No need for insurance firms to question chargesheets in accident cases: HC

There is no mandate in law for insurance companies to challenge chargesheets, filed by the police in motor vehicle accident cases, to controvert the contents of chargesheets before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) in the insurance claim case proceedings, said the Karnataka High Court.

“...if the insurance companies are saddled with burden of challenging the chargesheets filed throughout the country without there being no clear legal mandate to do so, their work would be seriously crippled and they would not be able to do their insurance business without enhancing their premium, thereby further burdening the ever-suffering owners of motor vehicles,” the High Court said.

A Division Bench comprising Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav and Justice P. Krishna Bhat delivered the verdict while declining to accept the contention of claimants that MACT could not have accepted the claim of the insurance company that the particular vehicle was not involved in the accident contrary to the chargesheet as the company had not challenged the correctness of the chargesheet before the High Court.

“Is not still the standard of proof one of preponderance of probabilities? Is a mere chargesheet, which in this case is shown to be deficient in truth, sufficient to tip the balance only on the premise that insurance company has not dipped deep into its pockets to challenge the chargesheet - what with the toxic nexus between the black sheep among the police, medical professionals and touts of every kind masquerading the field that has become a notorious fact of life,” the Bench observed.

On claimants’ dependence on a 2011 judgment of the High Court, the Bench said the 2011 verdict has not laid down law that in all cases, where chargesheets were filed, MACTs are required to act upon the same unless insurance companies question the same and obtain writ of mandamus. In the present case, the court agreed with MACT’s finding from the evidences that the vehicle named in the chargesheet was planted, by the younger brother of the deceased, in collusion with the parties after 103 days of accident as the vehicle belonged to the younger brother himself and when none had seen the actual vehicle involved in the accident as the complaint had described it as ‘unknown vehicle’.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 9:40:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/no-need-for-insurance-firms-to-question-chargesheets-in-accident-cases-hc/article33202651.ece

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