Owner liable if minor is involved in accident:SC

New Delhi: The owner of a vehicle is liable to pay compensation for the accident if the vehicle is driven by a minor, the Supreme Court has ruled, upholding the compensation of over Rs eight lakh to the family of a man who died in a road mishap.

The apex court said it was the duty of the vehicle-owner to ensure that it was not misused or used in contravention of the rules.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph rejected the plea of the owner Jawahar Singh that the minor Jatin, who is his nephew, had taken away the key of the motorcycle without his knowledge and as such he cannot be held responsible.

"We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that it was Jatin, who came on the motorcycle and hit the scooter of the deceased from behind. The responsibility of causing the accident was, therefore, found to be solely that of Jatin.

"However, since Jatin was a minor and it was the responsibility of the petitioner to ensure that his motorcycle was not misused and that too by a minor who had no licence to drive the same, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal quite rightly saddled the liability for payment of compensation on the petitioner," Justice Kabir writing the judgement said.

The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal filed by Singh who challenged the compensation awarded to the deceased`s family, for which he was held liable under "contributory negligence."

The accident had occured on 18th July, 2004, when a motorcycle, driven by Jatin rammed into a scooter driven by Mukesh Jain, who was accompanied by his son, Shashank Jain, in the pillion near SDM`s Office, Geeta Colony, Delhi.

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