Chhattisgarh High Court: Motor Vehicles Act | Delay In Recording Eyewitness Statement Not Sufficient To Disbelieve His Version

The Chhattisgarh High Court in the case Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. v. Gangi Mandavi & Ors observed and has ruled that in the case of motor accident, a delay in recording the statement of the eyewitness is not crucial to disbelieve his version. The bench headed by Justice Sam Koshy in the case observed while dealing with an appeal moved by Insurance Company under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The court observed that only because a statement has been recorded of eye witness at a belated stage or eye witness having not disclosed this fact to any other person till the statement was recorded before police authorities and the same cannot be a ground to disbelieve his version. However, the Constable in 2020 with the Chhattisgarh Police met with an accident and succumbed to his injuries. His daughter and widow filed a claim and the same was allowed by the Tribunal by awarding a compensation of Rs. 54,68,200/-. Thus, tribunal at the time of passing an award also granted interest at the rate of rate of 4% per annum and with penal clause that in case if the amount is not paid within a period of two months, then the amount beyond a period of two months shall carry interest at the rate of 6% till it’s actually paid. The court aggrieved with the said decision, the Insurance Company moved the High Court. It has been pointed out by the appellant company that the accident is said to have occurred on 29.08.2020 and on 31.08.2020, the deceased died but the FIR was lodged only on 20.10.2020 i.e. after about 52 days which is from the date of accident. Further, it has been contended that even the statement of the alleged eyewitness gives rise to many suspicions since he had not disclosed the involvement of the offending vehicle to any person till the FIR was lodged. However, the court observed that the Single Judge recalled the settled position of law that in a case under the Motor Vehicles Act, when the application of claim being arising out of an accident is to be decided, the standard of proof required is not of the same standard which is required while proving of a criminal case. The court stated that, it being the principles of preponderance of probability that has to be applied while the claim application under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. Adding to it, the court stated that merely because the statement of eye witness was recorded at a belated stage cannot be a ground to disbelieve his version since it could be also a case where he must have disclosed it to the family members but nothing was done since at that point of time, thus, the whole family was grieving at the death of the deceased. Further, the bench of Justice Koshy opined that the recording of the statement or the disclosure of facts to the police officer at a later stage under the prevailing circumstances cannot be ruled out, while particularly taking note of the place of incidence and place of residence of the claimants and said eye witness. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal. In the matter the counsel, Advocate R. N. Pusty appeared for the petitioner and Advocate Praveen Dhurandhar and Advocate Ranjana Tiwari represented the respondents.

The post Chhattisgarh High Court: Motor Vehicles Act | Delay In Recording Eyewitness Statement Not Sufficient To Disbelieve His Version appeared first on The Daily Guardian.

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