City sees 8 accidents by minors in 5 years; 3 deaths
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City sees 8 accidents by minors in 5 years; 3 deaths

June 13, 2024

Vehicle owners, not insurance companies to pay compensation if minors cause accidents: HC

Mysore/Mysuru: Following the recent Porsche car accident in Pune caused by a minor under the influence of alcohol, which resulted in the deaths of two young techies, the Mysuru Police have reiterated that if a vehicle driven by a minor is involved in an accident, the parents are liable for prosecution and penalties, including jail terms, as per the law.

In the early hours of May 19, a minor boy was allegedly driving a Porsche at very high speed while intoxicated, crashing into a bike and killing two software engineers, Aneesh Awadhiya and Ashwini Koshta.

Police have charged the 17-year-old with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and relevant provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Speaking to the Star of Mysore this morning, Traffic ACP Parashuramappa stated that under the law, parents or the vehicle owner who allowed a minor to drive will be held liable for punishment.

“In Mysuru, over the last five years, there have been eight serious accidents involving minors, resulting in three deaths. Parents are now facing trials and punishments will be awarded as per the law,” he said.

In a related development, the High Court of Karnataka ruled yesterday that if a minor drives a vehicle and causes an accident, the vehicle owner, not the insurance company, should compensate the claimants.

Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar passed this order, quashing the judgement and award of compensation by the Motor Vehicle Accident Tribunal that had fixed the liability on the insurance company.

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The Court exonerated the insurance company from the liability to pay compensation. It increased the compensation awarded by the tribunal from Rs. 2.56 lakh to Rs. 4.44 lakh, with an interest rate of 6 percent per annum.

Mohammed Mustafa, the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident, is required to pay the compensation to the claimants. The compensation was enhanced because the deceased, aged 61 at the time of the accident, is survived by his wife and two children.

The Court also stated that the principle of ‘pay and recover’ does not apply when the vehicle is driven by a minor. This situation does not fall under Section 149 (2)(ii) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, which deals with cases where an insured vehicle is driven by a person who is not duly licensed or disqualified from holding a driving licence.

A 16-year-old boy cannot be classified as a ‘not duly licensed person’ under this Section because he is not even eligible to apply for a driving licence and hence, no liability can be fixed on the insurance company.

Justice Sanjeevkumar’s order came in response to an appeal filed by New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Kundapur in Udupi district. The insurance company had contested the Kundapur Motor Accident Claims Tribunal’s 2014 directive that required the company to pay Rs. 2.56 lakh as compensation to the claimants.

In 2008, a 16-year-old boy, driving a two-wheeler owned by someone known to him, hit a 61-year-old pedestrian in Bhatkal town, Uttara Kannada district, resulting in the pedestrian’s death.

The victim’s legal heirs sought compensation from the insurance company and the vehicle owner. After reassessing the compensation, the High Court directed Mohammed Mustafa, the vehicle owner from Bhatkal, to pay Rs. 4.44 lakh to the victim’s legal heirs.

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