The Calcutta High Court held that rash and negligent driving is the sine qua non of a case under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act).

The claimants had preferred an application before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Tribunal) under Section 166 of the MV Act for getting compensation from the Insurance Company on the ground that their unmarried son died in a road traffic accident due to rash and negligent driving of the driver of the offending vehicle duly insured under the policy of the Insurance company.

A Single Bench of Justice Subhendu Samanta observed, “It is quite unreasonable to hold that the victim was so negligent in driving that he lost his life. On the other hand there are no substantial loss on the part of the offending appears to me that both the vehicles are jointly responsible in the said accident. Considering the offending vehicle of this case and the insurer thereof is liable to pay 50% of the compensation.

Advocate Subir Benerjee represented the petitioners, while Advocate Parimal Kumr Pahari appeared for the respondents.

The Tribunal had dismissed the insurance claim based on a police investigation report which showed that the victim was responsible for the accident as he was riding the motor cycle in a rash and negligent manner.

The Court remarked, “Considering the totality of the incident and also the observation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as Division Bench of this Court it is true that to prove a case under Section 166 of the M.V. Act, required proof to be preponderance of probabilities.

The Court held that both the vehicles were jointly responsible for the accident and stated that the Tribunal “failed to appreciate the entire facts and circumstances and came to erroneous finding” and dismissed the claim case by virtue of the final report submitted by the police after re-investigation.

The Court set aside the impugned award passed by the Tribunal.

The Court directed the Insurance company to pay compensation to the claimants with an interest of 6% per annum.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the application.

Cause Title: Monoranjan Shil & Anr. v. The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. & Anr.


Petitioners: Advocates Subir Benerjee, Sandip Bandyopadhyay and Ruxmini Basu Roy

Respondents: Advocate Parimal Kumr Pahari

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