The Gauhati High Court held that drivers are not required to have a separate transport endorsement if the vehicle is classified as a ‘light motor vehicle’ under Section 2 (21) of the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA).

The Court exempted a vehicle owner from paying his insurance company the compensation amount that the insurance company had to pay to the road accident victim. The Court noted that the exemption was given to the vehicle owner as the driver had not violated any policy terms because a separate transport endorsement was not required.

Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia observed, “From the Insurance Policy, it is found that the concerned vehicle i.e. 407 TATA Vehicle bearing Registration No.AS-04-AC- 1576 is below 7500 kilograms and therefore, it is a light motor vehicle within the definition of Section 2(21) of the Motor Vehicles Act and therefore, separate “Transport” endorsement is not required for driving such a vehicle… Under the aforesaid circumstances, this Court is of the opinion that the Tribunal has erred while giving liberty to the Insurance Company to proceed further for recovery of the compensation amount from the owner of the vehicle”.

Advocate G. Bokalia appeared for the Cross Objectors, and Advocate M. Choudhury appeared for the Respondents.

An accident involving a TATA vehicle occurred, which unfortunately resulted in the death of one person. The Motor Vehicles Claim Tribunal (Tribunal) held that the vehicle's insurance company must pay a compensation of ₹6,73,000/-. This decision was made because the driver of the vehicle did not have a "Transport" endorsement on his driver's license, violating policy conditions. As a result, the insurance company was granted the option to proceed with recovering the compensation amount from the vehicle's owner.

The Court noted that per the Insurance Policy, the vehicle in question weighs less than 7500 kilograms. Therefore, the vehicle is a ‘light motor vehicle’ as defined in Section 2(21) of the MVA. As such, the Court noted that a separate "Transport" endorsement is not required to operate the vehicle. Therefore, the Court held that the Tribunal made an error by allowing the Insurance Company to pursue the vehicle owner for compensation. The Court held that the Insurance Company has no right to pursue the vehicle owner for compensation.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the Cross-Objection and disposed of the case.

Cause Title: Sri Horen Rajkonwar and Anr v United India Insurance Co. Ltd and Anr

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