On 24.9.2007 at about 11.50 a.m., an accident occurred between the
above vehicle and motorcycle bearing registration No. DL-3S-AY-0421,
in which Pankaj son of Babu Ram Garg, died due to rash and negligent
driving on the part of Diwan Singh, driver of the tractor owned by
respondent Jagbir Singh.
The parents of the deceased filed claim
petition No. 208/11/2007 before Motor Accident Claims Tribunal-II,
Dwarka Courts, New Delhi, which was allowed by said Tribunal, vide its
order dated 17.11.2012 awarding compensation to the tune of
Rs.4,01,460/- with 7.5% interest per annum, against driver and owner
of the vehicle.
It has not been disputed between the parties that on
the date of accident the vehicle No. HR-14B-3913 was not insured with
any of the insurance companies, as required under Section 146 of the
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The respondent filed complaint (No. 157 of 208) before District
Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Jhajjar, praying that the Central
Bank of India (appellant), i.e., the creditor bank should be made
liable to pay the compensation, awarded against him by the Tribunal.
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, vide its order dated
11.11.2009, held that the Bank (present appellant) is liable for the
legal consequences for not getting the insurance renewed.
dismissing the appeal on
the ground that in terms of loan agreement the Bank has a right to
recover insurance premium, held that the Bank cannot escape its
NCDRC in its wisdom did not find the
explanation advanced for condonation of delay as sufficient, as such,
the revision petition was dismissed as barred by limitation. Hence,
this appeal through special leave.
Apex court held that
liability of the
financer, in the cases of accident occurred, after the vehicle is
purchased with loan sanctioned to the owner of the vehicle.
Under Section 146 of the Act there is an obligation on the
owner of a vehicle to take out an insurance policy as provided
under Chapter XI of the Act. If any vehicle is driven without
obtaining such an insurance policy it is punishable under
Section 196 of the Act.
the obligation was upon the appellant to obtain such a policy,
merely by passing of a cheque to be sent to the insurance
company would not obviate his liability to obtain such policy.
A Three-Judge Bench of this Court,
has further explained the law relating to liability of
the creditor bank, and it has been held that the liability of such
bank to get the vehicle insured is only till the vehicle comes out on
the road. In other words, the creditor bank is not liable to get
renewed the insurance policy on behalf of the owner of the vehicle
from time to time.
On a careful analysis of the principles stated in the
forgoing cases, it is found that there is a common thread that
the person in possession of the vehicle under the hypothecation
agreement has been treated as the owner.
Needless to emphasise,
if the vehicle is insured, the insurer is bound to indemnify
unless there is violation of the terms of the policy under which
the insurer can seek exoneration.
a three-Judge Bench has categorically held that the person
in control and possession of the vehicle under an agreement of
hypothecation should be construed as the owner and not alone the
registered owner and thereafter the Court has adverted to the
legislative intention, and ruled that the registered owner of
the vehicle should not be held liable if the vehicle is not in
his possession and control........"
In view of the above discussion and the principle of law laid down by
this Court, the impugned order passed by the NCDRC and the orders
passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Haryana
and the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Jhajjar, are
liable to be set aside. Accordingly the appeal is allowed -2015 S.C.MSKLAWREPORTS