Decided on February 11,2008



- (1.) THE appeal under the erstwhile provisions of Section 110 D of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 seeks to challenge liability of the insurance company only on the ground that the injured claimant, a victim of motor accident, was a labourer and the appellant insurance company had not undertaken to indemnify the insured against legal liability arising out of injury to labourers employed by the insured. The judgment and award under challenge is dated 25th September 1986 of MACT (Main) Vadodara in MACP No. 173 of 1984, and the accident has happened on 13-3-1982 when the claimant, travelling with the tractor of the insured as a labourer, had sustained crush injuries on his leg, practically disabling him from working as a labourer.
(2.) LEARNED counsel, Mr. V. P. Nanavati appearing for the appellant vehemently reiterated the contention that even as additional premium was paid with endorsement as per IMT 16, 23 and 37, the liability in respect of injury to the labourer was not covered by the policy and, therefore, the appellant could be held responsible only to the extent of liability arising under the provisions of Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 as a part of compulsory insurance. That contention was also raised before the tribunal and was dealt with as under in the impugned award: "23. The contention raised by Shri Mehta is that the insurer would not be liable because the risk of a labourer is not covered. His second contention is that the liability would not exceed than the liability under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923. But as rightly pointed out by the learned Advocate for the applicant, there has been the endorsement Nos. 16 and 23. These endorsement-clauses have been annexed to the insurance policy. The Amendment No. IMT-16 which is attached to the policy and which forms part of the policy runs as under:- "in consideration of the payment of an additional premium it is hereby understood and agreed that notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary the Company shall indemnify the Insured against his legal liability under:- The Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 and subsequent amendments of that Act, prior to the date of this Endorsement, the Fatal Accident Act, 1855 or at Common Law in respect of personal injury to any paid driver (or cleaner or conductor or person employed in loading and/or unloading) whilst engaged in the service of the Insured in such occupation in connection with then. . . . . and will in addition be responsible for all costs and expenses incurred with its written consent. " "24. A bare perusal of the abovesaid clause would go to show that the liability of the cleaner or the conductor or person employed in the loading and/or unloading while engaged in the service of the insured is also covered. "25. It requires to be appreciated that the case of Arvindbhai Pagi that he was employed on the tractor and the trailer in the capacity of the labourer and that they were going to fetch the fertilizer. He was to work for the loading and the unloading of the fertilizers in the trailer. In view of this position, it becomes clear that the insurer would be liable to satisfy the award. Moreover, the liability would not be limited to the extent of the liability under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, because extra premium has been charged and there is a specific clause as stated above. It, therefore, would mean that the opponent No. 3 would also be liable to satisfy the award. In other words, the opponent Nos. 1, 2 and 3 shall be jointly and severally liable to satisfy the award which may be pronounced in the claim petition. "
(3.) LEARNED counsel, Mr. Nanavati referred to the policy, Exh. 26, produced a true copy thereof and pointed out that particular endorsement no. IMT 16 also included one more paragraph below the aforementioned paragraphs quoted in the impugned award: "the premium having been calculated at the rate of Rs. 8/- per driver (and/or cleaner or conductor and or person employed in loading and/or unloading) the Insured shall certify at the expiry of each period of Insurance the maximum number of drivers and/or cleaners and/or conductors and/or persons employed in loading and/or unloading employed at any one time during such period in connection with the. . . . . . . . . . . . belonging to him and the premium shall be adjusted accordingly. Provided always that;. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ";

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