Owner of vehicle exonerated from recovery right granted to Insurer in view of sub-section 3(b) of Section 66 of MV Act  

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sunil Gaur, J. allowed an appeal filed against the order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal whereby the compensation awarded was ordered to be recovered from the appellant – owner of the insured vehicle involved in an accident.

Brief facts of the case are that on the fateful day, one Manoj Sharma was driving his motorcycle when he was hit by a water tanker being driven in a rash and negligent manner. The said water tanker was owned by the appellant. As a result of the accident, said Manoj Sharma died. On filing of the claim petition by the claimants under Sections 166 and 140 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, the Tribunal awarded a compensation of Rs 11,83,400 (which was subsequently increased to Rs 23,79,000 in an appeal connected with the instant appeal). The owner of the insured vehicle challenged the order on the ground that the Tribunal had erroneously granted recovery rights to the insurer.

The High Court perused the record and found that the insured vehicle was granted contract for watering of plants by the Delhi Government. The Court also referred to Section 66 of the Act. In view of the Court, since the insured vehicle was plying for the purpose of watering plants and for conservancy purpose in pursuance of the contract awarded to the owner, so, in light of sub-section 3(b) of Section 66, the requirement of obtaining permit was dispensed with. In such circumstances, the grant of recovery rights to the insurer could not be sustained. The order impugned was accordingly modified while putting full liability on the insurer to pay the compensation. The appeal was disposed of in the terms above. [Jagjeet Singh v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., MAC Appeal No. 228 of 2013, dated 20-08-2018]

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