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No FIR, Contradictory statements, Supreme Court confirmed the High Court Judgment rejecting Motor accident claim

January 20, 2018



Motor Accident Claim rejected and appel dismissed due to contradictory claim

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed against Judgment of High Court rejecting Motor accident claim due to non filing of FIR and contradictory statements. The Tribunal had awarded compensation of Rs. 21,38,000/- together with interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum to the appellants.

A Bench of Judges, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A. M. Khanwilkar and Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud have disposed of the appeal filed against the Judgment passed by Punjab and Haryana High Court in Anil & Ors v. New India Assurance Company Ltd. & Ors , Civil Appeal No. 3291-3292 of 2011.

The deceased was a person by the name of Ram Kanwar. His brother Satbir Singh was the owner of a tractor. The case of the claimants which was sought to be established through Bhawani Shankar was that on 12 January 1995 he together with two others namely Rohtas and Ghanshyam were proceeding in a tractor driven by Dharampal from Sehjahpur to village Jat Behrod. Ram Kanwar signalled for the tractor to stop. However, the tractor was driven in a rash and negligent manner, as a result of which, it ran over Ram Kanwar. Besides adverting to the evidence of PW1 and PW2, the alleged eye-witnesses, the Tribunal adverted to the FIR lodged against Ram Kanwar under Sections 279/304-A of the Penal Code. In holding that the accident had occurred and that it was caused due to the negligence of the tractor driver.

In appeal, the High Court has adverted in significant detail to a number of "disturbing facts" which have emerged from the narration of the case by the claimants.

Significantly, no post-mortem was conducted. The High Court also noticed the fact that though the accident took place on 12 January 1995, a complaint was lodged only on 15 February 1995. As regards the evidence of the driver, the High Court noted that while at one stage he had stated that the deceased was brought dead, at another place he stated that he was referred to the government hospital for further treatment. The circumstance that no postmortem was conducted is an extremely significant aspect of the case which in our view has justifiably weighed with the High Court. Moreover, the High Court found that if there were three passengers in the tractor, all of whom had known that driver Dharampal had by his negligent act run over Ram Kanwar, the most natural conduct would have been to lodge a complaint. The person who died was the brother of the owner of the tractor. Hence, the fact that a complaint was not lodged for nearly one month is a significant omission in the case. The High Court has also noticed that there were no hospital records to indicate, from the nature of the injuries, that death had occurred due to an accident of the nature alleged. The deceased was conducting a transport business with his brother and was an income tax assessee. The fact that proper medical records were not available has, in this background, weighed with the High Court. Besides the above aspects, the High Court has found that the assessment of compensation by the Tribunal is perverse.



The court said that "On a careful analysis of the judgment of the High Court and the material on the record, we find no reason to take a view at variance with that of the High Court. The reasoning contained in the award of the Tribunal was perfunctory. The Tribunal failed to notice crucial aspects of the case which have a bearing on the question as to whether the death of Ram Kanwar was caused as a result of the accident caused by the tractor. Each of the circumstances relied upon by the High Court is germane to the ultimate conclusion that a false case was set up to support a claim for compensation. The appellants have not been able to displace the careful analysis of the evidence by the High Court and the findings which have been arrived at."

The court find no merit and accordingly dismissed the appeal.




Read the Judgment of Supreme Court of India in Anil & Ors v. New India Assurance Company Ltd. & Ors dated 19.1.2018



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