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Accident claim – Temporary Registration – Not applied for permanent registration – meanwhile accident took place – Vehicle damaged – Claim for insurance – rejected – State & National commission also rejected – Apex court held that Nothing has been brought on record by the appellant to show that before or after 11.1.2006, when the period of temporary registration expired, the appellant, owner of the vehicle either applied for permanent registration as contemplated under Section 39 of the Act or made any application for extension of period as temporary registration on the ground of some special reasons. In our view, therefore, using a vehicle on the public road without any registration is not only an offence punishable under Section 192 of the Motor Vehicles Act but also a fundamental breach of the terms and conditions of policy contract. In the aforesaid premises, we do not find any infirmity in the order passed by the State Commission and the National Commission.= CIVIL APPEAL NO.8463 OF 2014 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.26308 of 2013) Narinder Singh …Appellant (s) Versus New India Assurance Company Ltd. and others …Respondent(s) = 2014 – Sept. Month – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41875

    Accident claim – Temporary Registration – Not applied for permanent registration – meanwhile accident took place – Vehicle damaged – Claim for insurance – rejected – State & National commission also rejected – Apex court held that Nothing has been brought on record by the appellant  to  show that before or after 11.1.2006, when the period  of  temporary  registration expired, the appellant, owner of the vehicle either  applied  for  permanent registration as contemplated under  Section  39  of  the  Act  or  made  any application for extension of period as temporary registration on the  ground of some special reasons.  In our view, therefore, using  a  vehicle  on  the public road without any registration  is  not  only  an  offence  punishable under Section 192 of the Motor Vehicles Act but also  a  fundamental  breach of the terms and conditions of policy contract. In the aforesaid premises, we do not find any infirmity in  the  order passed by the State Commission and the National Commission.=

Indisputably, a temporary registration was  granted  in  respect  of

the vehicle in question, which had expired  on  11.1.2006  and  the  alleged

accident  took  place  on  2.2.2006  when  the  vehicle  was   without   any

registration.

Nothing has been brought on record by the appellant  to  show

that before or after 11.1.2006, when the period  of  temporary  registration

expired, the appellant, owner of the vehicle either  applied  for  permanent

registration as contemplated under  Section  39  of  the  Act  or  made  any

application for extension of period as temporary registration on the  ground

of some special reasons.

In our view, therefore, using  a  vehicle  on  the

public road without any registration  is  not  only  an  offence  punishable

under Section 192 of the Motor Vehicles Act but also  a  fundamental  breach

of the terms and conditions of policy contract.

15.   In the aforesaid premises, we do not find any infirmity in  the  order

passed by the State Commission and the National Commission.

16.   For the reasons aforesaid, this appeal has no merit and is  liable  to

be dismissed.

2014 – Sept. Month – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41875

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO.8463 OF 2014
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.26308 of 2013)
Narinder Singh …Appellant (s)

Versus

New India Assurance Company Ltd.
and others …Respondent(s)
JUDGMENT

M.Y. Eqbal, J.:

Leave granted.

2. This appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment and
order dated 12.4.2013 passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission, New Delhi (in short, “National Commission”) whereby Revision
Petition No.4951 of 2012 of the appellant herein was dismissed upholding
the judgment of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Shimla
(in short, “State Commission”), which had dismissed the complaint and set
aside the order of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Shimla
(in short, “District Forum”) granting the claim on non-standard basis.
3. The facts of the case lie in a narrow compass.

4. The petitioner-complainant had purchased a Mahindra Pick UP BS-II 4WD
vehicle and got it insured for an amount of Rs. 4,30,037/- with respondent
no.1–M/s. New India Assurance Company Ltd. for the period 12.12.2005 to
11.12.2006. The vehicle was temporarily registered for one month period,
which expired on 11.1.2006. However, on 2.2.2006, the vehicle met with an
accident and got damaged. The complainant lodged FIR and informed about it
to the respondent-Company, which appointed a surveyor and assessed the loss
at Rs.2,60,845/- on repair basis. The insurance claim was, however,
repudiated by the opposite party on the ground that the person Rajeev
Hetta, who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident, did not
possess a valid and effective driving licence and also the vehicle had not
been registered after the expiry of the temporary registration.
Consequently, the appellant filed a consumer complaint before the District
Forum.

5. After hearing parties on either side and scanning the record of the
case meticulously, the District Forum allowed the complaint and directed
the respondent-Company to indemnify the complainant to the extent of 75% of
4,30,037/- along with interest at the rate of 9% per annum thereon with
effect from the date of filing of the complaint. Aggrieved by the decision
of the District Forum, Respondent-Company as well as the appellant-
complainant approached State Commission by way of appeal. The State
Commission by its common order disposed of both the appeals, allowing
appeal of the Company and dismissing the complaint of the Complainant due
to which the appeal preferred by the appellant-complainant was dismissed as
infructuous.

6. Aggrieved by the decision of the State Commission, the appellant
preferred revision petition before the National Commission under Section
21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which also stood dismissed.
The National Commission observed thus:
“We have examined the entire material on record and given our thoughtful
consideration to the arguments advanced before us. The State Commission,
after a careful examination of the facts of this case and after examining
the Licence Clerk of the Theog Licencing Authority came to the conclusion
that the licence possessed by Rajeev Hetta had been endorsed for HGV with
effect from 20.4.2002, which was valid for three years. The licence was
also endorsed for LMV-Transport with effect from 7.6.2003, which was also
valid for three years. The accident had taken place on 2.2.2006, on which
date the licence for HGV had expired, but it remained valid for LMV-
transport. It is clear, therefore, that the driver had a valid and
effective licence. However, it is also clear from the facts on record that
the temporary registration of the vehicle done by the Registration
Authority of UT, Chandigarh had expired on 11.01.2006. At the time of
accident on 2.2.2006, the vehicle was being driven without registration,
which is prohibited under Section 39 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and is
also an offence under Section 192 of the said Act.”

Hence, present appeal by special leave by the complainant.

7. We have heard learned counsel for the parties.

8. It has been contended on behalf of the appellant that in case of an
accident of a vehicle, when insured, uses the vehicle contrary to
conditions under Section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act (in short, ‘Act’) or
when the driver is holding improper licence contrary to requirement under
Section 3 of the Act, claims are required to be dealt on non-standard basis
by insurance companies. It has been further contended that similar
yardstick had to be taken into account in case of improper registration of
vehicle contrary to requirement under Section 39 of the Act and the claims
ought to be settled on non-standard basis rather than outright repudiation
of policy and rejection of claim in toto.

9. It is the case of the appellant that even when a vehicle is used
without registration having been done, it does not amount to violation of
any statutory requirement and in such a case, if the accident takes place,
the insured is entitled to claim benefit under the insurance policy. There
is no statutory bar in insuring the vehicle without registration and hence
there is no bar in making payment of insured sum in the eventuality of an
accident. Appellant submitted that the Apex Court in the case of Amalendu
Sahoo vs. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., (2010) 4 SCC 536, has held that
in case of any variation from the policy document/any breach of the policy
document, the Insurance company cannot repudiate the claim in toto and the
claim of the complainant ought to be settled on non-standard basis. It is
further contended that the main purpose of any temporary/permanent
registration is to have identification of the vehicle in the records of the
Government authorities so as to identify the vehicle, particularly, in case
of any motor accident and for tracing the owner of the vehicle, and in this
case, there was a temporary registration number (although its date expired)
affixed on the vehicle, which would lead to the owner and other details as
required in law.

10. Per contra, respondent’s case is that the vehicle can be driven only
after proper registration and in the present case, the vehicle being driven
without registration, which is in contravention to Section 192 of the Act.
Further, there is no endorsement on the driving licence of Rajiv Hetta for
driving HGV, which was valid up to 20.4.2002, and as such, there is
violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy as the
vehicle in question was being driven by a person who was not authorized to
drive the same.

11. We have perused the order passed by the three Forums. The only issue
for consideration is, as to whether the National Commission is correct in
law in holding that the appellant is not entitled to claim compensation for
damages in respect of the vehicle when admittedly the vehicle was being
driven on the date of accident without any valid registration as
contemplated under the provisions of Section 39 and Section 43 of Motor
Vehicles Act. For better appreciation, Section 39 and Section 43 which are
relevant are quoted herein below:-

“39. Necessity for registration.—No person shall drive any motor vehicle
and no owner of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be
driven in any public place or in any other place unless the vehicle is
registered in accordance with this Chapter and the certificate of
registration of the vehicle has not been suspended or cancelled and the
vehicle carries a registration mark displayed in the prescribed manner:

Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to a motor vehicle in
possession of a dealer subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by
the Central Government.

“43. Temporary registration.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in
section 40 the owner of a motor vehicle may apply to any registering
authority or other prescribed authority to have the vehicle temporarily
registered in the prescribed manner and for the issue in the prescribed
manner of a temporary certificate of registration and a temporary
registration mark.”
(2) A registration made under this section shall be valid only for a period
not exceeding one month, and shall not be renewable:

Provided that where a motor vehicle so registered is a chassis to which a
body has not been attached and the same is detained in a workshop beyond
the said period of one month for being fitted with a body or any unforeseen
circumstances beyond the control of the owner, the period may, on payment
of such fees, if any, as may be prescribed, be extended by such further
period or periods as the registering authority or other prescribed
authority, as the case may be, may allow.

(3) In a case where the motor vehicle is held under hire-purchase
agreement, lease or hypothecation, the registering authority or other
prescribed authority shall issue a temporary certificate of registration of
such vehicle, which shall incorporate legibly and prominently the full name
and address of the person with whom such agreement has been entered into by
the owner.”

12. A bare perusal of Section 39 shows that no person shall drive the
motor vehicle in any public place without any valid registration granted by
the registering authority in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

13. However, according to Section 43, the owner of the vehicle may apply
to the registering authority for temporary registration and a temporary
registration mark. If such temporary registration is granted by the
authority, the same shall be valid only for a period not exceeding one
month. The proviso to Section 43 clarified that the period of one month
may be extended for such a further period by the registering authority only
in a case where a temporary registration is granted in respect of chassis
to which body has not been attached and the same is detained in a workshop
beyond the said period of one month for being fitted with a body or
unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the owner.

14. Indisputably, a temporary registration was granted in respect of
the vehicle in question, which had expired on 11.1.2006 and the alleged
accident took place on 2.2.2006 when the vehicle was without any
registration. Nothing has been brought on record by the appellant to show
that before or after 11.1.2006, when the period of temporary registration
expired, the appellant, owner of the vehicle either applied for permanent
registration as contemplated under Section 39 of the Act or made any
application for extension of period as temporary registration on the ground
of some special reasons. In our view, therefore, using a vehicle on the
public road without any registration is not only an offence punishable
under Section 192 of the Motor Vehicles Act but also a fundamental breach
of the terms and conditions of policy contract.
15. In the aforesaid premises, we do not find any infirmity in the order
passed by the State Commission and the National Commission.
16. For the reasons aforesaid, this appeal has no merit and is liable to
be dismissed.

…………………………….J.
[ M.Y. Eqbal ]

…………………………….J
[Pinaki Chandra Ghose]
New Delhi
September 04, 2014

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