The Delhi High Court has ruled that a comprehensive insurance policy for vehicles also covers the pillion rider on a two-wheeler and passengers in a car. Following the ruling, all 17 insurance companies providing insurance to two-wheelers and four-wheelers have also agreed to implement it earnestly and immediately.

Justice J. R. Midha gave the ruling on an appeal by the parents and wife of a pillion rider for enhancement of compensation granted by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal here. The appellants claimed before the High Court that the insurance company that had insured the vehicle was also liable to pay compensation to them.

The tribunal had allowed the contention of the insurance company that it had no liability for the pillion rider. It had asked the owner of the motorcycle to pay a compensation of Rs.4,53,300 to the claimants.

However, Justice Midha after talking to the officers of the insurance company, the Tariff Advisory Committee and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority found that there was no basis for the insurance company’s contention that it had no liability for the pillion rider.

On a direction of the Court, the Chief Executive Officers of all the insurance companies met under the auspices of IRDA with amicus curiae advocate Arun Mohan as a Court-appointed observer.

After deliberations, all the insurance companies admitted their liability in respect of occupants of a private car and the pillion rider on a motorcycle under a comprehensive insurance policy.

They also agreed to comply with an IRDA circular of November 16 relating to the liability of insurance companies and withdraw the contrary plea wherever taken before the tribunals and issue instructions to the respective lawyers to this effect.

They also agreed to withdraw all the appeals filed by them before the various High Courts in the country on this particular aspect.

Justice Midha further said in his judgment that the tribunals functioning in the Capital would take note of the judgment and ensure that no such plea was allowed to be put forward by any insurance company. The Court expressed hope that the large number of cases pending in courts all over the country would come to an end.

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