UNITED INDIA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED Vs. K S SUNEETHI RAMACHANDRAN
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
UNITED INDIA INSURANCE CO. LTD.
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Abdul Gafoor, J. -
(1.) The insurer has come up with this appeal contending that the pillion rider who died in the motor accident is not entitled to be compensated by the insurer.
(2.) It is contended that the very intention of the statute, as indiscernible from section 147 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), is that no person other than those specifically mentioned in that statutory provision is liable to be covered by an Act policy. This is clear from the decisions reported in New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Asha Rani, 2003 ACJ 1 (SC) and Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Devireddy Konda Reddy, 2003 ACJ 468 (SC). The Supreme Court has considered the subsequent amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to bring the owner of the goods or the representative of the owner of the goods carried in a goods vehicle within the coverage of an Act policy and has held that when the Act did not intend to bring in a class of persons, it cannot be taken that such persons are covered by the statutory policy. These are cases concerning passengers carried in a goods vehicle before the amendment to section 147(l)(b)(i)ofthe Act.
(3.) The case on hand is, on the other hand, one concerning a pillion rider on a two-wheeler. A two-wheeler is meant to carry another also as a pillion rider. Necessarily, the pillion rider cannot be taken as a fare paying passenger. Considering such a situation, a Division Bench of this court in the decision reported in United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Appukuttan, 1995 ACJ 888 (Kerala), has made it clear that "such liability cannot now be excluded from the policy. The result is, when a policy of insurance is an Act policy, it does not necessarily mean that the insurance company will stand absolved from the liability in respect of a pillion rider of a motor cycle".;
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