2006(5) ALL MR (JOURNAL) 48
(ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT)
L. NARASIMHA REDDY, J.
Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., Anantapur Vs. P. Balagangadhara Rao & Anr.
M.A. C.M.A. No.463 of 2006
3rd March, 2006
Petitioner Counsel: R. BRIZMOHAN SINGH
Motor Vehicles Act (1988), S.140 - Motor accident - No fault liability - Claim for Rs.25,000/- by victim sustaining grievous injuries towards no fault liability - Owner of vehicle ex parte - Insurer alone contested - Award of Rs.25,000/- by Tribunal - Appeal by Insurance Company - Held, Tribunal passed impugned order after considering all aspects of case - When claimant is not required to prove any negligence on part of owner of vehicle and owner of vehicle chose to remain ex parte, order of tribunal cannot be interfered at instance of insurer - CMA dismissed.
Apart from enabling the victims of motor vehicles accidents or their dependants, to make claims and recover damages by invoking the procedure under Chapter XII of the Act, the Parliament had provided for payment of liability without fault in Chapter X of the Act. Section 140 of the Act provides for payment of a sum of Rs.50,000/- in case of death and a sum of Rs.25,000/- in case of permanent disablement, without the requirement of proving the negligence or guilt of the owners of the vehicles involved in the accident. [Para 3]
JUDGMENT :- The 1st respondent filed O.P. No.493 of 2004 before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal-cum-Additional District Judge Court, Anantapur, claiming compensation against the appellant and the 2nd respondent. It was alleged that on 6-1-2004, the 1st respondent boarded the van bearing No.AP-22-T-8838 at Kurnool, along with sheep, with an intention to go to Banglore Market. It was alleged that when the van reached Rapthadu Village, it was being driven in a high speed and on losing the control, it dashed against a stationed lorry and thereby, he sustained grievous injuries. In that O.P., he filed I.A. No.708 of 2005 under Section 140 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (for short 'the Act'), claiming a sum of Rs.25,000/- towards no fault liability. The application was resisted by the appellant alone, and the owner of the vehicle, the 2nd respondent herein, remained ex parte. On a consideration of the matter, the Tribunal allowed the I.A. on 3-11-2005 and awarded a sum of Rs.25,000/-. The same is challenged in this C.M.A.
2. Sri. R. Brizmohan Singh, the learned Counsel for the appellant submits that mere filing of an application under Section 140 of the Act was not sufficient and it was obligatory on the part of the 1st respondent to prove the fact that he incurred permanent disablement. He contends that the evidence on record was inconsistent and the Tribunal was not justified in passing the order under appeal.
3. Apart from enabling the victims of motor vehicles accidents or their dependants, to make claims and recover damages by invoking the procedure under Chapter XII of the Act, the Parliament had provided for payment of liability without fault in Chapter X of the Act. Section 140 of the Act provides for payment of a sum of Rs.50,000/- in case of death and a sum of Rs.25,000/- in case of permanent disablement, without the requirement of proving the negligence or guilt of the owners of the vehicles involved in the accident. It is apt to extract sub-section (3) thereof to appreciate the purport of the enquiry to be undertaken while considering the no fault liabilities. It reads as under:
"140(3) In any claim for compensation under sub-section (1), the claimant shall not be required to plead and establish that the death or permanent disablement in respect of which the claim has been made was due to any wrongful act, neglect or default of the owner or owners of the vehicle or vehicles concerned or of any other person."
From this, it is evident that once the claim is presented before the Tribunal and it is satisfied that the accident resulted in death or permanent disability, to an individual, awarding a sum indicated in sub-section (2) of Section 140 of the Act is almost a matter of course. In the instant case, the Tribunal has undertaken extensive discussion with reference to the contentions of the parties and the documentary evidence viz., Exs.A1 to A4 and B.1 and B.2 in the matter of arriving at conclusion. When the Act itself mandates that the claimant is not under obligation to prove any negligence on the part of the owner of the vehicle, and when the owner of the vehicle himself did not choose to contest the matter, the order passed by the Tribunal cannot be interfered with at the instance of the insurer.