An insurance company cannot be held liable to pay compensation in such accident cases where the injured was found to be travelling in a tractor, a vehicle used for agriculture purposes, the Supreme Court has said.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar found as "unexceptionable" the reasonings made by the Karnataka High Court that the insurance company cannot be obligated to either pay the owner of the tractor or the injured person.
"The appellant travelled in the tractor as a passenger, even though the tractor could accommodate only one person namely the driver. As a result, the Insurance Company was not liable for the loss or injuries suffered by the appellant or to indemnify the owner of the tractor," the bench said.
On February 23, 2010 at about 8:30 am, the appellant, Shivaraj was travelling in a tractor on Bengaluru Road, Bengaluru. The driver of the tractor was driving at a high speed, in a rash and negligent manner and dashed the tractor against a big mudstone, resulting in the tractor turning turtle and the appellant suffering grievous injuries. He claimed to have suffered 67% disability.
The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal computed a compensation of Rs 9.02 lakh for him.
On an appeal, the High Court held that the insurance company cannot be liable as the appellant was travelling in the tractor in breach of policy terms and conditions.
As the injured challenged the order, the top court said the high court was correct in its findings. "But it ought to have directed the Insurance Company to pay the compensation amount to the claimant (appellant) with liberty to recover the same from the tractor owner," the bench said.
The apex court, however, rejected the plea for enhancing the compensation amount.