A Bench of Justice S.G. Dige of the Bombay High Court while dealing with an appeal filed by an insurance company against the order of a Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) has held that remarriage after the death of the husband cannot be taboo and the same cannot cause any hindrance in the grant of compensation.

The Bench observed, "Considering her age, and at the time of accident, she was wife of deceased, is sufficient ground that she is entitled for the compensation. Moreover after death of husband remarriage can not be a taboo to get a compensation."

Before the High Court was a civil appeal filed by Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company against the order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) which awarded the compensation of Rs.10,89,754/ to the claimants of the deceased. The case before MACT was that on May 15th, 2010 one Ganesh, a pillion rider on a motorcycle, was dashed by an auto coming in a rash and negligent manner. During treatment, Ganesh succumbed to his injuries which constrained the dependents to file a claim petition. The tribunal assessed the income of the deceased to be Rs. 5,000 per month.

Advocate Vikrant Purashurami appeared for the Appellant and Advocate Uday B. Nighot appeared for the Respondents.

The contention raised by the Appellant before the High Court in the appeal impugning the compensation awarded by MACT was that the Claimant No.1-wife of deceased Ganesh remarried after the death of Ganesh on which she is not entitled to the compensation and that the accused auto driver violated the terms and conditions of the permit by driving the offending rickshaw outside the jurisdiction.

Wherein the counsel appearing for the respondents submitted that when Ganesh died, at that time, Claimant No.1 was a 19 years old widow and in the same capacity she filed the claim petition for getting compensation and that her re-marriage at a later stage cannot be ground for denying compensation. They further contended that Ganesh was earning Rs. 10,000/- per month but his income by MACT was assessed at Rs. 5000/- PM.

Considering the submissions, on the issue of breach of terms of the policy the High Court did not find any contention in the arguments of the appellant and held that driving an auto outside of the jurisdiction can be held to be in breach of the terms of the permit issued by the RTO authority but cannot be held to be in breach of terms and condition of the insurance policy.

Further, the judge on the issue of remarriage held that at the time of the filing of the compensation application, the 19 years old girl was a widow and it is that only during the pendency of the claim petition she re-married. The Bench further noted in its order that "one cannot expect that for getting compensation of deceased husband, the widow has to remain widow for life time or till getting compensation. Considering her age, and at the time of accident, she was wife of deceased, is sufficient ground that she is entitled for the compensation. Moreover after death of husband remarriage can not be a taboo to get a compensation"

Relying on Section 166 of the MV Act, the judge said that claimant no.1 was the wife of the deceased at the time of the accident and that the section provides that all or any legal representative of the deceased can file an application for compensation. The Court by relying on the judgment of Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd V/s. Nanu Ram 2018 ACJ 2782 enhanced the compensation amount and held that the consortium amount is being awarded to the legal heirs of the deceased on the basis of parental consortium, spousal consortium, and filial consortium. Also, that section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act states about just compensation.

Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed and the claimants were awarded Rs, 80,000/- as an additional amount @ 7.5 interest per annum from October 1st, 2017.

Cause Title: The Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company Ltd v. Smt. Bhagyashri Ganesh Gaikwad & Ors.

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