Recent Update

(2018)2 SCeJ 1726

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

16 November, 2018

EVIDENCE - Strict compliance provided in law not required.

Motor Vehicles Act , 1988 – Evidence  - Act is a beneficial piece of legislation enacted to give solace to the victims of the motor accident who suffer bodily injury or die untimely -  The Act is designed in a manner, which relieves the victims from ensuring strict compliance provided in law, which are otherwise applicable to the suits and other proceedings while prosecuting the claim petition filed under the Act - If the Court did not exhibit the documents despite the claimants referring them at the time of recording evidence then in such event, the claimants cannot be denied of their right to claim the compensation on such ground -  It was nothing but a procedural lapse, which could not be made basis to reject the claim petition - It was more so when the claimants adduced oral and documentary evidence to prove their case and the respondents did nothing to counter them – Owner and driver exparte - So far as the Insurance Company is concerned, they also did not examine any witness to rebut the claimants’ evidence - The Insurance Company could have adduced evidence by examining the driver of the offending Truck as their witness but it was not done – Claim allowed. (2018)2 SCeJ 1726

 

 


  • INCOME
  • Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 – No proof of income - Appeal for enhancement  - Tribunal has found that no evidence regarding the income of the deceased was produced, that finding has not been over turned by the High Court - High Court, however, relied upon the driving licence of the deceased and training certificate of the deceased issued by Bajaj Auto Limited and on that basis, determined the notional income of  Deceased at the time of accident at Rs.10,000/- per month -  Neither the driving licence nor the certificate could per se be made the basis to assume or infer that the deceased was gainfully employed at the relevant time and moreso was earning income of Rs.10,000/- per month - Reason assigned by the High Court for enhancing the notional income of the deceased from Rs. 3000/- to Rs.10,000/- per month is irrational and tenuous -  High Court has already granted more than just compensation amount to the legal representatives of the deceased - In that, even if the claim of the appellants regarding future prospects, additional medical expenses and additional interest amount was to be accepted, on the basis of the notional income of Rs.5000/-  per month, the question of awarding additional or further compensation amount to the appellants does not arise.             (2018)2 SCeJ 1278
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  •  Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988) – SLP - If the judgment rendered by the Constitution Bench of this Court in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi, (2017-4)188 P.L.R. 693 (S.C.) is applied, the difference in compensation is just about 5% - This Court normally does not interfere where variation in the compensation is within the permissible limits - Special leave petition dismissed. (S.C.)(2018-1) PUNJAB LAW REPORTER
  •  Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988) – Whether the owner has taken reasonable care to find out as to whether the driving licence produced by the driver does not fulfil the requirements of law or not in terms of  Swaran Singh, (2004-1)136 P.L.R. 510 (S.C.) – Owner did not depose in evidence and stayed away from the witness box – He produced a licence which was found to be fake - Another licence which he sought to produce had already expired before the accident and was not renewed within the prescribed period – It was renewed well after two years had expired – The appellant as owner had evidently failed to take reasonable care (proposition (vii) of Swaran Singh) since he could not have been unmindful of facts which were within his knowledge.   (S.C.) (2018-2) PUNJAB LAW REPORTER 
  • 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. (2018)1 SCeJ 338Download
  • Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 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. Download
  •   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) Download
  • Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 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 529 Click here
  • INCOME
  • Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 – No proof of income - Appeal for enhancement  - Tribunal has found that no evidence regarding the income of the deceased was produced, that finding has not been over turned by the High Court - High Court, however, relied upon the driving licence of the deceased and training certificate of the deceased issued by Bajaj Auto Limited and on that basis, determined the notional income of  Deceased at the time of accident at Rs.10,000/- per month -  Neither the driving licence nor the certificate could per se be made the basis to assume or infer that the deceased was gainfully employed at the relevant time and moreso was earning income of Rs.10,000/- per month - Reason assigned by the High Court for enhancing the notional income of the deceased from Rs. 3000/- to Rs.10,000/- per month is irrational and tenuous -  High Court has already granted more than just compensation amount to the legal representatives of the deceased - In that, even if the claim of the appellants regarding future prospects, additional medical expenses and additional interest amount was to be accepted, on the basis of the notional income of Rs.5000/-  per month, the question of awarding additional or further compensation amount to the appellants does not arise.             (2018)2 SCeJ 1278