Decided on January 29,2021

Bibha Singa Alias Singh Respondents


Akil Kureshi,J. - (1.) This appeal is filed by the insurance company to challenge an award dated 12th March, 2019 passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (2nd), Unakoti Judicial District, Kailashahar in Case No.TS(MAC) 11/2016. The claim petition was filed by the dependants of one Rabindra Singh who died in a vehicular accident which took place on 2nd May, 2015. He was engaged as a Driver by one Coastal Projects Ltd. company. He was driving the truck of his employer when he met with the accident. The truck fell down in a ditch causing fatal injuries to the driver. The Claims Tribunal assessed a total compensation of Rs.36,72,000/- of which he apportioned a sum of Rs.16,01,775/- which would be borne by the insurance company of the truck on the ground that such amount was payable by way of Workman Compensation. Since the employer had taken out insurance to cover the risk of Workman Compensation, the insurance company should bear the burden of paying such amount. The remaining sum of Rs.20,70,225/- would be paid by the owner according to the Claims Tribunal's award. This award the insurance company has challenged in this appeal. I am informed that the employer company has gone in liquidation and in any case, no appeal is filed by the owner of the vehicle i.e. the employer of the deceased.
(2.) This appeal requires summery disposal in view of the following undisputable facts : At the time of accident only one vehicle was involved. Such vehicle was driven by the deceased himself. In absence of any other vehicle involved in the accident or in absence of negligence attributable to any person other than the driver himself, surely the insurance company cannot be held liable to cover the risk of the owner or the employer. As is well settled, insurance is a matter of contractual relations, supervened by statutory interdicts. Essentially under such contract of indemnity, the insurer undertakes to cover the risk of the insured to the extent as statutorily provided or contractually agreed. When the accident takes place on account of the sole negligence of the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, there will be no question of fastening the liability of paying compensation on any individual and consequently of shifting such liability on the insurance company of such an individual.
(3.) The insurance company does not dispute that the insurance policy covered the risk of the employer for any possible compensation under the Workmen Compensation Act which may be found due and payable. The insurance company also does not dispute the computation of such compensation carried out by the Claims Tribunal in the impugned award. It would perhaps have been open for the insurance company to argue that despite such clear facts, at any rate, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal could not have assessed and awarded such compensation since it lacks jurisdiction to do so. Awarding compensation under the Workmen Compensation Act is a task assigned to Workmen Compensation Commissioners. However, the counsel for the insurance company has showed grace before me and not insisted that for such exercise which in any case would be cosmetic in nature, the claimants who are destitute widow, aged mother and minor children of the deceased should be driven to a new forum at this distant point of time. He clarified that as long as the liability of the insurance company is capped at Rs.16,01,775/-, the insurance company would not thereafter insist that the claimants must now initiate independent proceedings before the Workmen Compensation Commissioner.;

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