Decided on June 15,1994

Samir Chanda Respondents

Referred Judgements :-


Cited Judgements :-



J.N.SARMA,J. - (1.)THESE two appeals are against the judgments and awards dated 2.2.93 passed by the Member, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Kamrup, Guwahati in MACT Case No. 64(K) of 1984 (MA(F) 72/93 and MACT Case No. 65(K) of 1984 (MA(F) No. 73/93).
(2.)THE question which arises in these two cases are that whether a Motqr Accidents Claims Tribunal can pass an award with regard to injuries caused by bomb blast by terrorist activities. On 17.10.93 at about 7.55 p.m. the ASTC city bus stopped at the last stoppage near the 4th APBn. During the stationary condition passengers started alighting from the bus and in the meantime a bomb exploded which caused grievous injuries to the claimants. The learned Tribunal found that there is no omission or commission or violation of any provision of Motor Vehicles Act or Rules framed thereunder. "But when the atmosphere is polluted and there is possibility of internal or external endanger to the vehicle, however remote the cause might be an extra vigilance and care is necessary even when the vehicle is found properly parked and in stationary condition. The driver and conductor are bound to take extra care which are found lacking here."
No doubt, recently the Insurance Companies have started to insure vehicles to pay loss and damages to the motor vehicles caused by terrorist activities. But that does not cover the loss because of the use of the motor vehicles. Sections 110 to 110(F) were substituted for the former Section 110 by the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 1956. The object and reasons of the amendment are as follows:

Under the existing Section 110 powers to appoint persons to investigate and report on motor accidents have been given to State Government out the officers so appointed are not empowered to adjudicate on the liability of the insurer or on the amount of damages, except at the express desire of the Insurance Company concerned. The provisions have not helped persons of limited means in preferring claims on account of injury and death, because a Court decree has to be obtained before the obligation of an Insurance Company to meet claims can be enforced. It is therefore, proposed to empower State Government to appoint Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal to determine and award damages.

Accordingly, these Motor. Accidents Claims Tribunal were constituted by the different State Governments. The liability to pay the damages for accidents arises out of the use of motor vehicles and if the statute does not create he liability without proof of negligence, no damage can be granted. The statute has created the no fault liability under Section 92-A of the Act, 1939 (corresponding Section 140 of the Act, 1988). This has been interpreted by the Supreme Court in Shivaji Dayanu Patil v. Vatschalauttam More holding that Section 92-A was in the nature of a beneficial legislation enacted with a view to confer the benefit of expeditious payment of a limited amount by way of compensation to the victims of an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle on the basis of no fault liability. That case was followed by a Single Judge of this Court in the case of State of Assam v. Pranesh Debnath and Ors. reported in (1991) 2 GLR 389 where the Single Judge of this Court held that the amount of compensation for no fault liability shall be available in a accident due to bomb blast and the Single Judge further held that where there was a bomb blast as a result of which the accident took place it may be relevant for the purpose of determining the fault of the owner or driver. It is not material for determining the no fault liability under Section 92-A (Section 140 of the Act, 1988). But the question which arises in this case is something different and as such this matter was placed before the Division Bench.

(3.)EVEN in the earliest case of tort in Rylands v. Fletcher which is founded upon a theory of strict liability, it was pointed out that in order to be liable under the tort there must be duty cast on the owner if the damage is caused because of interference of a stranger and over such activities the owner has no control, the owner shall not be liable.

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