Karnataka HC Upholds the Tribunal’s Award in the Road Accident Case

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On 19 August 2020, Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda heard the case of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd. v. Srinivasa, via video-conferencing. The Hon’ble High Court upheld the compensation amount to the respondent as awarded by the Hon’ble Tribunal.

Facts of the Case

The insurance company has appeared before the Hon’ble High Court challenging the award of Rs. 96,800/- awarded to the complainant. The claimant was walking near the gate of Vishwanathenahally village of Holalkere talk. The rider of Hero Honda motorcycle dashed into him.

Claimant’s Argument Before the Tribunal

The complainant sustained grievous injuries due to the accident. Hence, the claimant claimed for the compensation of loss due to the accident. The claim was contested by the owner as well as the insurer.

Insurer’s Argument Before the Tribunal

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The claimant was travelling as a pillion rider in-vehicle bearing registration no. KA-16-6676 for which there is no valid insurance. Hence, the claimant had brought the vehicle bearing registration no. KA-16/Q-1928 as an offending vehicle because it carries valid insurance.

Tribunal’s Award

The accident occurred when the Hero Honda motorcycle bearing registration no. KA-16/Q-1928 collided with the claimant. Hence, the Tribunal awarded compensation of Rs. 96,800/- to the claimant.

Arguments of the Appellant

The learned counsel for the Petitioner argues that the MLC register was produced by the insurance company. The register indicated that the Doctor recorded the offending vehicle as the Motor Cycle bearing registration no. KA-16-6676. The Claimant had brought Hero Honda Motor Cycle bearing registration no. KA-16/Q-1928 as the offending vehicle.

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The vehicle registration number in the register is different from the offending vehicle. The insurer of the motorcycle with registration no. KA-16/Q-1928 cannot be made liable. The vehicle was not involved in the accident in question.

There was a delay in lodging FIR. This delay doubts the involvement of the vehicle. Hence, the Tribunal ought not to have awarded the compensation.

Arguments Made by the Petitioner

The learned counsel for the Respondent argues that there is no jurisdiction for interfering with the award.

Court’s Analysis

According to the MLC register, the vehicle bearing registration no. KA-16-6676 was involved in the accident. The motorcycle with registration no. KA-16/Q-1928 was brought by the claimant.

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The doctor made an entry in the Medico-Legal Case on the basis of information supplied to him. The doctor must be summoned and examined and evidence is extracted from him that the vehicle bearing registration no. KA-16-6676 was involved in the accident. Till the time the doctor is not summoned, the insurance company cannot take shelter under the entry made in the MLC register.

The delay in filing FIR cannot be a conclusive factor regarding the occurrence of an accident. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, the Tribunal is required to come to its own conclusion regarding the occurrence of the accident.

Court’s Decision

The Hon’ble High Court held as follows:

  1. There was no accident which involves the vehicle Hero Honda motorcycle with registration no. KA-16/Q-1928.
  2. MLC register is for the purpose of enabling the doctor to comply with the requirement of informing the police. The registered cannot be considered as substantive proof of involvement of a particular vehicle.
  3. The Tribunal was justified in coming to the conclusion that the said motorcycle had been involved in the said accident.
  4. There is no doubt in the finding that the vehicle Hero Honda motorcycle with registration no. KA-16/Q-1928 was involved in the accident.

Hence, the appeal was dismissed as the Hon’ble High Court finds no substance in the arguments advanced by the learned counsel of the Appellant.

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