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Kerala HC: Twin conditions must be satisfied while claiming Compensation under MV Act

2 min read

Shashwati Chowdhury

Published on: June 16, 2022 at 16:32 IST

The Kerala High Court has held that in order to file a claim under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, the Petitioners must prove not only that the driver or rider was negligent, but also that the person alleged to have sustained injuries in a motor accident died as a result of the accidental injuries.

Justice A. Badharudeen said, it is the Petitioner’s duty to adduce evidence to substantiate the allegations brought by them because the grant of compensation is based on the ‘fault’ liability principle.

A woman allegedly met with an accident and died as a result of her injuries while riding on a motorcycle driven by her brother. Her husband and two sons filed an application with the Tribunal under Section 166, saying that the accident was caused by the brother’s negligence, and claimed compensation from the motorcycle’s owner, driver, and insurer (Appellant herein).

The Appellant denied the accident and the negligence attributed to the deceased’s brother, pointing out that no case was registered until three months later, based on a private complaint lodged by the husband before the Magistrate. It was argued that the deceased died of natural causes, emphasising on the fact that no post-mortem certificate or inquest was conducted.

However, after examining the deceased’s husband and the doctor who treated her, the Tribunal found the driver negligent and granted compensation to the petitioners.

The Appellant filed an appeal with the High Court, Advocate George Cherian argued that the Tribunal went wrong in concluding that the deceased died as a result of the injuries she incurred in the alleged accident and that no evidence was presented to prove negligence on the side of the driver.

Advocates A.T Anilkumar and V. Shylaja said (Respondent’s side), the wound certificate shows that she suffered injuries as a result of an RTA.

It was found instead of examining witnesses to the occurrence, the deceased’s husband was examined, which was hearsay. No autopsy examination or inquest was done to satisfy that the death was due to the accidental injuries.

It was held that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the deceased died as a result of injuries sustained in a motor accident. The Tribunal’s impugned award was set aside and the Appeal was granted accordingly.