Blood Test Not Necessary For Insurer To Reject Claim On Ground Of Intoxicated Driving: Supreme Court


Blood Test Not Necessary For Insurer To Reject Claim On Ground Of Intoxicated Driving: Supreme Court

NAME OF THE CASE

IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pearl Beverages Ltd.

BRIEF FACTS

  • The insurer company had rejected the claim for insurance by the insured company which met with an accident.
  • The rejection was challenged before the National consumer Disputes Redressal Commission which gave the decision against the insurer mentioning its fault in not following the policy liability on drunken driving.
  • The National Commission stated the requirement of proving alcohol in the system by scientific results like blood test and breath analyzer.
  • It reversed the decision of the State Commission’s to reject the complaint.

INDICATION OF DRUNKENNESS

  • The insured car was a Porsche having a powerful engine.
  • The vehicle was reported to have gone out of control and hit the footpath with huge force which overturned the car and caught fire.
  • The driver and the passenger both were under the influence of alcohol and found by the medical practitioner from the smell.
  • Since the road where the accident occurred is wide and at the time of accident there would have been very less traffic, it is certain that the accident did not occur due to external factors.
  • The fact that the driver was under the influence of alcohol it is evident the accident occurred as a result of drunken driving.

LEGAL PROVISIONS INVOLVED

  • 185 of Motor Vehicles Act lays down the requirement of alcohol content more than 30mg per 100ml as detected by breath analyzer or blood test would make the person driving the vehicle liable under the section for imprisonment or fine or both.
  • Sections 203 and 204 of MV Act mention the necessary provision of breath analyzer and blood test to ascertain the blood content in the blood of the driver as and when required by law.
  • The driver was found guilty of rash and negligent driving under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code.

SUPREME COURT ANALYSIS

  • The Court stated that the case not being filed under Section 185 of MV Act does not bar the finding if the driver of vehicle was under the influence of alcohol.
  • The Section is criminal in nature and hence not pressing criminal charges and not accepting the insurance claim are different.
  • Even if the scientific tests are not done and if the facts are sufficient to prove the influence of alcohol the insurer can reject the claim of liability under the contract.
  • The application of the Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitor can be inferred from the facts.

Was the rejection of insurance claim by the insurer, a right action? We’re waiting for your responses!

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