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While rejecting an insurance company's plea against paying out compensation to the family of a man who got killed in a car accident, the Bombay High Court said that tyre burst occurs due to human negligence, and it is not an act of God. Pronouncing the ruling on February 17, a single bench of Justice S G Digein dismissed the appeal filed by New India Assurance Company Limited against a 2016 ruling of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
The bench directed the insurance firm to pay ₹1.25 crore to victim Makarand Patwardhan's family. The 38-year-old deceased was travelling from Pune to Mumbai with two colleagues on October 25, 2010, when the car fell into a deep ditch and Patwardhan died on the spot. The colleague who owned the car was speeding in a rash and negligent manner when the rear wheel burst, leading to the accident.
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The tribunal in its order noted that the deceased was the sole bread-earner of his family. The insurance company in its appeal said the compensation amount was exorbitant and excessive and that the tyre burst was an act of God and not negligence on the part of the driver. However, the HC refused to accept this statement, and explained that the meaning of "act of God" was “an instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation. It refers to a severe unanticipated natural event for which no human is responsible."
The tribunal explained that the bursting of a tyre cannot be termed as an act of God and that it is an act of human negligence. It added there are various reasons for tyre burst such as high speed, underinflated, overinflated or second-hand tyres and temperature. "The driver or owner of the vehicle has to check the condition of the tyre before travelling," the order said.
(with inputs from PTI)