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Monday, September 15, 2014

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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