Maharashtra: Tribunal Awards Rs 4.6 Lakh to Kin of Woman Who Died in Bus Accident in 2007

A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Maharashtra’s Thane district has awarded a compensation of Rs 4.66 lakh to the son of a 50-year-old woman fish seller who died in a bus accident in 2007.

A copy of the tribunal’s January 22 order was made available on Monday.

Member of the tribunal (Kalyan) Amol D Harne directed the owner of the vehicle at the time and an insurance company to pay the amount along with interest at 7 per cent per annum from the date of the petition.

In his petition of March 2009, Diva resident Gurunath Pandit Patil said his mother Yamunabai died on March 25, 2007, when the bus she was travelling in tilted after one of its wheels went into a pit near Kalyan.

Patil sought compensation of Rs 4 lakh saying his mother earned Rs 6,000 a month selling fish.

While the insurance company argued in the tribunal, the two bus owners, including the one who later acquired the vehicle, did not appear before it.

The insurance company said it was not liable to pay anything as the bus driver did not have a licence which was a breach of the policy terms.

The tribunal noted that the driver of the vehicle was at fault and was primarily liable to pay the compensation. It also said, “The copy of the RC book shows that the respondent (previous owner) is the registered owner of the offending vehicle, therefore he is vicariously liable to pay the compensation.”

The tribunal said the new bus owner had nothing to do with the accident and was not liable to pay any compensation.

The tribunal noted that the claimant was not concerned with the terms of the insurance policy between the previous bus owner and the insurer. The petitioner cannot be “denied fruits of the award rendered by the Tribunal” and cannot be compelled to seek recovery only from the owner of the vehicle, said the tribunal.

“Therefore, there is liability of the insurer, though not jointly and severally, to pay the amount of compensation to the petitioner and to recover the same from the previous owner if desired,” said the tribunal.

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