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National Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Ashalata Bhowmik and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (31 Aug 2018)

Claimant cannot maintain a claim on basis of his own fault or negligence


Motor Vehicles

National Insurance Co. Ltd. has filed present appeal challenging the judgment whereby the High Court has directed the Appellant-insurer to pay the compensation to the Respondents awarded by the Tribunal in a sum of Rs. 10,57,800 with interest at the rate of 8% per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till the date of payment.

The Appellant has contended that, the deceased himself was driving the offending vehicle and has caused the accident. No other vehicle was involved in the accident. He cannot be treated as a third party. Therefore, the High Court has rightly held that, the claim petition filed by the Respondents was not maintainable. In view of this finding, the High Court was not justified in directing the Appellant to pay the compensation.

It is an admitted position that, the deceased was the owner-cum-driver of the vehicle in question. The accident had occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by the deceased. No other vehicle was involved in the accident. The deceased himself was responsible for the accident. The deceased being the owner of the offending vehicle was not a third party within the meaning of the Act. The deceased was the victim of his own action of rash and negligent driving. A Claimant, cannot maintain a claim on the basis of his own fault or negligence and argue that even when he himself may have caused the accident on account of his own rash and negligent driving, he can nevertheless make the insurance company to pay for the same. Therefore, the Respondents being the LRs of the deceased could not have maintained the claim petition filed Under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

Therefore, the High Court was not justified in directing the Appellant/insurer to pay the compensation determined by the Tribunal. Since, the indemnification extended to personal accident of the deceased is limited to Rs. 2,00,000 under the contract of insurance, the Respondents are entitled for the said amount towards compensation. Hence, the Appellant is directed to deposit the said sum of Rs. 2,00,000 with interest @ 9 per cent per annum from the date of the Claim Petition till the date of deposit with the Tribunal within a period of four weeks from today. The appeal is allowed.


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