Justice SG Dike passed the order recently on an appeal by New India Assurance Co Ltd against the June 7, 2016 order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Punethat directed it to pay nearly Rs 1.25 crore with 9% interest to the family of Makarand Patwardhan.
On October 25, 2010, Patwardhan (38) was travelling from Pune to Mumbai with two of his colleagues to attend a function. The colleague who owned the car was driving it in a rash and negligent manner with an uncontrollable speed when the rear wheel burst and the car fell into a deep ditch, killing Patwardhan on the spot. Patwardhan was the sole bread-earner in the family and left behind his wife (34), daughter (7), father (70) and mother (65). He was an assistant manager with a private company and drew nearly Rs 69,000 salary at the time of his death.
Before the HC, the insurer said that the tribunal awarded exorbitant and excessive compensation. It contended that a tyre burst is an act of God and it was not negligence of the driver. But Justice Dige, in his February 17 order, noted that the dictionary meaning of ‘act of God’ is ‘an instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation.’ “It refers to a severe unanticipated natural event for which no human is responsible. The bursting of a tyre cannot be termed as an act of God. It is an act of human negligence,” he said.
Justice Dikes said there are various reasons for tyre burst such as high speed, underinflated, overinflated or second-hand tyres and temperature.