Sunday, 14 August 2016

Whether non-dependant heir of deceased who died in motor accident is entitled to claim compensation under MV Act?

In view of the clear and unambiguous language under Section
166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, it is clear that application can be made
either by the injured or the legal representatives of the deceased.
Though legal representative is not defined under the provisions of
the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, from Rule 2(g) of the A.P.Motor
Vehicles Rules, 1989, it is clear that the definition of legal
representative is given same meaning as defined under Section 2(11)
of the Code of Civil Procedure.  In view of the judgment of Honble
Supreme Court in Manjuri Beras case (9 supra), it is clear that the
compensation which is payable on account of no fault liability will
form part of the estate of deceased.  In that view of the matter, there is
no basis for contending that the application is to be filed only by the
dependants.  As we have held that dependency is a matter to be taken
into consideration for award of compensation and merely because one
is not dependant, that by itself, is no ground for not entertaining any
claim made for grant of compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act.
In view of the clear language under Section 166 of the Act and
in view of the judgment of Honble Supreme Court in Manjuri
Beras case (9 supra), wherein, it is held that the compensation to be
awarded under Section 140 of the Motor Vehicles Act will form part
of the estate of deceased, and further, as the Act also provides for
compensation on other conventional heads, we are of the view that the
non-dependant also can lay a claim by filing application under Section
166 of the Act.  It is also to be noticed that the situations may arise,
where, one may have suffered injuries initially but ultimately after
filing a claim, may have succumbed to such injuries also.  In such an
event, lot of amount would be spent towards hospitalisation etc., and
as already discussed in the judgment of Honble Supreme Court in
Montford Brothers case (5 supra), it is common in the Indian
society, where, the members of the family who are not even
dependant also can extend their support monetarily and otherwise to
the victims of accidents to meet the immediate expenditure for
hospitalization etc., in such cases, unless the legal representatives are
allowed to continue the proceedings initiated by the person who
succumbs to injuries subsequently, such claims will be defeated and
that will also defeat the very object and intentment of the Act.  Any
such measure would be wholly unequitable and unjust.  Plainly, that
would never be intent of any piece of legislation.  For the aforesaid
reasons and in view of the language under Section 166 of the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988 r/w. Rule 2(g) of the A.P. Motor Vehicles Rules,
1989,    we are of the view that even the legal representatives who are
non-dependants can also lay a claim for payment of compensation by 
making application under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
    Accordingly, we answer the reference, holding that a
non-dependant heir of the deceased who died in a motor accident is
entitled to lay a claim for compensation under section 166 of the
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 where there is no other dependant legal heir
for claiming compensation.
HYDERABAD HIGH COURT                      

M.A.C.M.A.Nos.364 of 2010 

DATE: 01.02.2016  

Dr.Gangaraju Sowmini  .Appellant  
Vs
Alavala Sudhakar Reddy & another. Respondents    



HONBLE SRI JUSTICE R. SUBHASH REDDY         
HONBLE SRI JUSTICE G.CHANDRAIAH        
And 
HONBLE SRI JUSTICE NOOTY RAMAMOHANA RAO             

Citation:AIR 2016 hyd 162(FB)

    
        This Bench is constituted to answer the reference made in the
above M.A.C.M.As.  M.A.C.M.A.No.364 of 2010 is filed by the 
claimant seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by the   
Chairman, Motor Vehicles Accidents Claims Tribunal-cum-District
Judge, Guntur, whereas, M.A.C.M.A.No.1020 of 2010 is filed by the
National Insurance Company Limited, questioning the very award of
compensation itself.  For the purpose of this reference, we take the
facts as narrated in M.A.C.M.A.No.364 of 2010.

2.      The deceased Gangaraju Venkata Sudheer, who is the brother  
of the claimant, was aged about 22 years and was prosecuting his final
year Medicine at BLD Medical College, Beejapur of Karnataka State.
The appellant/claimant is working as Assistant Professor in
Gynaecology at Government hospital, Guntur.  On 29.11.2000, while 
the claimant, her husband, daughter, mother, maternal aunt and
deceased were proceeding in Maruti car bearing No.AP-07-3173 from 
Tirupati to Guntur, they met with an accident.  It was the case of the
claimant that the Lorry bearing No.AAN-6579, came on wrong side in
the opposite direction at a high speed and in a rash and negligent
manner and dashed against their Maruti car.  Consequently, the
brother and the mother of the claimant received grievous injuries and
died on the spot and the claimant, her husband and maternal aunt
suffered injuries.  Based on the complaint lodged by them, a case was
registered at P.S.Singarayakonda.  By impleading the owner of the
lorry as respondent No.1 and the Insurance Company as respondent  
No.2, claim was made by filing M.V.O.P.No.159 of 2002 under 
Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, for compensation of
Rs.20,00,000/-.

3.      The owner of the Lorry remained exparte and the Insurance
Company contested the claim by filing counter affidavit.  In the O.P.,
the Tribunal, by recording a finding that the accident had occurred due
to rash and negligent driving of Lorry bearing No.AAN-6579, has
allowed the claim petition by awarding compensation of
Rs.8,75,000/-.  It was the specific case of the claimant that for the
purpose of tuition fee of the deceased, she obtained loan from
A.P.Mahesh Co-operative Urban Bank Ltd., Hyderabad and was   
educating her deceased brother.  On behalf of claimant, the certificate
issued by the Medical college showing the fee paid for the deceased
and also the notices demanding the payment of balance outstanding 
amount of loan, issued by A.P.Mahesh Co-operative Bank were  
exhibited.

4.      Seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by the   
Tribunal, the claimant has filed M.A.C.M.A.No.364 of 2010, whereas,
questioning the award of compensation, the Insurance Company has  
filed M.A.C.M.A.No.1020 of 2010.  It was the case of the Insurance
Company that the claimant was not dependant on the deceased,  
as such, she is not entitled for compensation under Section 166 of the
Motor Vehicles Act.

5.      When the matters have come up before the Division Bench, 
in view of conflicting opinions rendered earlier by 2 different Division
Benches in the case of Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v.
P.Satyavathamma  and in Vanguard Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Chellu 
Hanumantha Rao , the Division Bench has referred the matters to
the Full Bench, for answering the following question:
Whether non-dependant heir of the deceased who died in a
motor accident is entitled to lay claim for compensation under
section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 where there is no
other dependant legal heir claiming compensation ?

In view of the general importance of the question referred, this Court
has requested learned counsel Sri Kota Subba Rao and Sri 
E.Venugopal Reddy, to assist this Court as amicus curiae.
        
6.      Heard Sri T.Mahender Rao, learned counsel for claimant and
Sri Nisaruddin Ahmed Jeddy, learned counsel appearing for National
Insurance Co. Ltd., and also the learned amicus curiae  Sri Kota
Subba Rao and Sri E.Venugopal Reddy.   
        
7.      Prior to the enactment of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, law on
the subject was governed by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 and
by virtue of provision under Section 217 of the Motor Vehicles Act,
1988, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 and any law corresponding to that
Act, in force in the State, were repealed.  We refer to certain
provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which are relevant for the
purpose of answering this reference.  Chapter X of the said Act deals
with the cases of liability without fault and Section 140 of the Act
imposes liability on the owners of vehicles to pay compensation in
certain cases on principle of no fault.  The said section reads as
under :
140.   Liability to pay compensation in certain cases on the
principle of no fault :-

(1)     Where death or permanent disablement of any person has  
resulted from an accident arising out of the use of a motor
vehicle or motor vehicles, the owner of the vehicle shall, or,
as the case may be, the owners of the vehicles shall, jointly
and severally, be liable to pay compensation in respect of
such death or disablement in accordance with the provisions
of this section.

(2)     The amount of compensation which shall be payable under 
sub-section (1) in respect of the death of any person shall be
a fixed sum of fifty thousand rupees and the amount of
compensation payable under that sub-section in respect of
the permanent disablement of any person shall be a fixed
sum of twenty five thousand rupees.

(3)     In any claim for compensation under sub-section (1), the
claimant shall not be required to plead and establish that the
death or permanent disablement in respect of which the
claim has been made was due to any wrongful act, neglect or
default or the owner or owners of the vehicle or vehicles
concerned or of any other person.

(4)     A claim for compensation under sub-section (1) shall not be
defeated by reason of any wrongful act, neglect or default of
the person in respect of whose death or permanent
disablement the claim has been made nor shall the quantum 
of compensation recoverable in respect of such death or
permanent disablement be reduced on the basis of the share
of such person in the responsibility for such death or
permanent disablement. 

(5)     Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2)
regarding death or bodily injury to any person, for which the
owner of the vehicle is liable to give compensation for relief,
he is also liable to pay compensation under any other law for
the time being in force:

Provided that the amount of such compensation to be given
under any other law shall be reduced from the amount of
compensation payable under this section or under section
163A.

Section 163A is inserted in the Statute by Amending Act 54 of 1994
w.e.f. 14.11.1994.  The said provision under Section 163A is a special
provision as to payment of compensation on structured formula basis
as indicated in the II-Schedule of the Act, to the legal heirs or the
victim of the accident.  The said Section reads as under:
163A.Special provisions as to payment of compensation on 
 structured formula basis :

(1)     Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in
any other law for the time being in force or instrument
having the force of law, the owner of the motor
vehicle or the authorized insurer shall be liable to pay
in the case of death or permanent disablement due to
accident arising out of the use of motor vehicle,
compensation, as indicated in the Second Schedule, to
the legal heirs or the victim, as the case may be.

Explanation:- For the purpose of this sub-section,
permanent disability shall have the same meaning
and extent as in the Workmens Compensation Act,  
1923 (8 of 1923).

(2)     In any claim for compensation under sub-section (1),
the claimant shall not be required to plead or establish
that the death or permanent disablement in respect of
which the claim has been made was due to any  
wrongful act or neglect or default of the owner of the
vehicle or vehicle concerned or of any other person.

(3)     The Central Government may, keeping in view the 
cost of living by notification in the Official Gaette,
from time to time amend the Second Schedule. 

Chapter XII of the Act deals with Claims Tribunals and Section 165
obligates the State Government to establish Motor Accidents Claims
Tribunals for adjudicating upon claims for compensation in respect of
accidents involving the death of, or bodily injury to, persons arising
out of the use of motor vehicles, or damages to any property of a third
party so arising, or both.  The explanation to Section 165 clarifies that
claims for compensation in respect of accidents involving the death
of or bodily injury to persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles
includes claims for compensation under Section 140 and Section 
163A.  Section 165(1) reads as under :
165.   Claims Tribunals :- (1) A State Government may, by
notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or
more Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals for such area as
may be specified in the notification for the purpose of
adjudicating upon claims for compensation in respect of
accidents involving the death of, or bodily injury to,
persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles, or
damages to any property of a third party so arising, or
both.
Explanation :- For the removal of doubts, it is hereby
declared that the expression claims for compensation in
respect of accidents involving the death of or bodily
injury to persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles
includes claims for compensation under Section 140 and 
Section 163A.

Section 166 of the Act provides for making an application for
compensation arising out of an accident of the nature specified in
sub-section (1) of Section 165.  Section 166(1) reads as under :
166.   Application for compensation:- (1) An application for
compensation arising out of an accident of the nature
specified in sub-section (1) of Section 165 may be made

(a)     by the person who has sustained the injury; or
(b)     by the owner of the property; or
(c)     where death has resulted from the accident, by all or
any of the legal representatives of the deceased; or
(d)     by any agent duly authorized by the person injured or
all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased,
as the case may be: 
Provided that where all the legal representatives of the
deceased have not joined in any such application for
compensation, the application shall be made on behalf of
or for the benefit of all the legal representatives of the
deceased and the legal representatives who have not so
joined, shall be impleaded as respondents to the
application.

From a reading of the aforesaid provision, it is clear that it provides
for making an application for compensation by all or any of the legal
representatives of the deceased.
        
8.      Coming to the judgments referred to in the order of reference,
in the case of Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. (1 supra), a Division
Bench of this Court has held that so as to maintain a petition for
compensation either under Section 163A or 166 of the Motor Vehicles
Act, 1988, a person must, beside showing that he/she is the legal
representative of the deceased, must also demonstrate that he/she is
dependant on the deceased.  In the aforesaid judgment, it is further
held that the mere fact that claimants used to live along with the
victim of the accident under the same roof, would not be sufficient to
lay claim under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.  In the other
judgment in the case of Vanguard Insurance Co. Ltd. (2 supra),
which is referred to in the reference order, the question fell for
consideration is whether the brother of the deceased is entitled for
compensation and the Division Bench of this Court has answered it in
the affirmative by recording a finding that the word legal
representative is not defined in the Motor Vehicles Act and as such,
one has to rely on the expression as defined under the Code of Civil
Procedure. 
9.      Before we answer the reference, we refer to the judgments
relied on by the learned counsel appearing for the parties.  Sri
Nisaruddin Ahmed Jeddy, learned counsel appearing for the Insurance
Company has submitted that as the scheme of the Motor Vehicles Act  
provides to compensate the dependants of the deceased, the sister of
the deceased is not entitled to make any claim under the provisions of
the Act for award of compensation.  He relied on the judgment of
Honble Supreme Court in Sarla Verma & others v. Delhi
Transport Corporation & another .  In this judgment, the Honble
Supreme Court has laid down the guidelines for quantification of
compensation and held that in the absence of evidence to the contrary,
brothers and sisters will not be considered as dependants because they
will either be independent, earning or married or dependant on the
father.  He has also placed reliance on a Division Bench judgment of
this Court in Chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport 
Corporation v. Shafiya Khatoon & others .  In this judgment, this
Court has elaborately discussed the method and manner in which 
assessment of compensation is to be quantified and also held that
married sisters not being any longer dependant, are not entitled for
compensation and the dependency goes to mother and unmarried   
sisters.

10.     Learned counsel for claimant Sri T.Mahender Rao, while
contending that claim can be laid under Section 166 of the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988 by a non-dependant of the deceased, has brought 
to our notice the judgment in Montford Brothers of ST.Gabriel &
another v. United India Insurance & another .  In this judgment,
the Honble Supreme Court has held that in case of death of a person
in motor accident, a person claiming to be the legal representative of
the deceased, has locus to file claim under Section 166 of the Motor
Vehicles Act, either directly or through any agent and the same is
subject to result of dispute/objection raised by the opposite party on
said issue.  The aforesaid adjudication is made by the Honble
Supreme Court while extending the definition of legal
representative as defined under Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil
Procedure.  Para 12 of the judgment, which is relevant to the case on
hand, reads as under :
12.    Para 13 of the Report of Gujarat SRTC case [(1987) 3
SCC 234] reflects the correct philosophy which should
guide the courts interpreting the legal provisions of
beneficial legislations providing for compensation to
those who had suffered loss:
13.    We feel that the view taken by the Gujarat High Court
is in consonance with the principles of justice, equity
and good conscience having regard to the conditions of
the Indian society.  Every legal representative who
suffers on account of the death of a person due to a
motor vehicle accident should have a remedy for
realization of compensation and that is provided by
Sections 110-A to 110-F of the Act.  These provisions
are in consonance with the principles of law of torts
that every injury must have a remedy.  It is for the
Motor Vehicles Accidents Tribunal to determine the
compensation which appears to it to be just as
provided in Section 110-B of the Act and to specify
the person or persons to whom compensation shall be 
paid.  The determination of the compensation payable
and its apportionment as required by Section 110-B of
the Act amongst the legal representatives for whose
benefit an application may be filed under Section 110-
A of the Act have to be done in accordance with well-
known principles of law.  We should remember that in
an Indian family, brothers, sisters and brothers
children and some times foster children live together
and they are dependent upon the breadwinner of the
family and if the breadwinner is killed on account of a
motor vehicle accident, there is no justification to deny
them compensation relying upon the provisions of the
Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 which as we have already
held has been substantially modified by the provisions
contained in the Act in relation to cases arising out of
motor vehicles accidents.  We express our approval of
the decision in Megjibhai Khimji Vira v. Chaturbhai
Taljabhai (AIR 1977 Guj 195) and hold that the
brother of a person who dies in a motor vehicle
accident is entitled to maintain a petition under Section
110-A of the Act if he is a legal representative of the
deceased.
In the above judgment, it is clearly held that the brother of a person
who dies in a motor vehicle accident, is entitled to make an
application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, if
he is a legal representative of the deceased.

11.     Sri E.Venugopal Reddy, the learned amicus curiae, has referred
to a judgment of the learned Single Judge of Madras High Court in
United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Poongavanam & others ,
wherein, it is held that the term legal representative does not mean
dependant only and that the marriage of brother or sister does not take
away their right to represent the estate of the deceased.
        
12.     Further, Sri Kota Subba Rao, the learned amicus curiae, has
contended that a claim petition can be maintained even by the non-
dependants of the deceased in a motor vehicle accident.  It is
contended that from a reading of the provision under Section 166 of
the Motor Vehicles Act, it is clear that the claim can be laid by the
legal representative of the deceased.  It is further contended that
whether the compensation is    to be awarded or not, is a matter which
depends on facts of each case, but at the same time, in view of the
language envisaged under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, a
legal representative can make a claim.  The learned amicus curiae has
also referred to Rule 2(g) of the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.  He has
referred to the judgment of Honble Supreme Court in Gujarat State
Road Transport Corporation, Ahmedabad v. Ramanbhai   
Prabhatbhai & another , wherein, the Honble Supreme Court has
held that the brother of a person who is killed in a motor vehicle
accident, is entitled to compensation in the proceedings instituted
before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.  In the aforesaid
judgment, the 85th report of the Law Commission was considered. 
Learned amicus curiae has further referred to the judgment in
Manjuri Bera v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. & another .  In this
judgment, the Honble Supreme Court has considered the question 
whether a married daughter, not dependant on the deceased, is entitled
to file a claim petition for the death of her father and answered the
said question in the affirmative.  It is held in the said judgment that
even though there is no loss of dependency, the claimant, if he or she
is a legal representative, will be entitled to compensation, the quantum
of which shall not be less than the liability flowing from Section 140
of the Act.  Further, the judgment in P.S.Somanathan & others v.
District Insurance Officer & another  is also brought to our notice,
wherein, the Honble Supreme Court has held that the sister of the
deceased can lay a claim for compensation under Section 166(1) of
the Motor Vehicles Act.

13.     Before we proceed further, we refer to Rule 2(g) of the
A.P.Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.  The said Rules are framed in
exercise of powers conferred under Sections 28, 38, 95, 96, 107, 111,
138 and 176 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.  Rule 2(g) defines the
word legal representative as under :
 Legal representative shall have the meaning assigned to it
under Clause (11) of Section 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
1908 (Central Act 5 of 1908)

From a reading of the provisions under Sections 140, 163A and 166 of
the Act, it is clear that the scheme of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,
which is a beneficial legislation to the victims of motor vehicle
accidents, imposes liability on the owner of the vehicle, under Section
140 of the Act, to pay compensation on the principle of no fault.
Fixed amounts are prescribed in the aforesaid Section for payment of
such compensation even without any necessity of proving the fault.
Similarly, Section 163A of the Act provides for payment of
compensation on structured formula basis to the legal heirs or the
victims of the motor vehicle accidents.  Under Section 165 of the Act,
State Government is under obligation to constitute Motor Accidents
Claims Tribunals in such areas as may be notified, for adjudication of
claims for compensation in respect of accidents involving death or
fatal injury to persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles, or
damages to any property of a third party so arising, or both.  From
explanation to Section 165 of the Act, which has got some bearing on
the reference made, it is clear that claims for compensation in respect
of accidents involving death of or bodily injury to persons arising out
of the use of motor vehicles, include claims for compensation under
Section 140 and Section 163A.  Section 166 of the Act provides for
making an application for award of compensation arising out of an
accident of the nature specified under Section 165(1).  The provision
under Section 166(1) expressly provides for making such application
by any agent duly authorized by the person injured or all or any of the
legal representatives of the deceased.  Section 166(1) further makes it
clear that if all the legal representatives of the deceased have not
joined in any such application for compensation, the application shall
be made on behalf of or for the benefit of all the legal representatives
of the deceased and the legal representatives who have not so joined,
shall be impleaded as respondents to the application.  From a perusal
of the said provision, it is clear that application for compensation
can be made not only by dependant but by any legal representative of
the deceased.  Further, the word legal representative is defined in the
Rules by adopting the same meaning of legal representative
as defined under Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil Procedure.  In the
judgment in Megjibhai Khimjis case (6 supra), a Division Bench of
Gujarat High Court has clearly held that the brother of a person who
dies in a motor vehicle accident, is entitled to maintain claim petition
under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, if he is a legal
representative of the deceased.  Such view is approved by the Honble
Supreme Court also in Montford Brothers case (5 supra).

14.     In view of the plain language under Section 166 of the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988, which is a substantive provision for making
application for compensation, it is clear that either the injured person
or the legal representative of the deceased are entitled to make an
application for award of compensation.  Dependency is a matter,
which will have a bearing on the issue with regard to fixation of
compensation and apportionment of compensation if there are more 
than one claimant, but at the same time, in view of the plain and
unambiguous language used under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles  
Act, the term legal representative does not mean dependant only.
It is fairly well settled that the legal representative is one who can
represent the estate of the deceased.  Further, in the judgment in
Manjuri Beras case (9 supra), the Honble Supreme Court has held
that the no fault liability envisaged under Section 140 of the Motor
Vehicles Act is distinguishable from the rule of strict liability.
In the aforesaid judgment, it is further held that right to make an
application has to be considered in the background of right to
entitlement.  It is further held that while assessing the quantum of
compensation, the multiplier system is applied because of deprivation
of dependency.  In the same judgment, it is also held that since the
amount to be awarded under Section 140 of the Motor Vehicles Act is
a fixed/crystalised amount, the same is to be considered as a part of
the estate of the deceased.  Apart from the same, there can be a claim
for compensation under other conventional heads which are to be
necessarily incurred in the case of deaths.

15.     Further, in the judgment in the case of Kannamma v. Deputy
General Manager , a Full Bench of Karnataka High Court has 
considered the right of legal representatives to come on record and
continue the proceedings initiated by the deceased claimant.  In the
aforesaid judgment, the Full Bench, while considering the provision
under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 read with the
provision under Section 306 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, has
held that if the death is due to the injuries suffered in the accident,
legal representatives can prosecute the petition only relating to the
loss to the estate of the deceased.

16.     In view of the clear and unambiguous language under Section
166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, it is clear that application can be made
either by the injured or the legal representatives of the deceased.
Though legal representative is not defined under the provisions of
the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, from Rule 2(g) of the A.P.Motor
Vehicles Rules, 1989, it is clear that the definition of legal
representative is given same meaning as defined under Section 2(11)
of the Code of Civil Procedure.  In view of the judgment of Honble
Supreme Court in Manjuri Beras case (9 supra), it is clear that the
compensation which is payable on account of no fault liability will
form part of the estate of deceased.  In that view of the matter, there is
no basis for contending that the application is to be filed only by the
dependants.  As we have held that dependency is a matter to be taken
into consideration for award of compensation and merely because one
is not dependant, that by itself, is no ground for not entertaining any
claim made for grant of compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act.
In view of the clear language under Section 166 of the Act and
in view of the judgment of Honble Supreme Court in Manjuri
Beras case (9 supra), wherein, it is held that the compensation to be
awarded under Section 140 of the Motor Vehicles Act will form part
of the estate of deceased, and further, as the Act also provides for
compensation on other conventional heads, we are of the view that the
non-dependant also can lay a claim by filing application under Section
166 of the Act.  It is also to be noticed that the situations may arise,
where, one may have suffered injuries initially but ultimately after
filing a claim, may have succumbed to such injuries also.  In such an
event, lot of amount would be spent towards hospitalisation etc., and
as already discussed in the judgment of Honble Supreme Court in
Montford Brothers case (5 supra), it is common in the Indian
society, where, the members of the family who are not even
dependant also can extend their support monetarily and otherwise to
the victims of accidents to meet the immediate expenditure for
hospitalization etc., in such cases, unless the legal representatives are
allowed to continue the proceedings initiated by the person who
succumbs to injuries subsequently, such claims will be defeated and
that will also defeat the very object and intentment of the Act.  Any
such measure would be wholly unequitable and unjust.  Plainly, that
would never be intent of any piece of legislation.  For the aforesaid
reasons and in view of the language under Section 166 of the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988 r/w. Rule 2(g) of the A.P. Motor Vehicles Rules,
1989,    we are of the view that even the legal representatives who are
non-dependants can also lay a claim for payment of compensation by 
making application under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
17.     Accordingly, we answer the reference, holding that a
non-dependant heir of the deceased who died in a motor accident is
entitled to lay a claim for compensation under section 166 of the
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 where there is no other dependant legal heir
for claiming compensation.  Thus, we approve the view taken by the
Division Bench of this Court in Vanguard Insurance Co. Ltds case
(2 supra) and hold that the view taken by the Division Bench in
Oriental Insurance Co. Ltds case (1 supra), is not correct.
     Reference is answered accordingly.
     Registry shall post these matters before appropriate Bench,
as per roster.
     We place on record our appreciation for the able assistance
rendered by Sri Kota Subba Rao and Sri E.Venugopal Reddy as   
amicus curiae.
_____________________    
R. SUBHASH REDDY, J     
__________________   
G. CHANDRAIAH, J   
_____________________________     
NOOTY RAMAMOHANA RAO, J         
1st February 2016

Print Page

No comments:

Post a Comment