The Contra Proferentem Rule VI

An unfortunate incident occurred at Pemberton Soaring Centre at Pemberton in British Columbia. The following were considered: The Aircraft Act, 1934; The Aircraft Rules, 1937; The Aeronautics Act, 1985 [Canada]; The Canadian Aviation Regulations [SOR/96433], Concise Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary [9th Edition, 2015] and Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary [4th Edition, 2013]. The conclusion: ‘Smart­-Personal Accident­-Individual Insurance Policy’, in question, has not defined the term ‘standard type of aircraft’ and its usage is ‘vague’. No rigid distinction could be culled out between ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’. Insurance contracts must be precise.

We may fruitfully quote the following observation of this Court in Pushpalaya Printers, (2004) 3 SCC 694: “It is also settled position in law that if there is any ambiguity or a term is capable of two possible interpretations, one beneficial to the insured should be accepted consistent with the purpose for which the policy is taken, namely, to cover the risk on the happening of certain event.” The usage of as vague a phrase as ‘standard type of aircraft’ suggests to us that the same must be construed in a liberal manner so as to benefit the insured.”

Hon’ble Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, Bharti AXA General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Priya Paul, [Civil Appeal No. 3346 of 2018].

Pemberton Soaring Centre suspended its operations due to the tragic accident of 29.06.2013.PSC

Also see, Manmohan Nanda v. United India Assurance, [Civil Appeal No. 8386 of 2015] decided on 06.12.2021.