The Kerala High Court observed that since there is a statutory exemption under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MV Act) from obtaining permit for vehicles of less than 3000 kilograms, the absence of such permit cannot be treated as a violation of the policy documents.

The Court observed thus in a batch of appeals filed by claimants seeking compensation for the death of a person due to injuries sustained in a motor accident that occurred in 2010.

A Single Bench of Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. held, “As rightly pointed out by the learned counsel for the 1st respondent, by virtue of Section 66(3)(i) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, there is a specific exclusion for the goods vehicle with gross vehicle weight less than 3000 Kilograms from obtaining permit. Since there is a statutory exemption provided from obtaining permit for such kind of vehicles, the absence of such permit cannot be treated as a violation of the policy conditions, as the obligation of the insured while plying the vehicle is to ensure the compliance of the statutory stipulations contained in Motor Vehicles Act. Since the lack of a permit will not attract any violation of statutory provisions by virtue of the above, the finding of the Tribunal that the 1st respondent violated the terms and conditions of the policy would not be sustainable.”

Advocate C.M. Mohammed Iquabal appeared for the appellants while Advocate Dhanya P. Ashokan appeared for the respondents.

Brief Facts -

The appellants were the parents of the deceased, whereas the other appellants were his siblings. According to the appellants/claimants, the accident occurred when the motor cycle ridden by the deceased was hit by goods Auto Rickshaw. As a result of the same, he sustained serious injuries and he was taken to the Hospital and while undergoing treatment, he passed away. The deceased was aged 21 years at the time of the accident and he was employed as a Sales Executive with a monthly income of Rs. 6000/-. The claim petition was submitted in such circumstances for seeking compensation.

The Insurance Company in the claim petition, the insurer of the said good auto rickshaw, filed a written statement admitting valid insurance coverage for the said vehicle. However, it was contented that the said goods auto rickshaw did not have a valid permit to ply through the public road, and hence a contention of violation of policy conditions was raised. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal came to the conclusion that the accident occurred due to the negligence by the driver and being the insurer, the Insurance Company was held liable to pay the compensation which was fixed as Rs. 2,96,300/-.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “… the additional compensation under the head of loss of consortium would come to Rs.75,000/- Accordingly, the total additional compensation is determined as Rs.7,43,000/-(643000+10000+15000+75000).”

The Court, therefore, reassessed the quantum of compensation as Rs. 7,43,000/- and directed the insurance company to deposit the same within three months.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeals and set aside the award of the Tribunal.

Cause Title- Mammutty & Ors. v. Prabhakaran & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024:KER:24417)


Appellants: Advocate C.M. Mohammed Iquabal

Respondents: Advocates Dhanya P. Ashokan, S. Muhammad Ali Khan, A.R. George, M.R. Venugopal, and P Jacob Mathew.

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