Rampal Singh v. Rias Ahmad Ansari & Anr.

CITATION1990 (Supp) SCC 726
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMJustice M.N. Venkatachaliah and Justice N.M. Kasliwal
DATE OF JUDGEMENT30.07.1990

Introduction

The Motor Vehicles Act makes third-party insurance compulsory. The reason for the same is that the insurance covers the insured person of any legal liability that may be imposed on him during an accident involving the insured motor vehicle. In the present case, owner of an insured vehicle tried proving his insurance so that he could pay the compensation as ordered by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.

Facts

The following are the facts of the case: Rias Ahmad Ansari instituted a Motor Accident Claim before the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal in Kanpur in 1986. The claim was for compensation of his personal injuries suffered by him in a 1985 accident involving Rampal Singh’s truck. Rampal Singh also claimed indemnity from New India Assurance Company, his insurer.

Rampal Singh, owner of motor vehicle appealed against order of the Tribunal and then that of High Court of Allahabad by way of a Special Leave Petition. The two learned judges of the Apex Court held that the insurance company was liable to pay the insured person, money in the form of compensation to the victim, on behalf of the insured-appellant.

Issues

The main issue in the case was: Whether or not New India Assurance Company is liable to indemnify the appellant and satisfy the award.

Summary of court decisions and judgement

The Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal at Kanpur awarded a sum of Rs. 30,000 to Rias Ahmad, to be paid by Rampal Singh. But the Tribunal declined to make award for claim of Rampal due to lack of documentary evidence. On an appeal by Rampal Singh, the Allahabad High Court affirmed the award by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal on the same ground of lack of evidence. The appellant then reached the Supreme Court by way of a Special Leave Petition wherein on producing required evidence, the Court ordered his Insurance Company to pay the money.

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Analysis

In this case, the erstwhile Motor Vehicles Act of 1939 was applicable as the incident happened in the year 1985. Sections 95 and 103 of the old Act imposed liability on insurer to pay the insurance money to the insured. When in the Supreme Court, the appellant produced the additional evidence of his insurance policy and other related material upon which the insurer accepted its liability to indemnify. The Supreme Court held that the liability of the insurer is co-extensive with that of the appellant under the award of the Tribunal.

The Old Act has now been replaced with Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Section 96 of the old Act corresponds to Section 149 of the New Act, which provides that it is the duty of insurers to satisfy judgements and awards against persons insured in respect of third party risks.

Conclusion

Recently the problem of fraud claims before the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal has arisen. Insurance companies have time and again been in cases where people have fabricated claims so as to get money. Such problems need to be tackled, to ensure the effectiveness of the legislation.

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