The Bombay High Court recently in the case of Iffco Tokio General Insurance Company vs Bhagyashri Gaikwad held that the remarriage of a widow cannot be a ground for denying her compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act and 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.
The Court said, “One cannot expect that for getting compensation for the deceased husband, the widow has to remain a widow for a lifetime or till getting compensation. Considering her age, and at the time of the accident, she was the wife of the deceased, this is sufficient ground that she is entitled to compensation. Moreover, after the death of a husband, remarriage can not be a taboo to get compensation.”
The case was regarding a plea filed by the said 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. The accident took place when Ganesh was travelling on a motorcycle as a pillion rider when the two-wheeler hit an auto rickshaw which was being driven in a rash and negligent manner. He died during his treatment.
The aforementioned wife remarried during the pendency of the petition and the insurance company took this remarriage as a defence against compensation along with the contention that it can’t be held liable to pay the compensation as the autorickshaw was only permitted to ply within Thane district. The court, however, dismissed both the pleas of the company and concluded that “In my view the company has not examined any witness to prove that taking an offending rickshaw outside the jurisdiction of Thane district was a breach of terms of permit, and it amounts 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.”