Madras high court upholds award of Rs 7.96 lakh as damages in mishap case
Chennai: The Madras high court has upheld an order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, awarding Rs 7.96 lakh as compensation to three persons, relatives of a deceased Ananthan alias Murugananthan, who died in a road accident place at Dharapuram on August 30, 2010.
Justice V.M.Velumani confirmed the award while dismissing the appeal filed by Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co.Ltd, challenging the award dated March 5, 2015.
Originally, Palanichamy, Chinthamani and Sathishkumar filed a claim petition, claiming Rs 10 lakh as compensation for the death of Ananthan. The Tribunal held that the accident occurred only due to rash and negligent driving by the driver of the lorry belonging to Subramani and directed the Insurance company to pay `7.96 lakh as compensation to the three. Aggrieved, the Insurance company filed the present appeal questioning the liability fastened on it.
Counsel appearing for the Insurance company submitted that the Tribunal ought to have exonerated the company as the deceased traveled in the goods vehicle as unauthorized passenger. The tribunal erred in holding that the deceased travelled in the lorry as load man to unload the red sand, whereas the claimants have stated in their petition that the deceased was an agriculturist cum driver of JCB. The tribunal also erred in not accepting the evidence of an official from the Insurance company that the deceased was an unauthorized passenger and there was no coverage for the unauthorized passenger in the policy, he added.
Counsel appearing for claimants submitted that the deceased loaded the red sand in the lorry using the JCB and travelled in the lorry to unload the red sand. The deceased was not an unauthorized passenger but traveled as a load man, he added.
The judge said from the materials available on record, it was seen that the claimants contended that the deceased was an agriculturist and owner cum driver of JCB. They further contended that on the date of accident, the deceased loaded red sand by using JCB and travelled in the lorry to unload the red sand at the place of owner of Bricklin. The Insurance Company contended that the deceased travelled in the lorry as unauthorized passenger but it has not disputed that the deceased loaded red sand by using JCB and after loading the red sand he was travelling in the lorry.
The Tribunal considering the above materials held that the deceased travelled in the lorry to unload the red sand which was loaded by the deceased through his JCB and rejected the contention of the Insurance Company that the deceased travelled in the lorry as unauthorized passenger and directed the company, being the insurer of the lorry, to pay a sum of `7.96 lakh as compensation to the claimants. There was no error in the finding of the Tribunal, warranting interference by this court, the judge added.