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  • In the case of United India Insurance Company Ltd. vs. Smt. Anita Devi and Ors. the Delhi HC has observed that the insurance company cannot avoid it’s liability when the offending vehicle was stolen and was unauthorisedly driven by someone else. In order to avoid the same, the company has to show that there was a wilful breach on the part of the insured.
  • In the instant case, an Eco car was being driven very rashly at a high speed when it slammed into a scooty, which was being driven by the victim, who succumbed to his injuries immediately.
  • It was the case of the appellant that since the vehicle was stolen and was being driven by a professional thief, the insurance company was not liable to pay the amount. The Tribunal had directed the insurance company to pay the compensation amount and recover the same from the driver of the vehicle. It was against this order that an appeal was preferred to the HC.
  • The Court relied upon the decision of the Apex Court in United India Insurance Company vs. Lehru and Ors. (2003) SCC wherein it was held that to avoid the liability, the insurance company has to establish that there was a wilful breach on the part of the insured. In the instant case, the insurance company was unable to do so.
  • The Court, very rightfully, also observed that if the propositions forwarded by the appellant insurance company were to be accepted, it would defeat the very purpose of the beneficial legislation for victims of accidents. Not only would the insurance company escape from the very liability that it has promised to undertake, but it would also leave the insured remedy-less in a situation where he is nowhere at fault.
  • Thus, the appeal was denied. The insurance company was directed to recover the amount from Niraj, who had stolen the vehicle in the first place, thus upholding the direction of the Tribunal.
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