NEW INDIA ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED Vs. M P PARVATHI
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
NEW INDIA ASSURANCE CO.LTD.
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(1.) Judgment of the Court was delivered by Koshy, J. - This appeal is filed by the Insurance Company challenging its liability to pay the compensation awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Thalassery. In this case dependents of a motor accident victim was awarded an amount of Rs. 2,81,500. The accident occurred on 8th October 1990. Offending vehicle was insured by the appellant Insurance Company from 15th April 1988 to 14th April 1989. Thereafter the insurance was taken at 4.15 p. m. on 8th October 1990, after the occurrence of the accident. The proposal also shows that insurance policy was taken at 4.15 p. m. on 8th October 1990. It is also stated in the insurance policy that effective date of commencement of insurance for the purpose of the Act is from 4.15 p. m. on 8th October 1990 till midnight of 7th October 1991. In such circumstances, Insurance Company is not liable to pay compensation, if the accident happened at any time what is expressly written in the policy as the time of commencement of coverage. The Tribunal has followed a decision of this Court in Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. v. Sivan ( 1989 (2) KLT 897 ) and held that since policy was taken on 8th October 1990, it starts from the previous midnight. Three member Bench of the Supreme Court in Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. v; Sunita Rathi and others ( AIR 1998 SC 257 ) held that when time and date of commencement of coverage is clearly mentioned in the policy, the insurer is not liable to pay compensation for accident occurred prior to the time mentioned in the policy. In that case the accident occurred at 2.20 p. m. on 10th December 1991 and the cover note was obtained at 2.55 p. m. in which it was expressly mentioned that the effective date and time of commencement of the insurance for the purpose of the Act was 10th December 1991 at 2.55 p. m. The same view was held by the Supreme Court in M/s National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Smt. Jikubhai Nathuji Dabhai ( 1996 (8) SCALE 695 ). The matter again considered by a three member Bench of the Supreme Court in New India Assurance Company Ltd. v. Smt. Sita Bai and others ( JT 1999 (6) SC 616 ). In that case also policy was accepted at 21.00 hours on 16th April 1987. In the policy it is also stated that the time of commencement of the policy was 21.00 hours on 16th April 1987. Accident occurred 10.00 hours on 16th April 1987. The Supreme Court held that Insurance Company was not liable to pay compensation. In view of the Apex Court decisions quoted above, Judgment of this Court reported in 1989 (2) KLT 897 (supra) is not good law. In this case accident occurred at 2 p. m. on 8th October 1990. The insurance policy was taken at 4.15 p. m. on 8th October 1990 as seen from the proposal. In the policy itself it is written that commencement of the policy is only from 4.15 p. m. and therefore, Insurance Company is not liable to pay compensation. The claimant will free to recover the amount from the owner and driver of the vehicle, as they are jointly and severally liable to pay the compensation.;
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