Decided on May 14,2008



- (1.) ALL these appeals under section 173 of the Motor Vehicles act, 1988 ('the Act' for short), having raised a common issue, they are heard and disposed by this common judgment. The appeals are preferred from the orders made by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals in applications all of which were filed under section 140 of the Act and were allowed. The appellant insurer has raised the sole common issue and objection that injured victim of the accident in each case was a pillion rider of the motor cycle involved in the accident and, therefore, the insurer was not legally liable to indemnify the insured and pay compensation. In each case, the accident had happened in the year 2006 or 2007 and, therefore, the new India Motor tariff which superseded the India Motor tariff in force up to 30. 6. 2002 was applicable.
(2.) LEARNED counsel for the appellant, relying upon recent judgment in Yallwwa v. National Insurance Co. Ltd. , 2007 ACJ 1934 (SC), submitted that the insurer was entitled to avail of the defences prescribed under section 147 of the Act, even in the applications made under section 140 of the act. There being no controversy on that count and the issue of compulsory or contractual coverage of risk of pillion rider being a basic issue striking at the root of liability of the insurer and being a purely legal issue, it was permitted to be agitated and it is resolved as under.
(3.) THERE was no dispute about the facts that in each case, the motor cycle involved in the accident was insured under a Two-wheeler package Policy' and that the policies had to be issued only in the forms prescribed in the India Motor Tariff by the tariff Advisory Committee ('t. A. C. ' for short) and that the rules, regulations, rates, advantages, terms and conditions as contained in the India Motor Tariff (I. M. T.)were binding on all concerned as breach thereof would amount to breach of the provisions of the Insurance Act, 1938. It is prescribed in General Regulation 1 (G. R. 1) of I. M. T. that motor insurance in India cannot be transacted outside the purview of I. M. T. unless specifically authorised by the T. A. C. and policies insuring motor vehicles are to be issued only as per the standard forms given in section 6 of I. M. T. It is further prescribed in G. R. 3 that there were two types of policies, viz. , (i) Liability only Policy, covering third party liability for bodily injury and/or death and property damage in which personal accident cover for owner-driver is also included and (ii)Package Policy, which covers loss or damage to the vehicle insured in addition to the liability covered in the earlier clause. It is clarified in G. R. 3 as under: "g. R. 3. Restricting the scope of cover under section I (loss of or damage to the vehicle insured) of the package policy without any reduction in tariff rates is permitted. Excepting this, no alteration or extension of any of the covers, terms, conditions, exclusions, etc. of any of the policies/endorsements laid down in this tariff is permitted without prior approval of the T. A. C. " Thus, the sole issue is as to whether Two-wheeler package Policy' prescribed under the I. M. T. would cover the risk of pillion rider.;

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