Remarriage of Widow is not Taboo to Get Compensation Under the Motor Vehicles Act

In the High Court of Judicature at Bombay Civil appellate jurisdiction

First appeal No. 111 of 2019 

The IFFCO Tokio General insurance company Ltd …. Appellant 


  1. Smt. Bhagyashri Ganesh Gaikwad 
  2. Mrs. Sangita Shivaji Gaikwad                                
  3. Laxman Ramchandra Gogawale                    …. Respondents

In March this year, the Bombay HC held that the remarriage of a widow cannot disentitle her from getting compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act.

A look at the facts and judgment in brief:


  1. In May 2010, Mr. Sakharam Gaikwad was riding a motorcycle with Mr. Ganesh Gaikwad in the pillion. Due to rash negligence, a rickshaw collided with the motorcyclists. Mr. Ganesh sustained head injuries and passed away.
  2. The wives of the motorcyclists filed a petition seeking compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 (“MV Act”) before the Tribunal.
  3. The tribunal passed judgment which was challenged by the insurance company. Counsel for the insurance company submitted that the insurance company was not liable to pay any compensation on the following grounds:a. There was breach of terms and conditions of the insurance policy as the rickshaw was operating outside the jurisdiction. The permit to ply the rickshaw was granted for Thane district whereas the accident occurred while the rickshaw was plying outside Thane.
    b. The widow of the deceased Mr. Ganesh, Mrs. Bhagyashri re-married during pendency of the petition. Hence, she was not entitled to receive any compensation.

Analysis /Judgment

  1. The High Court was of the view that the breach of terms and conditions of the insurance policy are different from the breach of terms and conditions of the permit issued by the RTO authority. Though the permit (from RTO) was issued for the purpose of plying the rickshaw service within Thane district, there was no restriction to not carry the rickshaw outside Thane. Hence there was no merit in the contention of lack of jurisdiction.
  2. On the issue of eligibility of the widow to seek compensation as she got remarried, the High Court observed that the Mrs. Bhagyashri was only 19 years old when her husband Mr. Ganesh passed away in the accident. Thereafter she filed a petition for compensation under the Motor Vehicle Act. During the pendency of the petition, she re-married. The High Court opined that one cannot expect that for getting compensation of the deceased husband, the widow must remain a widow lifelong or till receiving compensation. Considering her age and that she was the wife of the deceased at the time of the accident was sufficient ground to entitle her compensation.

Further, section 166 (1)(c) of the MV Act states that application for compensation can be made by all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased where the death has resulted from an accident. Mrs. Bhagyashri, being the wife /legal representative of the deceased Mr. Ganesh, filed the petition and is hence entitled to receive compensation.                                   

Based on the above, the Bombay High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the insurance company.  



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