P&H HC | Driving license and income tax record suggest contradictory age details; HC resolves the age controversy in an accident claim case

Punjab and Haryana High Court

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Anil Kshetarpal, J., denied interfering with the decision of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal with regard to age assessed by the Tribunal wherein two contradictory evidences were placed to prove the age of the deceased. The Bench stated,

No doubt, there is a difference between the date of birth in the driving license as well as the income-tax record of the deceased-late Sh. Ravinder Kumar, however, neither of them is a document to prove his age.

The issue arose from a common award, passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, while allowing the claim petitions filed under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The claimants were the widow, two children and aged mother of the deceased Ravinder Kumar, who died in a motor vehicle accident on 11-12-2017. The counsel for the parties had not questioned the findings of the Tribunal with regard to the involvement of the vehicle and rash and negligent driving of respondent 6-Vikram Singh.

The insurance company contended that the Tribunal erred in assessing the compensation by taking the age of the deceased to be 48 years on the basis of the post mortem report as the income-tax returns filed by the deceased stated that he was born on 02-02-1966 and therefore, his age on the date of accident was 51 years.

While the driving license produced by the appellants showed that the deceased was born on 24-04-1970 and hence was 47 years old.

Considering the arguments of both the parties, the Bench held that no doubt, there was a difference between the date of birth in the driving license as well as the income-tax record of the deceased-late Sh.Ravinder Kumar, however, neither of them was a document to prove his age as the insurance company except giving suggestion that the age of the deceased was 51 years at the time of his death, did not lead any evidence. Furthermore, the post mortem report also proved that the age of the deceased was 49 years at the time of the accident, hence, the Bench denied to disturb the finding of the Tribunal.

Rejecting the submission of the claimants that the Tribunal erred in relying upon the income-tax returns for the year 2016-17 rather than of 2017-18, the Bench opined that since the accident took place on 11-12-2017, and the claimants failed to disclose the date on which the income-tax return for the year 2017-18 was filed; the Tribunal had rightly relied upon the income-tax return of the immediate preceding year i.e. 2016-17. In the light of the above, the appeals were found to be without merits and were dismissed. [New India Assurance Company Ltd. v. Ranju, 2021 SCC OnLine P&H 1783, decided on 16-09-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance by:

Mr. Vipul Sharma, Advocate

for Mr. Paul S. Saini, Advocate

for the appellant (In FAO-7145-2019) and

for respondent No.3 (In FAO-305-2020).

Mr. Shakti Mehta, Advocate

for the appellant (In FAO-305-2020) and

for respondent No.1 to 4 (In FAO-7145-2019)

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