The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has rejected a claim on motor vehicle insurance policy as the insurer had not effected transfer of the policy according to Section 157 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Hearing a writ petition from Ms S. Selvi, wife of late Selvaraj whose two-wheeler met with an accident on June 1, 2008, resulting in his death, Mr Justice K. Chandru held that since the statutory requirement under the said section was not complied with, the petitioner was no longer entitled for claiming relief under the policy. The husband of the petitioner had a valid driving license up to December 24, 2017. His vehicle was insured with Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd, Nagercoil, the respondent, and the said policy was valid from October 18, 2007, to October 17, 2008. Hence, the policy was very much in home when the fatal accident took place.

The policy had a premium of Rs. 50 towards personal accident of owner-driver. Hence, the company was liable to pay the insured amount on the death of the petitioner’s husband, who was driving the two-wheeler at that time. But it was admitted that though the petitioner’s husband got the name transferred in the registration certificate book regarding transfer of ownership, he did not ask for the change of insurance policy.

According to the insurance company, the policy stood in the name of the previous owner of the vehicle. But no application was made under Section 157 of the Act. The section stipulated that the transferee of the vehicle should apply within 14 days from the date of transfer to the insurer for making necessary changes in the certificate of insurance. The company, therefore, turned down the claim of the petitioner.

The Judge said that the petitioner had remedy by way of civil suit, or alternatively, before an appropriate consumer forum for the alleged deficiency in service in not honoring the claim.

The contentions of the petitioner could not be countenanced by this Court, and hence the petition would stand dismissed.

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