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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Accident claim - M.V.Act Section 149(2)(a)(i)(a) - Tractor and trolley with sand for tank bed in field - Not other than agriculture purpose - Hit the victim who died on the spot - claim granted against insurance company - High court held that company is not liable to pay and as such it can recover the amount from the owner - who has to pay compensation ? - Apex court held that as per record merely carrying sand in trolley for constructing a tank bed in the agriculture field does not amount to use of the tractor for commercial purpose and does not amount violation of terms and conditions of insurance policy and as such set aside the order of High court and allowed the appeal = FAHIM AHMAD & ORS. ... APPELLANTS VERSUS UNITED INDIA INSURANCE CO. LTD. & ORS. ...RESPONDENTS = 2014 (March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41335

    Accident claim - M.V.Act Section 149(2)(a)(i)(a) - Tractor and trolley with sand  for tank bed in field - Not other than agriculture purpose - Hit the victim who died on the spot - claim granted against insurance company - High court held that company is not liable to pay and as such it can recover the amount from the owner - who has to pay compensation ? - Apex court held that as per record merely carrying sand in trolley for constructing a tank bed in the agriculture field does not amount to use of the tractor for commercial purpose and does not amount violation of terms and conditions of insurance policy and as such set aside the order of High court and allowed the appeal =

 who is liable  to  pay  the  amount  of  compensation
           awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Udham Singh Nagar
           (for short, ‘the Tribunal’) in M.A.C.P. No. 98/2003  vide  Award
           dated 06.08.2004.= 
When he reached the
           Station Road in front of godown,  suddenly  one  tractor  having
           registration No. UP-21-H-4596 coming at a high speed in  a  rash
           and negligent manner hit the deceased from behind, as  a  result
           of which, he became seriously injured  and  died  on  the  spot.
           Thus,   the   appellants-claimants   claimed   compensation   of
           Rs.5,00,000/- and averred that the deceased was  49  years’  old
           having monthly income of Rs.4,600/- (Rs.3,600/- from mason  work
           and Rs.1,000/- from selling of  milk  of  2–3  buffaloes).   The
           Tribunal  assessed  the  annual  income  of  the   deceased   at
           Rs.24,000/- and applying  the  multiplier  of  13,  awarded  the
           compensation  of  Rs.3,12,000/-  with  interest.   However,  the
           Tribunal held the Insurance  Company,  i.e.,  respondent  No.  1
           herein, liable to pay the said compensation because the  tractor
           was insured with it as per rule at the time of the accident.=
the High  Court
           of Uttranchal at Nainital was partly allowed  on  18.05.2006  to
           the extent that the amount of compensation  so  awarded  by  the
           Tribunal shall be paid by the insurance company,  but  it  shall
           have a right to recover the same from the owner of the offending
           tractor as there  was  breach  of  condition  of  the  insurance
           policy.  This was so held because at the time of  the  accident,
           the tractor was carrying sand.  It is this decision,  which  has
           been assailed in the present appeal.=
 A perusal of  the  records  shows  that,  at  the  time  of  the
           accident, a trolley was attached with  the  tractor,  which  was
           carrying sand for the purpose -
        7. of construction of underground  tank  near  the  farm  land  for
           irrigation purpose(s).  However, merely because it was  carrying
           sand would  not  mean  that  the  tractor  was  being  used  for
           commercial purpose and consequently, there was a breach  of  the
           condition of policy on  the  part  of  the  insured.   There  is
           nothing on record to show that the tractor was  being  used  for
           commercial purpose(s)  or  purpose(s)  other  than  agricultural
           purpose(s), i.e., for hire  or  reward,  as  contemplated  under
           Section 149(2)(a)(i)(a) of the said Act.=
We may also notice that this Court  in  National  Insurance  Co.
           Ltd. Vs. V. Chinnamma & Ors., JT 2004  (7)  SC  167,  held  that
           carriage of vegetables being agricultural produce would lead  to
           an inference that the tractor was being  used  for  agricultural
           purposes, but the same itself would not  be  construed  to  mean
           that the tractor and trailer can be used for carriage  of  goods
           by another person for his business activities.  Thus, a  tractor
           fitted with a trailer may or may not answer  the  definition  of
           ‘goods carriage’ contained in Section 2(14) of the said Act.


       11. In view of above, we are of the view  that,  in  the  facts  and
           circumstances of the case, the High Court was not  justified  in
           transferring the -
       12. burden of paying the amount of compensation from respondent  No.
           1-Insurance Company to the appellants herein.


       13. We, thus, allow the appeal.  Accordingly, the impugned  judgment
           dated 18.05.2006 is set aside, in so far as the right to recover
           the amount awarded from the owner of the tractor.  No orders  as
           to costs.     

 2014 (March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41335                  P SATHASIVAM, RANJAN GOGOI, N.V. RAMANA                                                                                                                                     NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6220 OF 2008

FAHIM AHMAD & ORS.                 ...      APPELLANTS
                                   VERSUS
UNITED INDIA INSURANCE CO. LTD. & ORS.      ...RESPONDENTS


                               J U D G M E N T

N.V. RAMANA,J.

        1. The short question,  which  arises  for  consideration  in  this
           appeal, is who is liable  to  pay  the  amount  of  compensation
           awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Udham Singh Nagar
           (for short, ‘the Tribunal’) in M.A.C.P. No. 98/2003  vide  Award
           dated 06.08.2004.


        2. Brief facts of the case are thus : On 06.03.2003,  the  deceased
           Atma Singh, the husband of appellant -
        3. No. 1 and the father of appellants No. 2 and 3 herein, was going
           from Kashipur crossing towards Tada Ujjain.  When he reached the
           Station Road in front of godown,  suddenly  one  tractor  having
           registration No. UP-21-H-4596 coming at a high speed in  a  rash
           and negligent manner hit the deceased from behind, as  a  result
           of which, he became seriously injured  and  died  on  the  spot.
           Thus,   the   appellants-claimants   claimed   compensation   of
           Rs.5,00,000/- and averred that the deceased was  49  years’  old
           having monthly income of Rs.4,600/- (Rs.3,600/- from mason  work
           and Rs.1,000/- from selling of  milk  of  2–3  buffaloes).   The
           Tribunal  assessed  the  annual  income  of  the   deceased   at
           Rs.24,000/- and applying  the  multiplier  of  13,  awarded  the
           compensation  of  Rs.3,12,000/-  with  interest.   However,  the
           Tribunal held the Insurance  Company,  i.e.,  respondent  No.  1
           herein, liable to pay the said compensation because the  tractor
           was insured with it as per rule at the time of the accident.


        4. Against the award  of  the  Tribunal,  the  appeal  filed  under
           Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act,  1988  (for  short,  ‘the
           said Act’) registered as A.O. No. 425 of 2004 in the High  Court
           of Uttranchal at Nainital was partly allowed  on  18.05.2006  to
           the extent that the amount of compensation  so  awarded  by  the
           Tribunal shall be paid by the insurance company,  but  it  shall
           have a right to recover the same from the owner of the offending
           tractor as there  was  breach  of  condition  of  the  insurance
           policy.  This was so held because at the time of  the  accident,
           the tractor was carrying sand.  It is this decision,  which  has
           been assailed in the present appeal.


        5. We have heard arguments advanced  by  learned  counsel  for  the
           parties and perused the records.


        6. A perusal of  the  records  shows  that,  at  the  time  of  the
           accident, a trolley was attached with  the  tractor,  which  was
           carrying sand for the purpose -
        7. of construction of underground  tank  near  the  farm  land  for
           irrigation purpose(s).  However, merely because it was  carrying
           sand would  not  mean  that  the  tractor  was  being  used  for
           commercial purpose and consequently, there was a breach  of  the
           condition of policy on  the  part  of  the  insured.   There  is
           nothing on record to show that the tractor was  being  used  for
           commercial purpose(s)  or  purpose(s)  other  than  agricultural
           purpose(s), i.e., for hire  or  reward,  as  contemplated  under
           Section 149(2)(a)(i)(a) of the said Act.


        8. Although the plea of breach of  the  conditions  of  policy  was
           raised before the Tribunal, yet neither any issue was framed nor
           any evidence led to prove the same.   In  our  opinion,  it  was
           mandatory for respondent No. 1-Insurance  Company  not  only  to
           plead the  said  breach,  but  also  substantiate  the  same  by
           adducing positive evidence in  respect  of  the  same.   In  the
           absence of any such evidence, it cannot be presumed that -
        9. there was breach of the conditions of policy.  Thus,  there  was
           no reason to fasten the said liability of payment of the  amount
           of compensation  awarded  by  the  Tribunal  on  the  appellants
           herein.
       10. We may also notice that this Court  in  National  Insurance  Co.
           Ltd. Vs. V. Chinnamma & Ors., JT 2004  (7)  SC  167,  held  that
           carriage of vegetables being agricultural produce would lead  to
           an inference that the tractor was being  used  for  agricultural
           purposes, but the same itself would not  be  construed  to  mean
           that the tractor and trailer can be used for carriage  of  goods
           by another person for his business activities.  Thus, a  tractor
           fitted with a trailer may or may not answer  the  definition  of
           ‘goods carriage’ contained in Section 2(14) of the said Act.


       11. In view of above, we are of the view  that,  in  the  facts  and
           circumstances of the case, the High Court was not  justified  in
           transferring the -
       12. burden of paying the amount of compensation from respondent  No.
           1-Insurance Company to the appellants herein.


       13. We, thus, allow the appeal.  Accordingly, the impugned  judgment
           dated 18.05.2006 is set aside, in so far as the right to recover
           the amount awarded from the owner of the tractor.  No orders  as
           to costs.


                                         ..............C.J.I.
                                         (P. Sathasivam)




                                          ..................J.
                                 (Ranjan Gogoi)


                                            ..................J.
                                          (N.V. Ramana)
New Delhi;
March 25, 2014.


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