Non-registration of vehicle vitiates Insurance Claim

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Non-compliance with all the necessary statutory requirements under law, even outside the insurance contract can result in you losing your insurance claim.

In the case of Narinder Singh v. New India Assurance Company Ltd., the Apex Court rejected the claim of the Complainant on the ground that the vehicle was not registered and there was non-compliance of sections 39 and 43 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

The Hon’ble Apex Court rejecting the Appeal of the Appellant held “We have perused the order passed by the three Forums. The only issue for consideration is, as to whether the National Commission is correct in law in holding that the appellant is not entitled to claim compensation for damages in respect of the vehicle when admittedly the vehicle was being driven on the date of accident without any valid registration as contemplated under the provisions of Section 39 and Section 43 of Motor Vehicles Act. For better appreciation, Section 39 and Section 43 which are relevant are quoted herein below:-

‘39. Necessity for registration.—No person shall drive any motor vehicle and no owner of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or in any other place unless the vehicle is registered in accordance with this Chapter and the certificate of registration of the vehicle has not been suspended or cancelled and the vehicle carries a registration mark displayed in the prescribed manner:

Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to a motor vehicle in possession of a dealer subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.’

‘43. Temporary registration.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 40 the owner of a motor vehicle may apply to any registering authority or other prescribed authority to have the vehicle temporarily registered in the prescribed manner and for the issue in the prescribed manner of a temporary certificate of registration and a temporary registration mark.”

(2) A registration made under this section shall be valid only for a period not exceeding one month, and shall not be renewable:

Provided that where a motor vehicle so registered is a chassis to which a body has not been attached and the same is detained in a workshop beyond the said period of one month for being fitted with a body or any unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the owner, the period may, on payment of such fees, if any, as may be prescribed, be extended by such further period or periods as the registering authority or other prescribed authority, as the case may be, may allow.

(3) In a case where the motor vehicle is held under hire-purchase agreement, lease or hypothecation, the registering authority or other prescribed authority shall issue a temporary certificate of registration of such vehicle, which shall incorporate legibly and prominently the full name and address of the person with whom such agreement has been entered into by the owner.’

  1. A bare perusal of Section 39 shows that no person shall drive the motor vehicle in any public place without any valid registration granted by the registering authority in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
  2. However, according to Section 43, the owner of the vehicle may apply to the registering authority for temporary registration and a temporary registration mark. If such temporary registration is granted by the authority, the same shall be valid only for a period not exceeding one month. The proviso to Section 43 clarified that the period of one month may be extended for such a further period by the registering authority only in a case where a temporary registration is granted in respect of chassis to which body has not been attached and the same is detained in a workshop beyond the said period of one month for being fitted with a body or unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the owner.
  3. Indisputably, a temporary registration was granted in respect of the vehicle in question, which had expired on 11.1.2006 and the alleged accident took place on 2.2.2006 when the vehicle was without any registration. Nothing has been brought on record by the appellant to show that before or after 11.1.2006, when the period of temporary registration expired, the appellant, owner of the vehicle either applied for permanent registration as contemplated under Section 39 of the Act or made any application for extension of period as temporary registration on the ground of some special reasons. In our view, therefore, using a vehicle on the public road without any registration is not only an offence punishable under Section 192 of the Motor Vehicles Act but also a fundamental breach of the terms and conditions of policy contract.”

Full Judgment -> Narinder Singh v New India Assurance Company Ltd.

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