Delhi HC: Owner and Insurance Company Not Liable for Stolen Vehicle in Accident, Orders Further Inquiry

LI Network

Published on: January 10, 2024 at 13:00 IST

The Delhi High Court has ordered that neither the vehicle owner nor the Insurance Company bears liability to pay compensation if the offending vehicle was stolen at the time of the accident, as observed by Justice Navin Chawla.

In this instance, appeals contested awards from the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal following a fatal accident. These petitions aimed for compensation for deaths stemming from the same incident. IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Limited, the car owner, and Sumit, alleged as the driver, filed separate appeals. The accident, occurring in 2014 due to Sumit’s reckless driving, led to fatalities, and the Tribunal held Sumit responsible, granting compensations due to his lack of a valid driving license.

The Insurance Company’s counsel argued that both claim petitions originated from the same accident, questioning Sumit’s negligent driving and advocating for consolidation of petitions. They highlighted inconsistencies in claimants’ evidence and contested the validity of the Offending Vehicle’s occupants and fake number plate, challenging the right to compensation. The owner’s counsel supported these arguments, critiquing adverse implications.

The High Court stressed the Motor Vehicles Tribunal’s powers under Section 169 of the Motor Vehicles Act, empowering it to seek assistance in inquiries, summon witnesses, and obtain documents and objects.

However, the High Court noted the Tribunal’s failure to seek out the truth regarding the Offending Vehicle’s fake number plate and the absence of efforts to inquire with police officials regarding their investigation into this matter.

It criticized the Tribunal’s reliance on conjectures, observing that it proceeded erroneously assuming a filed charge-sheet, which was factually inaccurate at the time of the Impugned Award.

Consequently, the High Court set aside the impugned awards, remanding the Claim Petitions to the Tribunal for further inquiry.

Related Post