The Bombay High Court recently observed that the bursting of tyre cannot be termed as an act of God and that it is an act of human negligence.

The Court made this observation while dealing with a motor accident claims case wherein the insurance company had contended that the tyre burst of the offending vehicle leading to the accident was an act of God hence it wasn’t liable to pay compensation.

“…mere stating that burst of tyre is "act of god" cannot be a ground to exonerate the appellant/insurance company from paying compensation.”, the bench of Justice SG. Dige observed.

The Court noted that the Dictionary meaning of "act of god" is "an instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation". It refers to a severe, unanticipated natural event for which no human is responsible.

“In my view, The bursting of tyre cannot be termed as an act of God. It is an act of human negligence.”, the Court said.

It further added that “The driver or owner of the vehicle has to check the condition of tyre before travelling, burst of tyre cannot be termed as natural Act, it is human negligence.”

Thus the Court refused to accept the contention of the counsel for the appellant that there was no negligence of the driver of the car in the accident.

Advocate D. R. Mahadik appeared for the Insurance Company whereas Advocate Rohan Mahadik appeared for Respondents.

The counsel for the appellant had also submitted that the salary of deceased is considered on higher side and that the consortium amount and amount under other heads is awarded on higher side. Thus it was stated that the tribunal awarded exorbitant and excessive compensation.

The Court noted that “It is settled law that while calculating the salary of deceased, income tax, professional tax has to be deducted and rest of the salary can be considered as salary of deceased. Hence, I do not find merit in the contention of learned counsel for the appellant that salary of deceased is considered on higher side.”

The Court noted that the tribunal awarded Rs.1,00,000 to applicant no.1 for loss of consortium and Rs. 25,000 for funeral expenses, Rs. 1,00,000 towards loss of love and affection, so the total comes to Rs.2,25,000.

The Court held that the claimants are entitled for Rs. 12,40,096 at the rate of interest 7.5% per annum from the date of filing application till realization. The Court permitted the appellants to withdraw the Rs. 35,000/- along with accrued interest thereon.

Cause Title- The New India Assurance Co. Ltd v. Mrunal Makarand Patwardhan & Ors.

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