Libertatem Magazine

Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd v Usha Bhagchandani & ors.

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Justice kurian Joseph

Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar

Negligence is the cause for several motor vehicle accidents causing severe injury to people. The compensation is awarded to the party injured. But, this is the broader understanding of the concept. The establishment of negligence would depend upon two different aspects. One is on Contributory Negligence and other is on Comparative Negligence. Contributory negligence can be characterized as the responsibility of a person to look for one’s self. The negligence would amount when the person has caused injury due to an unreasonable conduct irrespective the other party was involved in the accident or not. Recently the hon’ Supreme Court of India held on the basis of this concept where the principle was contributory negligence was not in part of the driver.


The brief facts of the case as follows:

The claimant suffered 100% permanent disability while travelling on her way to the Haridwar in 2006. The claimant travelling in the tax met with an accident with the stationary truck. The appeal was heard by the two judge bench Justice Kurien Joseph and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar. The appeal was filed by the Insurance Company against the 2017 judgment of the Delhi High Court. The premise of the appeal was on the contention that the contributory negligence on part of the taxi driver was not established which was refused by the Hon’ Supreme Court of India. The Insurance Company raising the contention that the part of contributory negligence against the taxi driver was not established on the premise that the claimant conceded that while the collision she was asleep failing to narrate the sequence of events.


Whether contributory negligence can be established against the taxi driver?


The Supreme Court observed that it was the failure on part of the Insurance Company on failing to bring forth the taxi driver, owner and insurance company in the party array. The MACT and the Delhi high Court awarded compensation to the claimant and the High Court refused to accept the contention raised by the insurance company of the claimant being asleep during the collision leading to the unavailability to narrate the sequence of events. The Supreme Court allowed the additional 30% on the pretext of the claimant suffering 100% permanent disability. The decision moreover laid that contributory negligence as contended by the appellant cannot be established against the taxi driver. Hence, the appeal was disposed.

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