Gauhati High Court Reiterated: Insurance Company Not Liable to Pay Compensation for Death of Gratuitous Passengers Who Are Travelling in Goods Vehicle


The Gauhati High Court in the case New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Marami Das & 3 Ors observed and has reiterated that Insurance Company cannot be held liable to pay compensation for the death of gratuitous passengers who are travelling in good vehicle.
The single judge bench headed by Justice Parthiv Jyoti Saikia in the case observed and has held that the Insurance Company is not liable to pay compensation to the claimant. Therefore, the claimant who being at the liberty for recovering the compensation granted in their favour by the Tribunal from the owner of the vehicle.
In the present case, the deceased was travelling in a pick-up truck which met with an accident on 20.11.2005 and the deceased sustained injuries. Further, the deceased succumbed to his injuries on 14.01.2006.
It has also been claimed by the Motor Accident Tribunal vide judgement dated 16.07.2013, wherein the court observed and has held that the deceased was a gratuitous passenger and the concerned insurance policy did not cover such kind of passenger.
It has also been directed by the Tribunal that the insurance company to pay the compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased with liberty for recovering the same from the owner of the vehicle.
Further, the insurance company filed an appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the same being against the impugned judgment passed by the Tribunal.
The counsel, S. Dutta, Senior Advocate appearing for the appellant-insurance company argued before the court that the impugned judgement should be modified to the extent that the direction should be set aside which are given by the Tribunal to go for pay recovery of the compensation.
The court also relied on the judgement in the case National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Bommithi Subbhayamma, wherein the Supreme Court laid down that the Insurance Company is not being liable for the payment of any compensation for death of a gratuitous passenger who are travelling in a goods vehicle.
It has been held by the court that the Tribunal committed error by directing the Insurance Company to pay the compensation and to go for recovery of the same from the owner of the vehicle.
Accordingly, the appeal was allowed by the curt and has set aside the impugned judgement of the Tribunal