The Delhi High Court has rejected the presumption of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal that a person who is competent to drive a Light Motor Vehicle could not be expected to be incompetent to drive a two-wheeler.

In this case, the Tribunal had refused to grant recovery rights to the appellant-insurance company against the driver/owner of the offending vehicle, which was insured with the appellant.

The Tribunal had held that a male person who is competent to drive a light motor vehicle (commercial) cannot be expected to be incompetent in driving a two-wheeler.

The High Court observed that this presumption of the Tribunal was without any basis.

“This Court fails to appreciate as to how a person who can drive a four wheeler can be automatically presumed to be competent to drive a two wheeler as well. On the other hand, the skills required for driving a two wheeler are quite different from those required for driving a four wheeler. Driving a two wheeler would require balancing of the vehicle would not at all be relevant for driving a commercial vehicle which is much larger in size.”, Justice Rekha Palli noted.

Advocate Pankaj Gupta appeared for the appellant.

The Court observed that merely because the driver/owner of the vehicle held a valid licence for a Light Motor Vehicle could not imply that he was authorised or competent to drive a two-wheeler.

The Court noted that in this case the offending vehicle, a motorcycle was being driven by a person who did not have a driving licence and therefore there was a breach of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

The Court held that the finding of the Tribunal that the appellant was liable to pay the compensation is unsustainable.

Thus the Court held that “The appeal is, accordingly, allowed by modifying the impugned award to the extent it does not grant any recovery rights in favour of the appellant by directing that the appellant would be entitled to recover the awarded amount from respondent no. 2 in accordance with law.”

Cause Title- HDFC Ergo General Insurance Co. Ltd v. Bindu Paswan & Anr. (Neutral Citation No. 2023/DHC/000993)

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