The Bombay High Court dismissed a compensation appeal filed by the family of an accident victim, who claimed that a bus leased by the Thane Municipal Corporation had collided with the victim’s motorcycle. The family had filed for claims under Section 163-A of the Motor Vehicles Act for a compensation of Rs 4.5 lakh from the Thane Municipal Corporation, private bus company and insurer, which was dismissed by the the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal with costs, following which they appealed before the High Court.
A single bench of Justice G S Patel held that there was no evidence to show that the fatality was caused as a result of a collision with the bus and evidence suggests that 22-year-old Dinesh Kadam was injured after he fell off his bike and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The incident happened in April 2007, when Kadam was travelling to Vasai for some work on his company motorcycle, along with a colleague. The motorcycle hit a patch of gravel or sand and skidded. Kadam lost control and hit the divider. At the same time, a bus leased to the Thane Municipal Corporation by a private company was moving on the opposite road.
According to the claimants, the motorcycle collided with the bus but the corporation and the insurer say there was no collision. Further they say that even if there was a collision, it was after he was thrown off the bike and got injured. Dinesh succumbed to injuries a few days later. The court, after hearing both the sides, concluded that Dinesh did not lose his life as a result of the collision with the bus and that there was no accident “arising out of the use of” the bus as claimed by the kin of the deceased.
The witness bus driver pointed to the court that the bus did not hit Dinesh and the driver and the conductor took the injured to the hospital, a statement corroborated by the pillion rider also. The court observed that the claimant should prove that the injury or death was the result an accident “arising out of the use of the motor vehicle”.
Justice Patel, in his order, said, “There is no evidence to show that Dinesh’s death, while undoubtedly tragic, was ‘due to an accident arising out of the use of’ the bus.” The court held that he was injured when he fell, and he fell and was injured before his motorcycle hit the bus, if it ever did. The order further said, “The fact that his motorcycle might, at best, have skittered further under its own momentum after dislodging Dinesh, and then collided with the bus will not bring this case within the ambit of Section 163-A.”
The court has set aside the order of costs while dismissing the appeal.