Remarriage of widow not ground to deny compensation to her under Motor Vehicles Act: Bombay High Court

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The Bombay High Court recently held that remarriage of a widow cannot be a ground for denying her compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act [Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company vs Bhagyashri Gaikwad].

Single-judge Justice SG Dige turned down the argument of the insurance company that a widow, if she remarries, should be denied compensation for the death of her first husband.

“One cannot expect that for getting compensation of deceased husband, the widow has to remain widow for life time or till getting compensation. Considering her age, and at the time of accident, she was wife of deceased, is sufficient ground that she is entitled for the compensation. Moreover after death of husband remarriage can not be a taboo to get a compensation,” the Court held in the order passed on March 3.

The bench was seized of a plea filed by the Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company challenging the order of a Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT) by which the firm was held liable to compensate the respondent wife of one Ganesh, who died in an accident in May 2010.

As per the facts of the case, the woman’s husband Ganesh, was travelling on a motor cycle as a pillion rider when the two wheeler hit an auto rickshaw which was being drive in a rash and negligent manner. He died while he was being treated.

At the time of death of her husband, the claimant-wife was 19 years old. Thereafter, she filed a claim petition for compensation.

During pendency of the petition she re-married.

The insurance company highlighted this as a ground to deny compensation.

It also contended that it can’t be held liable to pay the compensation as the autorickshaw was only permitted to ply within Thane district.

However, Justice Dige rejected both the arguments.

“In my view the company have not examined any witness to prove that taking offending rickshaw outside the jurisdiction of Thane district was breach of terms of permit, and it amount’s to breach of terms and conditions of insurance policy. Hence, I do not see merit in the contention that there was breach of terms and conditions of insurance policy.”

With these observations, the bench dismissed the company’s plea.

Advocates Vikrant Purashurami and Rama Naik appeared for the Appellant.

Advocate Uday B Nighot represented the Respondents.

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