Delhi HC: Letting minor’s drive endangers citizens
The court made the observation while dismissing a plea by a man against the recovery of ₹16 lakh from him in a fatal accident in which his juvenile son was driving a car.
Parents who permit their minor children to drive a motor vehicle without a licence not only endanger their children but also common citizens, the Delhi high court has said, while dismissing a plea by a man against the recovery of ₹16 lakh from him in a fatal accident in which his juvenile son was driving a car.
A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Rohini had in November 2021 awarded a compensation of ₹16,32,700 in favour of the wife and daughter of Harinder Kumar after he had died in the 2013 accident. The tribunal had also said that the insurance company concerned would have the right to recover the amount from the registered owner of the car in appropriate proceedings as per law.
The father of the accused juvenile challenged the tribunal’s order in the high court, contending that because his son had driven the car without his knowledge, he cannot be made to pay the amount.
Dismissing the appeal on January 13, justice Rekha Palli observed that the tribunal was justified in not accepting the father’s version -- that the keys of the vehicle were taken by his minor son from his bedside drawer without his knowledge and permission.
“Once the father, despite being aware that his son was a minor child, left the keys of his car at home and has failed to give any explanation as to why the keys of the car at home were left unattended when he himself was not there, the defence being taken by him is apparently an afterthought in an attempt to somehow to escape his liability. Even otherwise, the appellant did not lead any independent witness in support of his plea that the car was being driven by his minor son without his knowledge and permission,” the court said in a four-page order.
“In a matter like this, when the parents of minor children permit him/her to drive a motor vehicle, not only they put the lives of their own children in danger but also endanger the life of common citizens… This court, therefore, cannot condone such an act of the appellant and fasten the liability on the insurance company when it is evident that the terms of the insurance policy were breached by the appellant himself,” the court said.