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In 1996 auto accident case, Allahabad HC directs insurance company to pay solatium with 9% interest

The claim against the Oriental Insurance Company was rejected by the Tribunal, stating that the deceased was the owner of the vehicle and was driving herself in the accident in February 1996. Therefore, the family is not entitled to claim.

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The Allahabad High Court on Thursday directed the Oriental Insurance Company to pay Rs 1,62,840 to Tara Devi and others of Ghazipur District of a motor accident insurance claim along with 9% interest.

The claim against the Oriental Insurance Company was rejected by the Tribunal, stating that the deceased was the owner of the vehicle and was driving herself in the accident in February 1996.  Therefore, the family is not entitled to claim.

This order has been given by Justice Vivek Agarwal on the appeal of Tara Devi and others. The appeal has been filed by the claimants being aggrieved of award dated September 1, 2003 passed by Second Additional District Judge, Ghazipur.

The appellants’ contention is that claim petition has been rejected on the ground that deceased was the owner-driver of the offending vehicle.

Counsel for the respondents Arun Kumar Shukla, submitted that as per his instruction from the Insurance Company, the offending vehicle bearing registration No. UP 65 E 0564 too transferred infavour of Uma Devi on February 22, 1996, therefore, the deceased was not the owner of the vehicle.

On the request of both the Counsel in place of remanding the matter to the Tribunal at this distance of time when almost 25 years time has lapsed when the accident took place, it will be appropriate to compute compensation and decide the appeal on its own merits.

The Tribunal has passed the award treating the deceased to be the owner-driver of the vehicle and has held that owner is not liable to pay compensation when he himself is driving the vehicle in asmuch as Insurance Company indemnifies the owner for the negligence of the driver employed by the owner.

However, in terms of admission made by Advocate Shukla, it is evident that vehicle was not owned by the deceased, therefore, Insurance Company will be liable to pay compensation to owner in case any liability is fastened on the owner to compensate for the injury caused to the claimant on account of negligence of the driver of the vehicle , the Court held.

The Court, while disposing the appeal, ordered, “Deceased is survived by three legal heirs. Therefore, 1/3rd is to be deducted towards living expenses of the deceased leaving annual dependency to the to tune of Rs 7040/- per annum. There has to be addition of 40% towards future prospects taking annual dependency to Rs. 9856/- on which multiplier of 15 will be applicable taking total pecuniary compensation to Rs.1,47,840/. Over and above, claimants will be entitled to a sum of Rs. 15,000/- payable under the head of non-pecuniary compensation taking total compensation to Rs.1,62,840/- which will earn interest at the rate of 9% from the date of filing of the claim petition till the date of actual payment.”

Read Also: Madhya Pradesh High Court stays increase in power tariff in state

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