The Karnataka High Court in a motor accident case has observed that the onus to prove that a driving license is fake lies upon the insurance company.

The Bench of Justice H.P Sandesh held that in the absence of proving of the document that the license is a fake document there cannot be an interference with the finding of the Tribunal and thus observed –

"The burden lies on the Insurance Company to prove the same except relying upon the endorsement, nothing is placed on record and also the author of the document has not been examined."

In this case, after the motor accident took place the injured – claimant was examined through his father. The Tribunal after considering both oral and documentary evidence placed on record allowed the claim petition in part and fastened the liability on the Insurance Company.

Aggrieved, the Insurance Company approached the High Court.

The Insurance Company contended before the Court that the driver of the vehicle was not having a valid driving license and was fake.

The Court agreed with the Respondent that the author of the document has not been examined in a case of specific contention was urged by the Insurance Company that the document was a fake document and relies upon the document in support of their claim, ought to have proved the same by examining the author of the document.

The Court thus held, "Respondent No.3, who is the owner of the offending vehicle, has produced Ex.R7- Original Driving License. Ex.R7, clearly discloses that on the date of the accident, the driver was holding the valid driving license. But the Insurance Company failed to dis-prove the document – Ex.R7 and also the endorsement Ex.R3. Ex.R3, is in respect of A.S. Nataranjan and not in respect of A.Natarajan."

The Bench observed that the burden lies on the Insurance Company to prove that the license of the driver was fake and unless the same is proved as a fake document, the shifting of the liability on the owner does not arise.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title - The Regional Manager United India Insurance Company Limited v. Master Tharun C. Gowda & Ors.

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