//
you're reading...
legal issues

Accident claim – Sec.103 and 157 of M.V. Act – Transfer of ownership – mere failure to intimate the same to the insurance company under sec. 103 of M.V. Act , does not exempt the insurance company from liability to pay compensation to the victim – Apex court held that we are of the considered view that as on the date of accident, the deceased workman was in the course of employment of Jeeva Rathna Setty in whose name the ownership of the vehicle stood transferred and the said vehicle was covered under a valid insurance policy, the High Court ought not have simply brushed aside the decision of the Commissioner fastening joint liability on the Insurance Company in the light of the deeming provision contained in Section 157 (1) of the M.V. Act. For the foregoing reasons, we allow this appeal, set aside the impugned judgment passed by the High Court and restore the judgment of the trial Court.= MALLAMMA (DEAD) BY L.Rs. … APPELLANT(S) VERSUS NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. & ORS. … RESPONDENTS = 2014 ( April. Part ) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41395

Accident claim – Sec.103 and 157 of M.V. Act – Transfer of ownership – mere failure to intimate the same to the insurance company under sec. 103 of M.V. Act , does not exempt the insurance company from liability to pay compensation to the victim – Apex court held that we are of the  considered  view  that as on the date of accident, the  deceased  workman  was  in  the  course  of employment of Jeeva Rathna Setty in whose name the ownership of the  vehicle stood transferred  and the said vehicle was covered under a valid  insurance policy, the High Court ought not have simply brushed aside the  decision  of the Commissioner fastening joint liability on the Insurance Company  in  the light of the deeming provision contained in Section  157  (1)  of  the  M.V. Act.    For the foregoing reasons, we  allow  this  appeal,  set  aside  the impugned judgment passed by the High Court and restore the judgment  of  the trial Court.=

 

Transfer of ownership

Once  the

      ownership of the vehicle is admittedly proved to have been transferred

      to Jeeva Rathna Setty, the existing insurance policy in respect of the

      same vehicle will also be deemed to have been transferred to  the  new

      owner and the policy will not lapse even if the intimation as required

      under Section 103 of the M.V. Act is not given to the  insurer,  hence

      the impugned order passed by the High Court is  contrary  to  law. 

 

 The counsel for the Insurance Company of course contended  that  as  per

 their records, on the date of accident, the vehicle was registered  in  the

 name of Gangadhara. Hence  in  the  absence  of  a  valid  proof  that  the

 ownership of the vehicle has been transferred in the name  of  Jeeva  Ratna

 Setty, the benefits of insurance policy cannot  be  given  to  Jeeva  Ratna

 Setty. However,  the said contention is  contrary  to  record.  A  specific

 finding by the  Commissioner  to  this  effect  in  his  order  dated  28th

 February, 2003 reads thus:

      “The 4th respondent had stated that on the date of the accident,  this

      vehicle was in the name of Sh. Gangadhara.  But  the  applicants  have

      proved the said statement as false through documents and on  the  date

      of the accident, the vehicle was in the name of the Respondent No.1.”

 

 

14.   In view of the above finding, it can be discerned that on the date  of

accident, the ownership of the tractor stood transferred from Gangadhara  to

Jeeva Ratna Setty. In addition to  that,  a  perusal  of  the  ‘Schedule  of

Premium’ extracted above shows that an amount of Rs.15-00 has been  paid  as

premium “for L.L. to persons  employed  in  connection  with  the  operation

and/or loading of vehicle (IMT 19)”.

15.    In view of the above discussion we are of the  considered  view  that

as on the date of accident, the  deceased  workman  was  in  the  course  of

employment of Jeeva Rathna Setty in whose name the ownership of the  vehicle

stood transferred  and the said vehicle was covered under a valid  insurance

policy, the High Court ought not have simply brushed aside the  decision  of

the Commissioner fastening joint liability on the Insurance Company  in  the

light of the deeming provision contained in Section  157  (1)  of  the  M.V.

Act.

16.     For the foregoing reasons, we  allow  this  appeal,  set  aside  the

impugned judgment passed by the High Court and restore the judgment  of  the

trial Court.

2014 ( April. Part ) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41395

P SATHASIVAM, S.A. BOBDE, N.V. RAMANA

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1391 OF 2009
MALLAMMA (DEAD) BY L.Rs. … APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. & ORS. … RESPONDENTS
JUDGMENT

N.V. RAMANA, J.
1. This appeal by special leave is directed against the impugned judgment
and order dated 10th August, 2005 passed by the High Court of
Karnataka in M.F.A. No. 3842 of 2003 whereby the High Court partly
allowed the appeal preferred by the Respondent No. 1—National
Insurance Company discharging it from the liability of payment of
compensation to the claimants— Appellants.
2. The brief facts of the case leading to this appeal are that on 3rd
April, 1997 at about 1.00 p.m., when Honniah @ Dodda Thimmaiah was
returning from the field driving a tractor with the sand load on the
trailor, the tractor overturned and Honnaih @ Dodda Thimmaiah died
owing to the injuries sustained in the accident. Appellants herein
are the claimants—legal representatives of the deceased Honniah @
Dodda Thimmaiah. The tractor involved in the accident had the
registration number KA 18/717-718 and the tractor was originally
registered in the name of one Gangadhara (Respondent No. 3) and the
same was insured with the Respondent No. 1 while the deceased was
employed as a driver with the Respondent No. 2-Jeeva Rathna Setty.
3. On 4th September, 1997, the legal representatives of the deceased,
filed an application before the Commissioner for Workman’s
Compensation, Chickmagalur (hereinafter referred to as “the
Commissioner”) claiming compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation
Act.
4. The Commissioner while issuing notices to the respondents called for
filing of objections, if any. The respondents filed objections denying
their liability to pay compensation. The National Insurance Company
(Respondent No. 1) deposed before the Commissioner that as per its
records on the date of accident, the vehicle was no doubt under the
insurance policy but in the name of Gangadhara, not in the name of
Jeeva Ratna Setty, hence there is no relation of employee-employer
between the deceased and Gangadhara and therefore, it has no burden of
liability to pay compensation to the claimants.
5. After hearing parties and perusing the documents brought on record,
the Commissioner came to the conclusion that the deceased was employed
with Jeeva Rathna Setty, hence there is an employee-employer
relationship between the deceased and the Respondent No. 1 and the
deceased had died during the course of his employment. At the time of
accident, the age of the deceased was determined as 25 years with a
monthly earning capacity of Rs.2,000/- p.m. and thereby the
Commissioner fixed compensation at Rs.2,16,910/-. As the Insurance
Company did not deposit the amount, the Commissioner awarded an
interest @ 12% p.a. from 3rd April 1997 till the date on which he
passed the order, i.e. 14th February, 2003, which amounted to
Rs.1,50,265/- and ordered that the appellants are entitled to receive
a total compensation of Rs.3,67,275/- from the employer Jeeva Ratna
Setty and the Insurance Company. Finally, by the Award dated 28th
February, 2003, the Commissioner held that though the insurance
policy was in the name of Gangadhara, the ownership of the vehicle on
the date of accident was with the Jeevaratna Setty; it is proved that
during the validity period of the said insurance policy, the said
vehicle was transferred from Gangadhara to Jeevaratna Setty; as per
Section 157(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1968 whenever a vehicle is
transferred from one person to another, the benefits of the insurance
policy shall also be transferred to the new owner; accordingly instant
policy benefits will also be automatically transferred from Gangadhara
to Jeevaratna Setty. Therefore, the National Insurance Company shall
be liable to pay the compensation and interest thereupon to the
claimants. Accordingly, the Commissioner fixed the liability of paying
compensation on the Insurance Company and Jeeva Ratna Setty
individually and severally and directed them to deposit the amount
within a period of 30 days from the date of the Award failing which
they shall further be liable to pay interest @ 9% p.a. for the delayed
period. The Commissioner, however, discharged Gangadhara (Respondent
No. 3) and Laxmana Bhovi, (Respondent No. 4) from the case.
6. Aggrieved by the said order of the learned Commissioner, the Insurance
Company (Respondent No. 1) filed M.F.A. No. 3842 of 2003 before the
High Court of Karnataka urging that no liability could have been
fastened by the Commissioner on the Insurance Company.
7. The High Court, by the impugned order, affirmed the findings of the
Commissioner that (i) the deceased workman was actually employed with
Jeeva Rathna Shetty, and therefore, there is a relation of employee-
employer between them; (ii) the deceased workman having died as a
result of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment,
hence the claimants as legal representatives of the deceased are
entitled to recover compensation, (iii) there was a valid insurance
policy in force on the date of accident (iv) and the original owner of
the tractor was Gangadhara. However, the High Court excluded the
liability of the Insurance Company on the ground that the contention
of deemed transfer of the insurance policy in favour of Jeeva Rathna
Setty by virtue of Section 157 of M.V. Act was not actually urged
before the Commissioner.
8. Against the Judgment of the High Court relieving the Insurance Company
from the liability of payment of compensation, the claimants are
before this Court in this appeal.
9. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the material
on record.
10. Before us, learned counsel for the appellants relying upon Section 157
of the M.V. Act, contended that there is an admitted transfer of
ownership of the vehicle as proved before the Commissioner. Once the
ownership of the vehicle is admittedly proved to have been transferred
to Jeeva Rathna Setty, the existing insurance policy in respect of the
same vehicle will also be deemed to have been transferred to the new
owner and the policy will not lapse even if the intimation as required
under Section 103 of the M.V. Act is not given to the insurer, hence
the impugned order passed by the High Court is contrary to law. In
support of this contention, learned counsel for the appellant has
relied upon a judgment of this Court in G. Govindan Vs. New India
Assurance Co. Ltd. (1999) 3 SCC 754.
11. Learned counsel has also brought to our notice a relevant portion
from the ‘Schedule of Premium’ of the insurance policy, a copy of
which is available on record as Annexure P-1., which reads thus:
|B. |LIABILITY TO PUBLIC RISK |Rs. 120-00 |
| |Liability to Trailor |Rs. 87-00 |
| | | |
|Add: |for L.L. to persons employed in |Rs. 15-00 |
| |Connection with the operation and/ | |
| |or loading of vehicle (IMT 19) | |
| | | |
| | | |
|Add: |for increased third party property |Rs. 75-00 |
| |damage limits. Section II-I(ii) | |
| |upto Rs. Unltd. IMT 70 | |
| | | |
| |TOTAL PREMIUM (A +B) |Rs. 1318-00 |
12. On the other hand, learned counsel for the National Insurance Company,
mainly contended that unless it is proved by evidence that the
vehicle has been transferred in the name of Jeeva Rathna Setty, the
deeming provision of Section 157 of the M.V. Act would not be
applicable. In the absence of such evidence on record the High Court
has rightly absolved the Insurance Company from the liability and the
order passed by the High Court does not require any interference from
this Court.
13. The counsel for the Insurance Company of course contended that as per
their records, on the date of accident, the vehicle was registered in the
name of Gangadhara. Hence in the absence of a valid proof that the
ownership of the vehicle has been transferred in the name of Jeeva Ratna
Setty, the benefits of insurance policy cannot be given to Jeeva Ratna
Setty. However, the said contention is contrary to record. A specific
finding by the Commissioner to this effect in his order dated 28th
February, 2003 reads thus:
“The 4th respondent had stated that on the date of the accident, this
vehicle was in the name of Sh. Gangadhara. But the applicants have
proved the said statement as false through documents and on the date
of the accident, the vehicle was in the name of the Respondent No.1.”
14. In view of the above finding, it can be discerned that on the date of
accident, the ownership of the tractor stood transferred from Gangadhara to
Jeeva Ratna Setty. In addition to that, a perusal of the ‘Schedule of
Premium’ extracted above shows that an amount of Rs.15-00 has been paid as
premium “for L.L. to persons employed in connection with the operation
and/or loading of vehicle (IMT 19)”.
15. In view of the above discussion we are of the considered view that
as on the date of accident, the deceased workman was in the course of
employment of Jeeva Rathna Setty in whose name the ownership of the vehicle
stood transferred and the said vehicle was covered under a valid insurance
policy, the High Court ought not have simply brushed aside the decision of
the Commissioner fastening joint liability on the Insurance Company in the
light of the deeming provision contained in Section 157 (1) of the M.V.
Act.
16. For the foregoing reasons, we allow this appeal, set aside the
impugned judgment passed by the High Court and restore the judgment of the
trial Court.
17. There shall, however, be no order as to costs.

…………………………………………CJI.
(P. SATHASIVAM)
……………………………………………J.
(S.A. BOBDE)
……………………………………………J.
(N.V. RAMANA)
NEW DELHI,
APRIL 07, 2014

Advertisements

About advocatemmmohan

ADVOCATE

Discussion

Comments are closed.

Blog Stats

  • 1,982,754 hits

ADVOCATE MMMOHAN

archieves

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,875 other followers

Follow advocatemmmohan on WordPress.com