Accident victim has a statutory right to make the claim

A road accident victim’s right to claim compensation is statutory. This right cannot be denied merely because the driver of a light motor vehicle did not get authorisation in his licence to drive a commercial vehicle also, the Supreme Court has held.

A Bench of Justices S.S. Nijjar and M.Y. Eqbal said the insurance company “cannot disown its liability on the ground that although the driver was holding a licence to drive a light motor vehicle but before driving a light motor vehicle used as commercial vehicle, no endorsement to drive acommercial vehicle was obtained in his licence. In any case, it is the statutory right of a third party to recover the amount of compensation so awarded from the insurer. It is for the insurer to proceed against the insured for recovery of the amount in the event there has been violation of any condition of the insurance policy.”

In the instant case, cyclist Charles was fatally knocked down by a Mahindra van running at high speed on May 23, 1998. Driver Sivananayaitha Perumal (who remained ex parte in the proceedings) ran away without stopping the vehicle.

On a petition from Charles’ dependents, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal at Kanyakumari awarded a compensation of Rs. 2,42,400 with interest at 12 % per annum payable jointly by the United India Insurance Co. and the vehicle owner. ”

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