effective driving licence - There is evidently a fundamental breach of the terms and conditions of the policy for non-possession of a proper licence - Insured is not liable to be granted any compensation by the petitioner under the terms and conditions of the policy.  

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