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Akhil Chandra Bhowmik Vs. Gurdit Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Motor Vehicles
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Case NumberM.A. (F) No. 20 of 1974
Judge
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110 and 110B
AppellantAkhil Chandra Bhowmik
RespondentGurdit Singh and anr.
Advocates:T.N. Phukan, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....claimant collected the number from a responsible or reliable person or a person who had seen the..........the claimant was conducted by an advocate. as such, we conclude that the omission to mention the truck number was not an accidental omission due to lack of legal aid but in fact and in reality the witnesses could not place or identify the number of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.8. now, let us turn to the evidence of the claimant who examined himself as the last witness. it is pathetic and rueful that he lost his youthful son, a victim of the running down accident. however, we cannot saddle any of the opposite parties with any liability unless we find some material to show that their vehicle was responsible for the accident. we find that the claimant, shri akhil chandra bhowmik, is not an eye-witness. the witness nowhere stated in his evidence that vehicle no. asj 2254 was.....
Judgment:

Lahiri, J.

1. This appeal is against the judgment and order dated 15-12-73 passed by the Presiding Officer, Motor Accident Claims Tribunal at Jorhat in M.A.C. Case No. 88/68.

2. The learned Tribunal has dismissed the claim for compensation for the death of the claimant's son in a motor accident which occurred on 28-6-64. The learned Tribunal concluded that the claimant had failed to discharge his burden to establish the identity of the 'offending vehicle' or the vehicle involving the accident. The claimant in his petition mentioned that the vehicle responsible for causing death of his son was a truck and set forth the registered number in his claim petition as ASJ 2254. However, the learned Tribunal held that the claimant had miserably failed to adduce any evidence to establish that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was the vehicle responsible for the accident, to fasten liabilities on the insured, insurer or the driver of vehicle No. ASJ 2254.

3. Mr. T. N. Phukan, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the claimant has candidly admitted that none of the witnesses deposed that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was culpable for the death of the boy. But the learned counsel submits that as the claimant had mentioned in the application for compensation that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was the offending vehicle so the reference of 'the vehicle' in the evidence of P. Ws. 3, 4 and 5 meant vehicle No. ASJ 2254 and the evidence should be interpreted in favour of the poor claimant who has lost his young son.

4. We shall undoubtedly try to give meaning to the evidence bearing in mind the colossal loss but all such interpolations or constructions must be in accordance with law. The core of justice is the exclusion of arbitrariness. We are not knight errants nor can we set right every wrong which might be paraded before us without adequate regards to the rules of the game. We are bound within checks, restraints and limit of the laws. We cannot innovate a principle of law of evidence for the case to depart from in the next The principles must be consistent, consonant and uniform. The burden of proof is on the claimant to establish that the opposite parties are obliged to pay compensation. The obligation to pay compensation arises only when the party is legally liable to pay such compensation. The liability accrues only when the person is the owner or driver or person directly or indirectly responsible for the accident, or the insurer who has statutory liabilities. Therefore, in a motor accident case it is the bounden duty of the claimant to establish, inter alia, that (i) a motor vehicle caused the accident resulting in the death or injury of a person, (ii) 'the persons liable' are the insured, insurer, driver of the vehicle or persons responsible for the accident. It may be established by preponderance of probabilities. The claimant alleged in his application that truck No. ASJ 2254 was responsible for the accident. So the owner, driver and the insurer were liable to pay compensation but the focal point is whether he has adduced any evidence or material to show that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was the offending vehicle or the vehicle responsible for the accident.

5. Now let us analyse the legal evidence. P. W. 1, A. K. Goldsmith, Medical Superintendent, Mission Hospital, Jorhat has stated that the boy died in their hospital as a result of the injuries he had sustained. He stated that the boy succumbed in their hospital on 1-7-64. The opposite parties did not dispute that the boy succumbed to the injuries sustained in a motor accident but they firmly asserted in their written statements that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 'is not responsible for the accident'. P. W. 2, B. Borthakur, proved that respondent opposite party Gurdit Singh was the registered owner of truck No. ASJ 2254 during the relevant period. The witnesses are not witnesses to the occurrence, so they had no occasion to implicate vehicle No. ASJ 2254 as the vehicle which caused the accident.

6. Now let us see as to how the claimant could get the number of the truck and how he has established that ASJ 2254 was responsible for the accident. To bear up his case the claimant examined himself and two other witnesses. P. W. 3 Bhabesh Chandra Neog, an eye witness, merely stated that 'a truck' came from the opposite direction and caused the accident. It is true that the truck was driven rashly and negligently but he did not stale the number of the truck. Of course, he claimed that he had noted down the number of lhe truck but he could not recollect the number of lhe offending vehicle nor made any declaration connecting the said vehicle with vehicle No. ASJ 2254. He claimed that he had noted down the number in a piece of paper and passed it on to one Jewel Ahmed. Neither Shri Ahmed was examined nor the paper was produced in Court. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the witness never testified that truck No. ASJ 2254 was 'the truck' which was answerable for running down accident. The witness stated in his evidence that the driver of the truck involved in the accident informed the police about the event. The minimum that was expected from the claimant was just to call for the police records to establish that the truck which caused the accident was No. ASJ 2254. Non-production of the records goes against the case of the claimant. However, instead of drawing any such presumption let us proceed to scrutinise the evidence of the other witnesses to see whether there is any material emanating from any other witness that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was responsible for the accident.

7. P. W. 4, Taznur Ali, is another eyewitness. He saw the accident but could neither give the number of the truck nor could furnish any material to connect 'the said truck' with ASJ 2254. We have examined the records to find out whether the claimant conducted his case himself or engaged any lawyer to prosecute his claim. We find that the case of the claimant was conducted by an Advocate. As such, we conclude that the omission to mention the truck number was not an accidental omission due to lack of legal aid but in fact and in reality the witnesses could not place or identify the number of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.

8. Now, let us turn to the evidence of the claimant who examined himself as the last witness. It is pathetic and rueful that he lost his youthful son, a victim of the running down accident. However, we cannot saddle any of the opposite parties with any liability unless we find some material to show that their vehicle was responsible for the accident. We find that the claimant, Shri Akhil Chandra Bhowmik, is not an eye-witness. The witness nowhere stated in his evidence that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was directly or remotely connected with the unfortunate accident. Queerly enough, the witness did not state as to how he could get the number of the truck to incorporate it in his claim petition. As he was not an eyewitness to the occurrence he had definitely obtained the number from 'some source' which remained undisclosed. Therefore, how is it possible on our part to hold that he got the correct number of the vehicle and had collected the same from 'a reliable person' who had himself seen the occurrence. There is no material to show that the claimant collected the number from a responsible or reliable person or a person who had seen the occurrence. Under these circumstances we cannot act on Akhil's assertion in his claim application that the involved vehicle was truck No. ASJ 2254. We need the testimony of the person who had informed Akhil to test whether we can place some reliance on his statement. It is hardly possible to accept the assertion made in the claim petition when there is absolutely no confirmation thereof in the evidence, more so when the assertion of the claimant was denied in the written statement of the opposite parties. P. W. 5 Akhil even does not state in his evidence that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was responsible for the accident or that he had collected information about its involvement in the accident.

Therefore, we conclude that there is absolutely no evidence that the offending vehicle or the vehicle involved in the accident was ASJ 2254. In the result, we hold that the learned Tribunal is absolutely justified in concluding that there is no evidence that vehicle No. ASJ 2254 was responsible for the accident. As such, the learned Tribunal was justified in concluding that there was no material as to the culpability of the opposite parties to pay compensation. As a result of the foregoing discussions we conclude that there is no scope for interference with the impugned judgment or order and the appeal must be dismissed, which we hereby do. There is no order as to costs.


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