NATIONAL INSURANCE CO LTD Vs. MALATHI C SALIAN
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. LTD.
MALATHI C. SALIAN
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(1.) The question that has come up for consideration before us is whether a claim under S.163A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (in short the Act) for compensation for death or permanent disablement be met by the Insurance Company on establishing that the death or permanent disablement was caused due to any wrongful act, neglect or default of the person in respect of whose death or permanent disablement claim has been made.
(2.) These cases have been placed before us on a reference made by a Division Bench of this Court after having felt that an authoritative pronouncement on the scope and ambit of S.163A is necessary. In all these cases applications were made by the legal heirs of the deceased claiming compensation under S.163A of the Act. Tribunal awarded compensation relying upon the structured formula prescribed in Schedule II. Contention raised by the Insurance Company that S.163A of the Act did not create any new right or liability and the claim could be defeated by the Insurance Company by adducing evidence was rejected by the Tribunal holding that the liability is absolute. Tribunal also found that the Insurance Company had not adduced any evidence to prove that there was negligence on the part of the deceased. All these appeals could have been disposed on the ground that no evidence was adduced by the Insurance Companies with regard to negligence of the deceased, but counsel appearing for the Insurance Company prayed for an authoritative pronouncement on the scope and ambit of S.163A of the Act since such questions are likely to arise for consideration in large number of cases.
(3.) In order to examine the scope and ambit of the provision, it is necessary to refer to the related provisions which enable the Claims Tribunal to consider the application for compensation in cases of death or disablement which comes under S.140 read with S.166 and also under under S.163A of the Motor Vehicles Act. Reference may also be made to cases which fall under hit and run category under S.161 of the Act.;
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