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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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STREET LEGAL
Policy matters

When an employee in an automobile company was injured in a motorcycle accident, the insurance company was directed by the Workmen’s Compen-sation Commissioner to pay him his dues. The insurance company contested the claim saying that the policy indicated that it had no liability if the vehicle was driven by anybody other than a driver. The Kerala High Court held that the policy used the term “driver” and not “paid driver”. It added that in case of ambiguity in the terms of a policy, the terms should be construed in favour of the insured. A driver, it emphasised, meant a “duly licensed driver”. Referring to the relevant provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Workmen’s Compensation Act, it said that a compensation was payable to the driver.

(Benz Automobiles Ltd. vs Thomas)

No heir-in-law

A son-in-law claimed pension on the basis of the general laws of inheritance, saying that he was the only surviving claimant for it. After his father-in-law’s death, it was his mother-in-law who had received the family pension. Subsequently both she and his wife died. Rejecting his claim, the Madras High Court held that under the Pension Rules, neither a married daughter nor the son-in-law of the deceased was entitled to the pension. It pointed out that pension was not part of the estate of the deceased and could only be given to designated individuals and to no one else under the Pension Rules. The court added that it could not be passed to any other person by way of succession.

(B. Radhunath Singh vs Commissioner Corporation of Chennai)

Valued land

During a transaction, the stamp duty on a piece of land was determined at a high value when the villagers reported to the authorities that the land was being purchased for constructing a school building. As an agricultural land, however, its value ought to have been lower. The Allahabad High court held that if a land was used for agriculture, its valuation had to be made on the basis of this fact and nothing else. It added that the value could not be determined on the assumption that it would be used for a purpose other than agriculture in the future. (Anasuya Singh vs Commisioner, Faizabad Division)

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