An insurance company is not liable to pay any claim if the insured transport vehicle, which met an accident, is driven by a person having a licence to drive only light vehicle, the apex consumer body has observed.
“A person who does not hold licence to drive transport vehicle cannot drive transport vehicle and if he drives transport vehicle, insurance company cannot be fastened with any liability,” the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said while allowing a revision petition of insurance company New India Assurance Co Ltd.
The insurance firm had sought setting aside of the state commission order of dismissing its appeal against the district forum’s order granting compensation to vehicle owner Birender Mishra, whose vehicle had met with an accident.
Setting aside the order of district consumer forum which had asked the insurance firm to pay compensation of Rs 1,15,975 with 9 per cent per annum interest and litigation cost to Mishra, the NCDRC said the vehicle’s driver was “not authorized to drive transport vehicle whereas, vehicle in question which met with an accident was insured as commercial vehicle.”
The apex consumer commission, presided by Justice K S Chaudhary, also held the observation of state consumer commission that capability and skill of the driver to drive particular vehicle determines liability of the insurance company is “apparently not correct.”
“Insurance company can be held liable only if driver holds valid driving licence to drive the vehicle at the time of accident,” Justice Chaudhary observed.
“Consequently, revision petition filed by the petitioner is allowed and impugned order dated May 9, 2008 passed by the state commission in appeal of the company and order of district forum dated January 7, 2008 is set aside and complaint stands dismissed with no order as to costs,” the commission said.
Mishra had in his complaint to the district forum said that his vehicle, insured with the insurance company, met with an accident in May 2004, and suffered extensive damage.
He had told the forum that he had to spent Rs 1,15,975 on the repairs of the vehicle and submitted claim to the company, which, however, repudiated it on the ground that the driver was holding two driving licences and the vehicle was registered as a taxi, but driver was not holding appropriate licence for it.