The Karnataka High Court held that in proceedings under Section 163-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MV Act), the insurer cannot raise any defence of negligence on the part of the victim to counter a claim for compensation.

The Dharwad Bench of the Court held thus in a miscellaneous first appeal filed by the claimants challenging the contributory negligence to an extent of 40% saddled on the deceased as well as seeking enhancement of compensation.

A Single Bench of Justice Vijaykumar Patil observed, “On perusal of the provision of law and also decisions of the Hon’ble Apex Court referred supra, it is crystal clear that in a proceedings under Section 163-A of the MV Act, the insurer cannot raise any defence of negligence on the part of the victim to counter a claim for compensation. Hence, this Court is of the considered view that the Tribunal has committed an error in fastening the liability on the deceased to an extent of 40%. Keeping in mind the law laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the judgment referred supra and also provision of law, this Court is of the considered view that the entire liability is to be saddled on the insurance company to pay compensation to the claimants.”

Advocate Vinayak Bhat appeared for the appellants while Advocate S.K. Kayakmath appeared for the respondents.

In this case, in the year 2012, a rider of motorcycle was proceeding near a colony on a road and a truck was parked in a dangerous manner without indication of signal. At that time, it was raining and the deceased could not see the truck which was negligently parked without any signal and he dashed to the truck from its behind. As result, he fell down and sustained severe injuries to his head, legs, hands, and other parts of the body.

Despite the best efforts of the doctor, the deceased succumbed to the injuries. He was aged about 57 years and was working as a Music teacher having income of Rs. 3,300/- per month. Before the Tribunal, the Insurance Company contested the proceedings and sought for dismissal of the claim petition. The Tribunal allowed the claim petition in part by awarding total compensation of Rs. 1,47,600/- with 6% interest per annum. Being aggrieved, the claimants and insurance company approached the High Court.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “Insofar as quantum of compensation, the Tribunal has assessed income of the deceased at Rs.3,000/- per month. As per Second Schedule appended to the MV Act, maximum income of deceased is fixed at Rs.40,000/- per annum. Hence, taking note of the same, this Court assesses the income of the deceased at Rs.40,000/- per annum. There is no dispute with regard to age of the deceased as 57 year and multiplier of 9.”

The Court held that the claimants are entitled to total compensation of Rs. 2,49,500/- as against Rs. 2,46,000/- awarded by the Tribunal. It further said that the claimants would not be entitled for the interest on the enhanced compensation for the delayed period.

Accordingly, the High Court partly allowed the appeal and enhanced the compensation.

Cause Title- Renuka Mahabaleshwar Bhat & Anr. v. Azeez Rahman & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2024:KHC-D:4796)


Appellants: Advocates Vinayak Bhat and S.V. Yaji.

Respondents: Advocate S.K. Kayakmath

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