KOLKATA: In a landmark judgment, Calcutta High Court stated that pillion riders dying in road accidents would be eligible for insurance compensation under 'third party insurance'.
The judgment was given by a division bench comprising Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice Pratik Prakash Bandopadhyay while hearing a case on Tuesday where an insurance firm stated that a deceased pillion rider's family was not eligible to get 'third party insurance' as he was a 'free-of-cost rider'.The division bench of the High Court was hearing a case between an insurance firm and a deceased's family over the eligibility of insurance compensation for a pillion rider.
Twenty-four-year-old Kumarsambhav Basu died in a road accident after the motorbike he was riding pillion was hit by a pick-up van at Seoraphuli in Hooghly district of West Bengal in 2006. While the deceased's parents Suman Basu and Uma Basu appealed the Motor Vehicles Claims Tribunal for a compensation of Rs 15 lakh, the tribunal sanctioned a compensation of Rs 7 lakh.
However, both the claimants and the insurance company went to the High Court, but for entirely different reasons. The claimants' lawyer Krishanu Banik narrated the reason for filing the case: -"Though the deceased's monthly salary was Rs 15,000, the tribunal according to the insurance company's claims considered the deceased's monthly salary as Rs 6,000.
His future was not considered and neither the fact that the deceased was an asset to his parents. Even rate of interest was not calculated on the amount,-" he said. While the claimants' stated that the pick-up van drivers were not careful, the insurance firm stated that the driver did not have licence or permit and even the deceased was a 'free-of-cost' rider and was hence not eligible for 'third party insurance'.
The court stated that the firm where the deceased worked showed his annual income as Rs 1.83 lakh which comes around Rs 15,000 per month whereas the insurance firm produced a payslip of the deceased showing Rs 5,975 as his monthly income which was not verified by the tribunal hence the insurance firm's claims were nullified.
Further, the court stated that it was not proved anywhere that the deceased had forcefully sat on the motorbike. Hence, he would not be considered as 'free-of-cost rider' and would get 'third party insurance benefits' and awarded Rs 24.74 lakh insurance compensation to the deceased's kin.