Mohammed Siddique Vs National Insurance Company Ltd
Supreme Court of India
Case No. - 79/2020
Appellant’s 23-year-old son died on 7th September 2008 as result of certain injuries, that emerged two days after the accident took place, the victim was a motorcycle rider who was thrown out of his vehicle when the car hit the motorcycle from behind. Thus, the motor accident claim tribunal held that the accident was caused to the rash and negligent act of the person who was driving the car.
The tribunal awarded appellant compensation of RS. 11,66,800/-
Therefore, upon being aggrieved by the order passed by the tribunal, the insurance company filed a complaint in the high court under section 173 of the motor vehicles act 1988. The high court made a remark that the victim was also guilty of contributory negligence equally as the other three people in the motor vehicle were responsible when the accident took place. Therefore, a judgement was given by the high court of reducing the compensation to 10% that awarded before by motor tribunal. The high court also revised and restructured the compensation amount to RS.4,60,000/- after reducing the 10% due to contributory negligence and the last compensation that was given RS. 4,14,000/-.
Therefore, the high court interfered with the decision that was given by the tribunal taking into consideration three important points they are-
- Contributory negligence
- The monthly income of the deceased in this case
- The multiplier that has been applied in this case.
It was seen by the material record and other facts of the case the accident had occurred at around 2:00 PM, and it was concluded that there was no possibility of heavy road traffic during that hour. The facts that were found by the tribunal was confirmed by the high court, and it was clear that while the deceased was travelling, and he was hit by a car from behind. Hence, this was seen as a clear case of rash and negligent driving on the part of the car driver. However, the court further added that it also holds the other three persons responsible and that they could have added to the imbalance that was caused at the time when the accident took place. Thus, upon scrutiny and assessing the evidence the high court had found substantial matter in the petition which was taken up by the national insurance company in the above matter while taking into consideration the points and other facts that were laid down by the respondent as well.
Being unhappy with the decision and the compensation that was given by the high court, the appellant approached the Supreme Court for further appeal.
The supreme court noted that high court had reversed the judgement that was given by the motor claim tribunal with regards to the monthly salary and employment relating to the insurance company and on the ground of substantial evidence. The Supreme Court also pointed out that the tribunal recorded all the facts and existed, and excluded the statement of the employers of the insurance company. The Apex court also observed that the high court had applied the rules taking into consideration the case of UPSRTC Vs Trilok Chandra, which had approved the decision of the manager.
Another issue was about as to how the order and findings of the tribunal were reversed by the high court and turned the direction of the case to the employment and the monthly income of the deceased, which he earned. And as of this, the employer did not produce any records or other statements that were required to assess the salary and income of the deceased. A reference was made to that amount, and accordingly, the court has fixed the income of the deceased at the time of the accident took place.
Does a violation of the law under the motor vehicles act Ipso Facto lead to the conclusion of contributory negligence by the petitioner?
The Supreme Court has stated that even if the deceased victim was riding along with other riders, it may not give a add towards contributory negligence under this case.
It was also held that the multiplier should be used with reference to the age of the deceased. Under this case, a dispute can always be raised with respect to the age, as a cause of that has to be taken into consideration, a reference was taken by the three bench judge in Munna Lal Jain case, where the bench observed that the multiplier must depend on the exact age of the defendants in a particular case.
In the light of the above observation, it was clearly seen the high court had left no room for revisiting the confusion that was caused by the court in the conflict between Trilok Chandra on the one hand on the other this later decision laid down by the court.
In this case, it might be true that due to this accident, it may leave a 90-year-old mother dependent. Therefore, binding this court amid the nature of this case.
The court also held that if where any other evidence had not been shown to prove that the wrongful act of the deceased victim contributed either to the accident or to the nature of injuries that were sustained. Therefore, the victim could not be held guilty of contributory negligence. The reduction that was given in terms of compensation completely stands unjustified, and the court has decided to set the decision of the high court aside.
Thus, the Supreme Court has stated that the High court has committed a grave error in laying down this decision.
While holding the victim guilty of contributory negligence, rejecting the evidence that was laid down about the employment and the monthly income of the deceased, and thus, applying the multiplier of 14 instead of 18. Thus, this appeal was allowed, and the impugned order of the high court was completely set aside by the apex court. Therefore, the court reinstated the judgment that was given by the tribunal and stated that there shall be no order as to any costs.