Vehicle owners to compensate for accidents caused by minors: Karnataka HC

Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar passed the order while allowing an appeal by New India Assurance Company Ltd.
Karnataka High Court
Karnataka High Court (Photo | EPS)

BENGALURU: The High Court of Karnataka has ruled that if a minor drives a vehicle and causes an accident, then the vehicle owner should pay compensation to the claimants and not the insurance company.

Quashing the judgment and award by the Motor Vehicle Accident Tribunal fixing the liability on the insurance company, Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar passed the order while allowing an appeal by New India Assurance Company Ltd.

The court exonerated the insurance company of the liability to pay compensation to the claimants. It also enhanced the compensation awarded by the tribunal to Rs 4.44 lakh from Rs 2.56 lakh, with an interest of 6% per annum.

The compensation should be paid by Mohammed Mustafa, owner of the vehicle involved in the accident, to the claimants. The compensation was enhanced because the deceased, who was aged 61 at the time of the accident, is survived by his wife and two children.

The tribunal passed the order on August 11, 2014, awarding a compensation of Rs 2.56 lakh with an interest of 8% per annum to claimants Bibi Naisa and two others, family members of the deceased, residing in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district.

Around 8.45 am on December 12, 2008, the deceased, Hassan Shabbir, was hit by a minor motorcyclist on NH 17 at Ranginakatta in Bhatkal. Shabbir sustained grievous injuries and died on the way to hospital.

The tribunal had awarded a compensation of Rs 2.56 lakh to the family members of the deceased. This was challenged by the insurance company on the grounds that the accident was caused by a boy then aged 16. Since the rider was a minor, he did not have a valid driving licence. Hence, it was not liable to pay the compensation, the insurance company argued.

In support of its claim, the insurance company placed the charge-sheet filed by the police disclosing that the minor boy, son of Abdul Hakeem Gavayi, was riding the motorcycle.

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