BELI RAM Vs. RAJINDER KUMAR AND ANOTHER
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Rajinder Kumar And Another
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SANJAY KISHAN KAUL, J. -
(1.)The sole question of law for consideration in the present appeals is whether in case of a valid driving licence, if the licence has expired, the insured is absolved of its liability.
(2.)The facts are in a very narrow compass. The first respondent herein, met with an accident on 20.5.1999 while driving a truck owned by the appellant herein, under whom he was gainfully employed. The consequence for the first respondent was 20 per cent permanent disability. The first respondent herein filed a petition under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Compensation Act') before the Commissioner, Sadar, Bilaspur on 17.2.1999 seeking compensation of an amount of Rs.5,00,000/-, impleading the appellant and second respondent herein - the insurance company which had insured the vehicle. These proceedings resulted in an award by the Commissioner on 8.12.2004 granting Rs. 94,464/- for the injuries suffered and Rs.67,313/- towards medical expenses of the first respondent. The amounts awarded were to carry interest @ 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the application till the date of payment. The compensation amount was mulled on to the second respondent as insurer, while the interest was directed to be paid by the appellant herein.
(3.)The parties to the proceedings all filed appeals aggrieved by different aspects of the award. An intrinsic part of the consideration by the High Court was the issue raised about the validity of the driving licence of the first respondent at the time of the accident. The driving licence was endorsed by the Superintendent of R&LA Office, Udaipur but the licence expired on 6.9.1996 and there was no endorsement for renewal thereafter. Thus, the first respondent was driving the vehicle as the driver of the appellant herein for almost three years without the licence being renewed.
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