Family members of a BEST conductor, who died in a road accident in 2012 after being hit by a tanker, have been awarded a compensation of Rs 41.23 lakh by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Thane.
President of the Tribunal and principal district judge SM Gavhane, in a recent order, directed the insurance company New India Assurance Company to make the payment to the applicants and recover the same from the other opponent -- owner of the tanker involved in the accident.
The applicants in this case were Varsha Shrimant Narute (44), Kumar Vicky Narute (17), and Kumari Harshada Narute, (15) residents of Vashi Naka at Chembur.
While the owner of the tanker Cosmo Bulk Carriers of Bhiwandi did not appear, the matter was decided ex-parte against them. However, the Insurance company appeared and contested the claim on various grounds.
The counsel for the applicants, GA Vinod, in his submission told the tribunal that on August 27, 2012 deceased Shriman Somanna Narute, 48, was going to his house along the CG Gidwani road and a tanker filled with hazardous material hit him as a result of which he sustained injuries and died on the spot.
The deceased was working as a conductor at the Dharavi depot of the BEST and earning a salary of Rs 35,508 per month and his kin were eligible to the compensation amount of Rs 54.88 lakh with interest at 18%. For the court fee they claimed Rs 1 lakh only.
Advocate AK Tiwari appearing for the insurance company in his submission stated that offending tanker was registered with the RTO as a heavy goods vehicle and it had permit to carry goods and not hazardous goods.
On the date of accident, explosive or hazardous goods in the form of hazardous chemical was being carried by the offending tanker without proper permit and hence the insurance company is not liable to pay any compensation, he argued.
Police papers had stated that on the date of accident the offending tanker was filled with acetic acid at Chembur in Ages Logistic Ltd and it was proceeding towards Mahad to deliver it to the Laxmi Organic Industry at Mahad in Raigad, the tribunal was told.
Thus, on the basis of above all evidence, it can be said that at the material time of accident offending tanker was carrying acetic acid which is hazardous goods, although it had no specific permit to carry the same as per RTO information and therefore the owner of the tanker committed breach of policy conditions.
The judge in his order noted, “Therefore, on the basis of above evidence it can be said that on the date of accident driver of the offending tanker drove the same while carrying hazardous goods in absence of endorsement in this respect on his driving license, and as such, breach of policy conditions is committed by the owner of vehicle as alleged by the opponent insurance company, and therefore, the insurance company is not jointly and severally liable to pay compensation to the applicants.
“But I am of the opinion that directions can be given to opponent Insurance company to pay award amount to applicants and recover the said amount from the opponent No.1 owner of the offending tanker,” the order said.