PUNE: A claimant can demand compensation from the owner(s) of both or any one of two vehicles at fault in a road accident, a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) has ruled.
In a case of death of a man, who was travelling in an autorickshaw that collided with a private tourist bus at Wadia College Chowk on Bund Garden Road in July 2012, the insurance company had argued that the claim petition by his two dependants was bad in law as it did not name the owner and insurer of the autorickshaw.
The tribunal, however, observed that even if it was accepted that both vehicles were at fault in the accident, still it was the applicant’s choice to seek compensation from both or any one of the vehicle owners as it was a case of composite negligence. “Such petition can not be termed as bad for not joining necessary parities,” MACT member V P Avhad ruled recently.
The tribunal ordered bus owner Motilal Ganesh Patni and the Reliance General Insurance Company to jointly pay Rs 14.46 lakh compensation to the mother and physically-handicapped unemployed brother of deceased Mahendra Shivram Waghmare (27), Subhash Nagar, Navi Khadki in Yerawada.
Waghmare, who was working as site supervisor with a private company, was travelling in a autorickshaw, which was heading towards Pune Railway Station from Yerawada along the Bund Garden road on July 12, 2012.
As it approached near Wadia College Chowk, the autorickshaw crashed into the left side of the private luxury bus which took a sudden right turn from the square towards hotel Blue Diamnond in Koregaon Park without giving any indication. Mahendra and another passenger, Gautam D Bhujbal, in the autorickshaw were injured. They were taken to the Sassoon hospital and Mahendra was later shifted to a private hospital in Koregaon Park where he died on July 26, 2012.
On October 8, 2012, Waghmare’s mother, Lilabai (55), and brother, Devendra (35), moved the MACT on the grounds that the bus owner and insurers were jointly liable to pay them compensation of Rs 16.50 lakh on various grounds, including the Rs 3.70 lakh expenses they incurred towards hospitalization and medicines for the victim while he was under treatment.
The tribunal proceeded against Patni ex-parte as he failed to appear in the matter. On its part, the insurance company contested the claim petition by arguing that the accident did not occur only due to rash and negligent driving by the bus driver, but the autorickshaw driver too was at fault. Moreover, the bus driver did not posses a valid driving license and hence was in breach of the insurance policy’s terms and conditions.
In its 11-page judgment, the tribunal observed that evidence provided by eyewitness Bhujbal corroborated the spot panchanama report and investigations done by the police. “Since the offending vehicle was owned by opponent no 1 (Patni) and was insured by opponent no 2 (Reliance Geneal Insurance), both are liable to pay compensation jointly and severally,” the tribunal ruled.