Insurance Claim Not Permissible if Accident Caused by One's Own 'Rash Driving', Says Supreme Court
The top court, however, said the deceased person was entitled to the compensation available under the insurance policy's "personal accident" cover.
The Supreme Court of India. (News18 Creative)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that one cannot make an insurance claim for a road accident if it was caused on account of one’s own “rash and negligent driving”.
The bench of Justices NV Ramana and S Abdul Nazeer, however, said the deceased person was entitled to the compensation available under the insurance policy's "personal accident" cover.
“A claimant, in our view, cannot maintain a claim if he/she has caused the accident on account of his/her own rash and negligent driving, and make the insurance company pay for the same,” a bench said.
The judgement came as the top court set aside a ruling of the Tripura High Court directing the National Insurance Company to pay Rs 10.57 lakh to the family members of Dilip Bhowmik, who died in an accident on May 20, 2012.
The insurance company challenged the order before the apex court, arguing that the man died due to his own negligence. He was not a third party within the meaning of the Motor Vehicles Act.
“The accident had occurred due to the negligence of the deceased. Therefore, the appellant, being the insurer of the vehicle, was not liable to pay compensation,” the company said.
Earlier, the Tripura High Court had accepted the plea by the insurance company, but still directed it to pay the money. However, the High Court also made it clear that the present case should not be treated as a precedent.
After going through the facts of the case, the top court noted that the deceased was the victim of his own action of rash and negligent driving. As a result, his family members could not have maintained the claim petition filed under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
The bench upheld the appeal filed by the company. It said the "high court was not justified in directing the appellant/insurer to pay the compensation determined by the tribunal", but told the insurer to pay Bhowmik's family Rs 2 lakh as personal accident cover plus interest.
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