The Delhi High Court has observed that not taking due care while overtaking, either stationary or moving vehicle would also amount to rash and negligent driving.

The bench of Justice Gaurang Kanth made this observation while dealing with an appeal against the amount of compensation granted by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal in a motor accident claims case. The claimants were awarded an amount of Rs.17,49,491 as compensation by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal with interest. Further a deduction of 20% was also made towards contributory negligence in the awarded amount.

It was the case of the Appellants that the deceased was driving a motorcycle which collided with a DTC bus. It is the case of the Appellants that the bus was parked in the middle of the road without any signal or light indicator. On the contrary, counsel for the Insurance Company argued that the accident of the deceased was caused due to the negligence of the deceased as he himself hit the stationary bus from back.

Advocate S.N. Parashar appeared for the claimants whereas Advocate Ravi Sabharwal appeared for the Insurance Company.

The Court observed that from the evidence of the eye witness, the accident occurred due to the irresponsible and negligent parking of the offending vehicle however, that the accident could have been avoided if the deceased could have driven his motorcycle with all due care while crossing the stationary bus.

“This Court is also of the opinion that rash and negligent driving does not in every case necessarily mean the excessive speed. Not taking due care while driving the vehicle and in particular overtaking, either stationary or moving vehicle also would amount to rash and negligent driving. Hence, this Court is in complete agreement with the learned Claims Tribunal and the deceased is guilty of contributory negligence to the extent of 20%.”, the Court held.

While considering the annual income of the deceased and other factors, the Court enhanced the compensation to Rs. 42,16,747.88 However, 20% of the total awarded compensation was directed to be deducted as this was a case of contributory negligence.

“…the compensation, after the deduction of contributory negligence would be Rs.33,73,398.31/- (Rs. 42,16,747.88/- - 20% of Rs.42,16,747.88/-). Further, it is also made clear that the rate of interest as fixed by the learned Claims Tribunal, i.e. 7.5 % is also maintained.”, the Court held.

Cause Title- Sushila Devi & Ors v. Sandeep Kumar (United India Insurance Co. Ltd. (Neutral Citation No: 2023:DHC:2250)

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