- A comprehensive/package insurance policy covers the occupants in a private car and a pillion rider on a two-wheeler and there is a specific clause in the insurance policies in this regard. Tariff Advisory Committee (TAC) and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) are the statutory authorities to regulate the tariff and terms and conditions of the insurance policies and there are directions of both these authorities to insurance companies to cover the occupants in a private car and a pillion rider on a two-wheeler under comprehensive/package policy.
- All the comprehensive/package insurance policies contain a specific clause to the effect that the occupants in a private car and pillion rider on a two wheeler are covered. However, despite the clause in the policy and the directions of the TAC and IRDA, the insurance companies do not accept their liability and litigation in this regard is pending in various Courts all over the country.
- In Yashpal Luthra v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. Delhi High Court examined the officers of United India Insurance Co. Ltd. as well as TAC and IRDA under Section 165 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. All the officers admitted the liability of the Insurance Companies in such matters. The Court also issued notice to all other the insurance companies. On 16 November, 2009, IRDA issued fresh circular reiterating the factual position. IRDA thereafter convened a meeting dated 26 November, 2009 of all the 17 Insurance Companies who after deliberations, admitted their liability in respect of occupants in a private car and a pillion rider on a two-wheeler under the comprehensive/package policy. All the Insurance Companies agreed to comply with the Circular dated 16 November, 2009 issued by IRDA re-stating the position relating to the liability of the insurance companies. All the Insurance Companies further agreed to withdraw the contrary plea wherever taken before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals and to issue instructions to their respective lawyers and the operating officers within seven days. The insurance companies further agreed to withdraw all appeals filed by them before various High Courts raising this plea and also to concede the liability in respect of appeals filed by the claimants before the High Courts on the above aspect. The number of appeals pending before the High Courts have been agreed to be identified by the Insurance Companies within two MAC Reference Role of Insurance Companies 50 weeks and the withdrawal to be done within four weeks thereafter.
- The High Court held that where the vehicle is covered under a comprehensive/package policy, there is no need for a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal to go into the question whether the insurance company is liable to compensate for the death or injury of a pillion rider on a two-wheeler or the occupants in a private car. In view of the Tariff Advisory Committee’s directives and those of the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority, such a plea was not permissible and ought not to have been raised as, for instance, it was done in the case before it. All the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals functioning in Delhi have been directed to take note and ensure that no such plea is allowed to be put forward by any insurance company. 5. In pursuance to the above judgment, large number of pending cases all over the country relating to the claims of the occupants in a private car and pillion rider on a two wheeler have come to an end, and the claimants who have been denied compensation on this ground, ultimately got the compensation due to them.
Written by Adv Rohit Yadav