MUMBAI: Remarriage of a widow cannot be a reason to deny compensation to her under the Motor Vehicles Act for the death of her husband in a road accident, the Bombay High Court has said while dismissing an insurance company’s petition. Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company had filed the petition in the high court, challenging the order of a Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT), which had directed the company to pay compensation to the woman, whose husband was killed in a road accident in 2010. A single-judge bench of Justice S G Dige on March 3 decided the appeal of the insurance company.
Its detailed order was made available recently. The counsel for the firm had submitted that since the claimant, the wife of deceased Ganesh, remarried after his death, she is not entitled to get compensation. The court, however, held that one cannot expect that for getting compensation for the death of her husband, she has to remain a widow for life or till she gets the payout.
The court noted that it appears from the record that at the time of the death of her husband, the woman was 19 years old. Considering her age and the fact that she was the wife of the deceased at the time of the accident is sufficient ground for her to get compensation, it said. “Moreover, after the death of a husband, remarriage cannot be a taboo to get compensation,” the court held.
The woman’s husband had met with an accident in May 2010 when he was on a motorcycle as a pillion rider. When the motorcycle was crossing the Mumbai-Pune highway and heading towards Kamshet, an autorickshaw rammed into the two-wheeler, leading to Ganesh’s death. The firm had contended that it can’t be held liable to pay the compensation as the autorickshaw was only permitted to ply within Thane district.
However, the judge said, “I do not find any infirmity in it. In my view, the appellants have not examined any witness to prove that taking the offending rickshaw outside the jurisdiction of Thane district was a breach of the terms of permit, and it amounts to breach of terms and conditions of insurance policy.” “Hence, I do not see merit in the contention of learned counsel for appellant that there was breach of terms and conditions of insurance policy,” Justice Dige said while dismissing the appeal.