Over 20 years after his shop was gutted in a fire, a district resident has been awarded Rs 3.5 lakh compensation by the Thane Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
Thane district’s Ulhasnagar township resident Vakil Rahadomal Karia, the owner of a studio cum press, informed the MACT that in 1980 he had purchased the shop where some fixtures, furniture, photography material, cameras, typewriters, film printing machine etc. were kept.
He said that on May 28, 1996, at around 5.30 PM, when he was present in his shop cum studio, a truck loaded with match boxes passed by. The goods in the truck came in contact with live electric wires hanging near his shop and caught fire, which spread engulfing his shop.
The applicant said his two-wheeler parked near the shop was also burnt in the incident and he sustained a loss worth Rs 3.50 lakh.
He reported the matter to police, who registered an offence against the truck driver.
MACT member N M Waghmare said some height restrictions are imposed on trucks while passing through the city. In the present matter, the truck was over that height. Also, when the truck was carrying explosive substance, it was required to take more precautions other than the routine ones. But in this case, the truck driver failed to take proper care and caution while driving the vehicle from the city.
He said all the circumstances compelled him to consider that the accident took place due to the fault of the truck driver and caused damage to the applicant’s shop.
“It is evident to say that the opponent insurance company has raised defence that the incident took place because of short-circuit. But there is absolutely no evidence adduced to that effect. I discard this defence,” he said.
“I hold the accident was not an act of god but it was at the fault of offending truck driver. When the said truck was insured with the opponent, then the responsibility of compensation can be saddled on both the opponents,” the tribunal said in its recent order.
Since the truck owner did not appear in the matter, the order was passed ex-parte against him.
Subsequently, the MACT directed the offending truck owner, S Kandaswamy Sellappa Gounder, of Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, and the National Insurance Company to jointly and severally pay the compensation along with 7 per cent interest per annum to Karia.
( Source – PTI )