2009 ALL SCR 1250
A.K. GANGULY AND A. PASAYAT, JJ.
National Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Sebastian K. Jacob
Civil Appeal No.1748 of 2009,S.L.P. (C) No.12621 of 2007
20th March, 2009
Motor Vehicles Act (1988), S.166 - Claim petition - Whether claim for same cause could be maintained against another insurer - Earlier settlement of claim against one insurer and payment not disputed - Second claim with another insurer cannot be maintained but difference of damages can be claimed - Matter remitted for fresh consideration. (Paras 3-5)
2. The controversy lies within a very narrow compass. The appellant had filed appeal before the Kerala High Court questioning the correctness of a judgment rendered by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Thalassery. The award was passed in favour of the respondent allowing him to realize a sum of Rs.24,033/- with interest with proportionate cost from the driver, owner and present appellant jointly and severally payable by the present appellant. According to the appellant, the insurer is not liable to make the payment since the claimant is already compensated by another Insurance Company by paying Rs.21,700/- for the same cause of action consequent to the same accident. Therefore, it was submitted that the respondent was not entitled to double payment of compensation. The High Court did not accept the plea and upheld the award of M.A.C.T..
3. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that in respect of the very same claim, the matter was settled by another Insurance Company. It was accepted by the claimant that he had settled his claim with the insurer of the jeep. But according to him that is of no consequence and did not debar him from making a claim under the statutory liability against the tort-feasor. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that there cannot be double benefit in respect of the same accident. The claimant had accepted that he had settled the matter and received the money in respect of the jeep in question. There was no scope for granting a further relief.
5. It conceded that if there is difference of amount the appellant has to pay the same, but that is not the case in the present scenario. The claimant claims the whole amount. The earlier payment is not disputed. In fact, the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. has clearly accepted that the vehicle collided with the stage carriage on 13.7.1995 and the damage claim was settled for Rs.21,700/- on 6.12.1995. The High Court does not appear to have considered this aspect in the proper perspective. Therefore, we set aside the impugned order of the High court and remit the matter to it for fresh consideration.