High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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THE ORIETNAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD v. SMT NIRMALA DEVI & Ors - FAO-120-2001  RD-P&H 60 (21 July 2005)
The Orietnal Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Smt Nirmala Devi & others.
Present: Mr. D.P.Gupta, Advocate, for the appellants.
The only ground raised before us against the award of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Sonipat dated 31-8-2000 is that the appellant-insurance company was not liable to pay any compensation as the vehicle in question was a jeep whereas the driver was holding a licence for driving scooter and car only. This contention has been negatived by the Tribunal on the ground that there is no separate class in the Motor Vehicles Act for a licence for driving a Jeep and thus a person authorised to drive a car can also drive a Jeep as the mechanism and the driving method of the two vehicles is the same.
This issue was raised in various appeals including the present appeal and a Full Bench was constituted in view of the divergence of judicial opinion. The main judgment was delivered in the F.A.O. No.120 of 2001 (O&M)
present case. The Full Bench placing reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in National Insurance Company Vs. Swaran Singh and others, JT 2004 (1) SC 109 vide its judgment dated 8-11-2004 has rejected this contention in the following terms :- "This issue being no more res integra, needs no further elaboration. We may, however, hasten to add that the Insurance Company can not be absolved of its liability to pay the compensation by simply pleading that the licence granted to the driver being for one class or description of vehicle but the vehicle involved in the accident was of the different class or description, unless it is proved that the cause of accident was the licence granted to the driver being for one class or description of vehicle but the vehicle involved in the accident was of different class or description. The observations made by the Supreme Court presuppose that if the driver was driving a vehicle of which he might not be holding licence as such, but was holding a driving licence of a different description of vehicle, and the driving method of both the vehicles, for which licence was obtained and the one which was being driven, was the same and when even the mechanism of the vehicle is also same, the defence projected by the Insurance Company with regard to the driver not possessing requisite type of licence, could be of no F.A.O. No.120 of 2001 (O&M)
avail to it."
Since the matter stands settled by the Full Bench against the appellant- Insurance Company, the plea raised by the Counsel for the Insurance Company is rejected.
No other point has been raised.
The appeal is, accordingly, dismissed.
July 27,2005 ( VIRENDER SINGH)
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