REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO..7823 OF 2011 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 6617 of 2011) A. Sridhar .............. Appellant versus United India Insurance Co. Ltd. & Anr. ..............Respondents J U D G M E N T
H.L. DATTU, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal is directed against the Judgment and Order passed
by the High Court of Madras, Chennai in Civil Miscellaneous Appeal
No. 1779 of 2002, wherein, the Court has allowed the appeal of the
Insurance Company and reduced the compensation awarded by the
Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Chennai (for short, “the Tribunal”)
from `1,60,000/- to `25,000/- under Section 140 of the Motor Vehicles
Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as, “the Act”).
3. In the Claim Petition filed under Section 166 of the Act, the
appellant has stated that on 14.01.1998, at about 7.10 PM, while he
was riding the motor cycle along with a pillion rider, the vehicle met
with an accident due to oil spill on the road and suffered grievous
injuries. Since the vehicle is insured with the respondent-Insurance
Company, he is entitled for compensation of `6,00,000/- (Rupees Six
Lakhs) as general damages/compensation.
4. The Insurance Company has denied its liability. The Tribunal,
while considering the claim of the appellant, has come to the
conclusion that the accident did not take place due to rash and
negligence driving of the claimant but due to oil spilling on the road.
Accordingly, the Tribunal has assessed the compensation payable to
the claimant at a sum of `1,60,000/- together with interest at 6% per
annum under the Insurance Policy.
5. In the appeal filed by the Insurance Company, the High Court,
has taken exception to the order passed by the Tribunal and has come
to the conclusion that the Tribunal is not justified in allowing the
claim petition moved under Section 166 of the Act and ought to have
determined the compensation payable under Section 140 of the Act.
Accordingly, the High Court has modified the award and has reduced
the compensation payable to `25,000/-.
6. Aggrieved by the Judgment and Order, the claimant is before us
in this appeal.
7. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and perused
the record. From the evidence on record, the Tribunal holds that the
appellant, while driving the motor vehicle on the fateful day, met with
an accident not because of the fault of the owner of the vehicle or
because of the fault of the other vehicle, but because of the oil spill on
the road. Therefore, the negligence can be attributable only on the
person who was driving the vehicle and hence, is not entitled to
compensation under the Insurance Policy. Therefore, the High Court
was justified in invoking the beneficial legislation and in directing the
Insurance Company to pay limited amount by way of compensation to
the injured person of an accident arising out of the use of a motor
cycle on the basis of “no fault liability,” since the accident has arisen
out of use of motor vehicle and has resulted in grievous injuries to the
8. In view of the above, we do not see any legal infirmity in the
Judgment and Order passed by the High Court. The appeal is,
accordingly, dismissed. Costs are made easy.
September 13, 2011.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.7824 OF 2011
(Arising out of SLP (C) No. 6618 of 2011)
D. Sampath ………….. Appellant
United India Insurance Co. Ltd. & Anr. …………..Respondents
J U D G M E N T
H.L. DATTU, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal is directed against the Judgment and Order
passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras in Civil
Miscellaneous Appeal No. 2099 of 2002 dated 12.04.2010. By
the impugned judgment, the Court has modified the compensation
awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Chennai (for
short, “the Tribunal”) in MCOP No.1971 of 1998 dated
3. The facts are not in dispute. Claimant was a pillion rider of
a motor cycle which was driven by one A. Sridhar. It met with an
accident due to oil spill on the road on 14.01.1998 at about 7.10
P.M. The claimant and the driver of the vehicle sustained injuries.
Both of them were treated in the hospital for the injuries sustained
by them. The vehicle was insured with United India Insurance
Company Ltd. – respondent No.1 by the owner of the vehicle –
respondent No.2. The claimant filed claim petition before the
Tribunal inter-alia requesting to award compensation at a sum of
`12,00,000/- (Rupees Twelve lakhs only) under various heads.
Claimant had examined himself as PW-2 and other witnesses,
including Dr. J.R.R. Thiagarajan – PW-3, who had assessed the
disability sustained by the claimant at 75%. The Tribunal, after
considering the various factors, including the medical evidence,
had quantified the compensation payable by the Insurance
Company at a sum of `3,50,000/-. Being aggrieved by the
compensation so awarded by the Tribunal, the claimant had
preferred Civil Miscellaneous Appeal No.2099 of 2002, before the
High Court of judicature at Madras. The Court, after re-
considering the claim of the claimant and re-appreciating the
evidence on record, has enhanced the compensation to `4,90,000/-
from `3,50,000/- awarded by the Tribunal. It is this judgment and
order which is called in question in this appeal.
4. We have heard learned counsel for the parties to the lis and
perused the records.
5. We do not intend to disturb the judgment and order passed
by the High Court except to a limited extent. The High Court,
while assessing the compensation payable to the claimant, has
arrived at the loss of earning capacity in a sum of ` 8,16,000/- and,
thereafter, though the Doctor has assessed 75% disability, has
taken into account 50% disability while calculating the loss of
income without any rhyme or reason. In our view, this is a mistake
committed by the High Court. It is no doubt true that, while
making assessment, there is an element of guess work, but that
guess work again must have reasonable nexus to the available
material/evidence and the quantification made. In the instant case,
the claimant had not only examined himself to sustain the claim
made in the petition but also Dr. J.R.R. Thiagarajan, PW-3, who
has stated that the claimant has suffered 75% disability, by
referring to the Disability Certificate issued by a competent Doctor
who had treated the claimant. Though the Doctor is cross-
examined at length by learned Advocate for the Insurance
Company, nothing adverse to the interest of the claimant is
elicited. Therefore, the Tribunal has rightly accepted the evidence
of the Doctor-PW-3. However, the High Court has taken 50%
disability into account while calculating the loss of income. This,
in our view, is the mistake committed by the High Court. We
hastened to add that we are not saying that under all circumstances,
the Court has to blindly accept the Disability Certificate produced
by the claimant. The Court has the discretion to accept either
totally or partially or reject the Certificate so produced and marked
in the trial but, that, can be done only by assigning cogent and
acceptable reasons. In this view of the matter, we take the
disability suffered by the claimant at 75% and calculate the loss of
income of the claimant keeping in view the loss of earning
capacity of the claimant assessed by the High Court. Accordingly,
we arrive at the loss of earning capacity of the claimant at
6. In the result, the appeal is partly allowed. We direct the
Insurance Company to deposit a sum of `6,12,000/- after deducting
the amount already paid or deposited with accrued interest of 6%
from the date of filing of the claim petition till its payment before
the Tribunal within two months from today. On such deposit, the
Tribunal is directed to release the amount to the claimant. No
order as to costs.
September 13, 2011.