In FAO 1548/2019 (O&M)-PUNJ HC- Responsible Doctors & Senior Army Officers have given medical opinion regarding injuries suffered by claimant, says P&H HC while dismissing Insurance Company’s appeal against MACT Award
Justice Nidhi Gupta [31-01-2023]
Read Order: New India Assurance Company Limited v. Satwant Singh deceased through his LRs and Others
Chandigarh, February 1, 2023: The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has reiterated that Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial legislation and cases thereunder are to be decided on preponderance of probabilities and strict rules of criminal trial are not applicable thereto.
Present appeal before the Bench of Justice Nidhi Gupta was filed by the Insurance Company against the Award of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Ambala (‘the Tribunal’), whereby a compensation of Rs. 44,37,456/- was granted to the injured-claimant.
In 2013, the claimant’s motorcycle was hit by a Car (offending vehicle) being driven by the second respondent in a rash and negligent manner and at a very high speed. As a result of the impact, the claimant fell on the road and received severe head injuries and remained hospitalized thereafter for a considerable period.
The Tribunal concluded that the claimant had been injured in the said roadside motor-vehicular accident due to the rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle by the second respondent which was owned by the third respondent and insured by the appellant-Insurance Company. The Tribunal also concluded that the offending vehicle hit the motorcycle of the claimant from front by coming on the wrong side of the road.
Accordingly, the compensation payable to the claimant was assessed to be Rs. 44,37,456/– along with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum from the date of institution of the petition till realization. Further, the Tribunal held the appellant Insurance Company along with the respondents herein to be jointly and severally liable to pay the compensation.
After hearing the parties, the Court observed at the very outset that a perusal of the record of the case established without doubt that the claimant had suffered “severe head injury” and had remained admitted in Command Hospital, Chandimandir. “It is also not in dispute that the Medical Board, at page 101 of the LCR, had opined that the claimant had suffered functional disability to the extent of 60% for life”, the Bench added.
The Bench further observed that an extensive detailed medical record running into over 50 pages was presented and proved before the Tribunal, which was duly endorsed by Senior Army Officers. Thus, it was opined that the Medical Board had given findings regarding the condition of the claimant only after considering the case of the claimant in great and minute detail.
“Thus, the credentials of the Medical Board instituted by the Senior Officers of the Army Authorities including a Captain, Lieutenant Colonel, and President of the said Medical Board being of the rank of Colonel, cannot be impugned or doubted. I have considered the said record in great detail and gone through every page and it is clear that the opinion contained therein cannot be doubted”, the Bench held.
Regarding the objections made on behalf of the appellant’s counsel regarding the inadmissibility of the said medical record produced by the claimant, the Court held that the same were to be rejected in view of the fact that it was open to the appellant to have summoned the Doctors or any other Member of the Medical Board.
There was nothing forbidding the appellant Insurance Company to summon any of the Doctors from the Medical Board to verify or discard the evidence produced by the claimants, the Bench opined while adding that thus, it does not lie in the mouth of counsel for the appellant-Insurance Company to submit that the said record was not reliable.
“In the present case responsible Doctors and other Senior Officers of the Army have given medical opinion regarding the injuries suffered by the claimant and I find that no cogent reasons have been given by the appellant Insurance Company to merit rejection of the same”, the Court held.
Even otherwise, the Bench was of the opinion that it is well established position in law that Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial legislation and cases thereunder are to be decided on preponderance of probabilities and strict rules of criminal trial are not applicable thereto.
Thus, the appeal was dismissed.
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