The liability of a person sitting on the mudguard of a tractor is not required to be covered by a statutory insurance policy as contemplated by section 147(1) of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a three-judge, full bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka observed while deciding a referred matter pertaining to a batch of motor accident claim cases.
Referring to the dictum of the Supreme Court in the Shivaraj case, the bench noted the top court has clearly held that a tractor could lawfully accommodate only one person, namely, the driver, and that the insurer was not liable to indemnify the tractor owner for liability of a passenger travelling in it.
It also added that the liability of a person working either on ploughing or crushing machines attached to the tractor and who is travelling on the mudguard is not required to be covered by the statutory insurance under section 147(1).
Regarding another referred question, the full bench said a ploughing or a crushing machine attached to a tractor is not a trailer. “Every instrument, including ploughing or crushing machine, attached to a tractor will not necessarily be a trailer. At most, it can be a semi-trailer. Even assuming that the said two categories of equipment are semi-trailers, they are not the motor vehicle covered by section 2 (28) of MV Act. Since a semi-trailer is not a motor vehicle, provisions of section 147 will not apply to it,” the bench observed while disposing of the reference made by a single bench.