Lawstreet Journal

SC Says Breath Analysis or Blood Test not Absolutely Necessary for Insurer to Reject Claim on Ground of Drunk Driving

Lawstreet Journal 15 Apr 2021 7:48pm

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary SC Says Breath Analysis or Blood Test not Absolutely Necessary for Insurer to Reject Claim on Ground of Drunk Driving

In a recent judgement, Supreme Court has held that a breath analysis or a blood test is not mandatory as laid down in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 for an insurer to reject claim on the ground of drunk driving. 

It was also stated that if the insurance company succeeds in establishing the fact that the driver was under the influence of alcohol during the time of the incident then it cannot be deprived of its right to exclude the policy benefit on the ground that the scientific tests for alcohol presence were not carried out.

The judgement was passed by a Bench comprising of Justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph. 

The Bench noted the following, "...in cases, where there is no scientific material, in the form of test results available, as in the case before us, it may not disable the insurer from establishing a case for exclusion. The totality of the circumstances obtaining in a case must be considered.” 

“If the Breath Analyser or any other test is not performed for any reason, the Insurer cannot be barred from proving his case otherwise.”

However, the exact alcohol content to be present in the body had not been specified. 

Background Facts

The Court considered an appeal by an insurance company against the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. In the said order, the insurer had been held at fault for excluding the policy liability on the ground of drunken driving. The alcohol content above 30 mg/100 ml f blood, as stipulated under… Continue Reading...


Tagged: Motor Vehicles   Supreme Court of India  
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