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MOTOR VEHICLES ACT, 1988: s. 168 – Motor accident – Driver not holding valid driving licence – Tribunal’s direction to Insurance Company to pay compensation to dependants of victim and to recover the amounts from driver and owner of offending vehicle – Executing court directing Insurance Company to file suits for recovery – High Court declining to interfere – HELD: Tribunal must be held to have issued the directions in exercise of its inherent powers, keeping in view the social justice doctrine and in the interest of claimants – Impugned orders are set aside – Executing courts will proceed with the execution expeditiously – Execution of awards made by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal – Social Justice. The claim petitions filed by the dependents of the persons killed in motor accidents were allowed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals. However, as the drivers of the offending vehicles did not hold valid licences at the time of accidents, the Tribunals directed the Insurance Company to pay the amounts to the claimants and recover it from the respondent-drivers and owners of the offending vehicles. In the execution petitions, the executing court directed the Insurance Company to file suits for recovery. The petitions filed by the Insurance Company under Article 227 of the Constitution, having been dismissed by the High Court, it filed the appeals. -Allowing the appeals, the Court HELD: 1. The rights and liabilities of the parties to the contract of insurance would be governed thereby subject to the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. One of the conditions which would make the insurance company liable to reimburse the owner of the vehicle in respect of payment of the amount of compensation in favour of a claimant is that the driver of the vehicle must possess a valid driving licence. In the instant case, the licence of the driver of the offending vehicle was proved to be invalid. The courts, however, keeping in view the social justice doctrine wherefor the Act was enacted and in the interest of the claimants ,had been passing orders directing Insurance Company to make the payment and recover the same from the drivers and/or owners of the vehicles. The directions by the Tribunal must be held to have been issued in exercise of its inherent power. It would be travesty of justice, if the Insurance Company, which is directed to pay the amount, has to face immense difficulties in executing a decree. The impugned judgments cannot be sustained, and are set aside. The executing courts are directed to proceed with the execution and dispose of the same as expeditiously as possible. [Para 7 and 10] National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Baljit Kaur (2004) 2 SCC 1; Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. v. Shri Nanjappan & Ors. (2004) 13 SCC 224; National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Kusum Rai (2006) 3 SCALE 519; Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Zaharulnisha (2008) 12 SCC 385; and Dedappa v. National Insurance Co. Ltd. (2008) 2 SCC 595, relied on. Case Law Reference: (2004) 13 SCC 224 relied on para 6 (2004) 2 SCC 1 relied on para 8 (2006) 3 SCALE 519 relied on para 8 (2008) 12 SCC 385 relied on para 8 (2008) 2 SCC 595 relied on para 8 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal Nos. 5082 of 2009. From the Judgment & Order dated 25.09.2006 of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh in C.R. No. 3231 of 2004. WITH C.A. No. 5083 of 2009. Nanita Sharma, Satbir Pillaina, M.K. Bhardwaj, Ashok K. Mahajan, A.K. De, Rajesh Dwivedi, R.C. Kaushik, Madhuri Gupta, Rani Chhabra for the appearing parties.

REPORTABLE
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 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. OF 2009
 (Arising out of SLP (C) No.3372 of 2007)

New India Assurance Co. Ltd. ... Appellant

 Versus

Kusum & Ors. ... Respondents

 WITH

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. OF 2009
 (Arising out of SLP (C) No.4176 of 2007)

United India Insurance Co. Ltd. .... Appellant

 Versus

Darshan Singh and others .... Respondents

 JUDGMENT

S.B. Sinha, J.

1. Leave granted.
 2

2. These appeals involving common questions of law and fact were

taken up for hearing together and are being disposed of by this common

judgment.

3. We would, however, notice the fact of the matter from CA @ Special

Leave Petition (C) No.3372 of 2007.

 On or about 14.7.1999, respondent No.3 was traveling in a bus

bearing Registration No.PB-23-0189 which met with an accident as a result

of which the deceased, Sanjay Kumar, got injured and while being taken to

the hospital, he succumbed thereto. The said bus was owned by New Patiala

Bus Service (Regd.) Sirhind, the respondent No.4 herein.

 Legal representatives of the deceased filed a claim petition before the

Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal which by its order dated 4.12.2001

awarded a sum of Rs.2,68,800 by way of compensation. The learned

Tribunal held that the driver of the bus had not been possessing a valid

driving licence. The primary liability to pay the said amount was held to be

that of respondent No.3 and 4, the driver and owner of the bus. The

appellant was directed to deposit the amount directing that the company

may recover the same from respondent Nos.3 and 4. Pursuant to the said

observations, the appellant company made payments to the claimants on or

about 15.3.2002 by depositing a sum of Rs.3,03,552/- by cheque.
 3

4. On or about 8.5.2002 in terms of the order of the Tribunal, an

Execution Petition was filed, stating :

 "11. That in the claim petition No.82-
 T/99/26.9.2000 titled as Kusum widown of Sanjay
 Kumar and others Vs. Raghbir Singh alias Prince
 and others, the Hon'ble Court was pleased to allow
 the claim petition partly on 4.12.2001 that the
 claimants are held entitled to Rs.2,68,800/- as
 compensation to be shared equally by them. The
 claimants are also entitled to interest at the rate of
 9 per cent per annum from the date of claim
 application till its actual realization. Though the
 primary liability to pay the amount of
 compensation is that of respondent No.1 and 2
 jointly and severally, however, it will also be open
 to the Claimants to recover the same from
 Respondent No.3 Insurance Company. As already
 held above, the insurance company would be at
 liberty to recover the same from Respondent No.1
 and 2 in terms already mentioned in the preceding
 paragraphs.

 12. That as per the directions of this Hon'ble
 Court, the DH/Applicant. Insurance Company has
 deposited Rs.3,03,552/- in the Hon'ble Court on
 30.3.2002 and DRO of this amount has also been
 issued by this Hon'ble Court.

 13. That as per the terms and conditions of the
 award, the DH/Applicant is entitled to recover the
 deposited amount of Rs.3,03,552/- along with 9%
 interest on the deposited amount from 31.3.2002
 onwards.

 14. That the JDs/Respondents have not paid
 even single penny to the Claimants or to the
 DH/Applicant so far.
 4

 15. Hence, this execution application and it is
 prayed that the execution application may please
 be accepted. The JDs/Respondents may kindly be
 directed to pay the amount of Rs.3,03,552/- along
 with future interest at the rate of 12% on the
 deposited amount till its actual realization failing
 which the property of the JDs/Respondents may be
 attached, auctioned to satisfy the award amount
 and/or JDs/Respondents in the civil person as per
 law."

5. On receiving the said notice, the respondent No.3 by filing an

objection to the said Execution Petition raised a question that the said

Execution Petition was not maintainable and, in fact, a civil suit is required

to be filed for recovery of the amount. The said objection of Respondent

No.4 was sustained by the Executing Court by a judgment and order dated

12.6.2003, holding :

 "I have considered the aforesaid case law cited at
 the bar. Authority cited as un-reported Judgment
 of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court, cited by the
 learned counsel for Insurance Company - knows
 decree-holder is not applicable to the facts of the
 case in hand. In this case, liability of insurance
 company was limited to the extent of Rs.15,000/-
 which was ordered to be recovered from the owner
 and it was observed that on the application of the
 insurer the claim tribunal is supposed to issue a
 certificate for recovery of the excess amount paid
 by the Insurance Company to the collector and
 collector is supposed to recover the same in the
 same manner as arrears of land revenue from the
 insured. Award passed in favour of the LRs of the
 deceased can't be treated as decree in favour of
 5

 Insurance Company. Insurance Company can
 effect recover of the amount from the objector
 through a regular civil suit as per the observations
 of our own Hon'ble High Court reported in 2002-
 1) PLR Page 39 and (2001-3) PLR Page 813 -
 Supra by the learned counsel for the objector.
 Further, proceedings in claim cases are of
 summary nature for which no strict proof was
 required but in the regular suit procedure for
 providing document is strictly as per law. Thus,
 execution application being not maintainable
 stands dismissed. However, Insurance Company
 has an independent right to recover the amount
 from insured (Owner and Driver) as per award
 through regular civil suit. File be consigned."

6. An application under Article 227 of the Constitution of India filed

thereagainst by the appellant has been dismissed by the High Court by the

impugned judgment upon considering the decision of this Court in Oriental

Insurance Company Ltd. v. Shri Nanjappan & Ors. [(2004) 13 SCC 224],

stating :

 "The reading of the judgment shows that the
 Hon'ble Supreme Court in the facts and
 circumstances of that case had directed that the
 Insurance Company can recover the amount from
 the insured and the Insurance Company shall not
 be liable to file a separte suit. This cannot be said
 to be laying down a precedent that in all cases
 where the liability is fixed on the Insurance
 Company, it can always recover the amount from
 the owner/driver. In the given case, it is still open
 to the owner to dispute the liability on the plea that
 he had taken all necessary steps to see that the
 6

 driver had a licence and he had no means to find
 out that the same was fake."

7. An owner of a vehicle in terms of the provisions of the Motor

Vehicles Act is legally obligated to get the vehicle insured. The rights and

liabiltis of the parties to the contract of insurance would be governed thereby

subject to the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. One of the conditions

which would make the insurance company liable to reimburse the owner of

the vehicle in respect of payment of the amount of compensation in favour

of a claimant is that the driver of the vehicle must possess a valid driving

licence. The owner has a duty to see that a vehicle is driven by a person

having a valid driving licence. The licence of the driver of the said bus was

proved to be invalid. The owner did not raise any contention that he has

used due diligence in allowing the driver to drive the vehicle.

8. The courts, however, keeping in view the social justice doctrine in

mind wherefor the Act was enacted and in the interest of the claimants had

been passing such orders. The High Court has noticed the decision of this

Court in Nanjappa (supra), wherein it was held :

 "8. Therefore, while setting aside the judgment of
 the High Court we direct in terms of what has been
 stated in Baljit Kaur case that the insurer shall pay
 the quantum of compensation fixed by the
 Tribunal, about which there was no dispute raised,
 7

 to the respondent claimants within three months
 from today. For the purpose of recovering the
 same from the insured, the insurer shall not be
 required to file a suit. It may initiate a proceeding
 before the executing court concerned as if the
 dispute between the insurer and the owner was the
 subject-matter of determination before the
 Tribunal and the issue is decided against the owner
 and in favour of the insurer. Before release of the
 amount to the claimants, owner of the vehicle shall
 be issued a notice and he shall be required to
 furnish security for the entire amount which the
 insurer will pay to the claimants. The offending
 vehicle shall be attached, as a part of the security.
 If necessity arises the executing court shall take
 assistance of the Regional Transport Authority
 concerned. The executing court shall pass
 appropriate orders in accordance with law as to the
 manner in which the insured, owner of the vehicle
 shall make payment to the insurer. In case there is
 any default it shall be open to the executing court
 to direct realization by disposal of the securities to
 be furnished or from any other property or
 properties of the owner of the vehicle, the insured.
 The appeal is disposed of in the aforesaid terms,
 with no order as to costs."

 As noticed hereinbefore, similar directions were also issued in

National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Baljit Kaur [(2004) 2 SCC 1] in the following

terms :

 "21. The upshot of the aforementioned discussions
 is that instead and in place of the insurer the owner
 of the vehicle shall be liable to satisfy the decree.
 The question, however, would be as to whether
 keeping in view the fact that the law was not clear
 so long such a direction would be fair and
 8

 equitable. We do not think so. We, therefore,
 clarify the legal position which shall have
 prospective effect. The Tribunal as also the High
 Court had proceeded in terms of the decision of
 this Court in Satpal Singh1. The said decision has
 been overruled only in Asha Rani2. We, therefore,
 are of the opinion that the interest of justice will be
 subserved if the appellant herein is directed to
 satisfy the awarded amount in favour of the
 claimant, if not already satisfied, and recover the
 same from the owner of the vehicle. For the
 purpose of such recovery, it would not be
 necessary for the insurer to file a separate suit but
 it may initiate a proceeding before the executing
 court as if the dispute between the insurer and the
 owner was the subject-matter of determination
 before the Tribunal and the issue is decided against
 the owner and in favour of the insurer. We have
 issued the aforementioned directions having regard
 to the scope and purport of Section 168 of the
 Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, in terms whereof, it is
 not only entitled to determine the amount of claim
 as put forth by the claimant for recovery thereof
 from the insurer, owner or driver of the vehicle
 jointly or severally but also the dispute between
 the insurer on the one hand and the owner or driver
 of the vehicle involved in the accident inasmuch as
 can be resolved by the Tribunal in such a
 proceeding."

 Yet again, in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Kusum Rai [2006) 3

SCALE 519], it was held :

 "Thus, although we are of the opinion that the
 appellant was not liable to pay the claimed amount
 as the driver was not possessing a valid licence and
 the High Court was in error in holding otherwise,
 9

 we decline to interfere with the impugned award,
 in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case,
 in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 136 of
 the Constitution but we direct that the appellant
 may recover the amount from the owner in the
 same manner as was directed in Nanjappan
 (supra)."

 Yet again in Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Zaharulnisha [(2008) 12

SCC 385], this Court held :

 "22. In the result, the appeal is allowed to the
 limited extent and it is directed that the appellant
 Insurance Company though not liable to pay the
 amount of compensation, but in the nature of this
 case it shall satisfy the award and shall have the
 right to recover the amount deposited by it along
 with interest from the owner of the vehicle viz.
 Respondent 8, particularly in view of the fact that
 no appeal was preferred by him nor has he chosen
 to appear before this Court to contest this appeal.
 This direction is given in the light of the judgments
 of this Court in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v.
 Baljit Kaur and Deddappa v. National Insurance
 Co. Ltd."

 Again in Dedappa v. National Insurance Co. Ltd. [(2008) 2 SCC 595],

it was held :

 "26. However, as the appellant hails from the
 lowest strata of society, we are of the opinion that
 in a case of this nature, we should, in exercise of
 our extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 142 of
 the Constitution of India, direct Respondent 1 to
 pay the amount of claim to the appellants herein
 10

 and recover the same from the owner of the
 vehicle viz. Respondent 2, particularly in view of
 the fact that no appeal was preferred by him. We
 direct accordingly."

9. Whenever, thus, a direction has been issued by the Tribunal, it must

be held to have been done in exercise of its inherent power. It would be

travesty of justice, if the Insurance Company which is directed to pay the

amount and then face immense difficulties in executing a decree.

10 We, therefore, are of the opinion that the impugned judgments cannot

be sustained. They are set aside accordingly. Appeals are allowed, the

executing courts are directed to proceed with the execution and dispose of

the same as expeditiously as possible.

 .............................J.
 [S.B. Sinha] .............................J.
 [Deepak Verma]
New Delhi;
August 4, 2009

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