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United India Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Mathurabai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC390
AppellantUnited India Insurance Co. Ltd.
RespondentMathurabai and ors.
Excerpt:
.....singh to radhakisan only after the payment of the balance amount of rs. 37,000/- only, thus the success was to the extent of less than half the amount claimed by the petitioners, and as such the learned member of the tribunal appears to have ordered the parties to bear their own costs......and the owner of the truck and also by the appellant. the claims was for rs. 1,00.000/-. the learned member of the tribunal, after considering the evidence adduced by the parties, found that prithipal singh was the owner of the truck on the date of the incident and that the insurance policy was in force on that day. as regards the quantum of compensation, he determined it at rs. 37,000/-.3. feeling aggrieved, the insurance company preferred this appeal and the respondents filed cross objections and sought increase in the compensation.4. the only point urged on behalf of the appellant is that prithipal singh had sold the truck long before the date of the incident to the opponent no. 2 sometime in october 1980 and as such the insurance policy taken out by prithipal singh in respect.....
Judgment:

Tated, J.

1. The original opponent No. 3, United India Insurance Co. Ltd., Polan Peth, Jalgaon, preferred this appeal against the award passed by the Member of the Motor Accidents claims Tribunal, Jalgaon, on 18th December 1982 in Motor Accident claims Petition, No. 21 of 1981 decreeing the original petitioners' claims to the extent of Rs. 37000/- with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date of the application till payment.

2. The facts giving rise to this appeal are that truck No. MHS 5210, owned by Prithipalsingh Amritsingh, opponent No. 2A, and insured with the appellant, dashed against a boy, Bhanudas alias Madhukar Ramdas Bari, aged about 20 years, on 8th March 1981 at about 7 a m. within the area of Village Shirsoli on Jalgaon-Shirsoli Road and the boy succumbed to the injuries sustained by the dash. He was standing near a stationary truck bearing No. MHV 7490 when the truck of Prithipalsingh dashed against the stationary truck and also against him. The dependants of Bhanudas filed an application for compensation. It was opposed by the driver and the owner of the truck and also by the appellant. The claims was for Rs. 1,00.000/-. The learned Member of the Tribunal, after considering the evidence adduced by the parties, found that Prithipal singh was the owner of the truck on the date of the incident and that the insurance policy was in force on that day. As regards the quantum of compensation, he determined it at Rs. 37,000/-.

3. Feeling aggrieved, the Insurance Company preferred this appeal and the respondents filed cross objections and sought increase in the compensation.

4. The only point urged on behalf of the appellant is that Prithipal singh had sold the truck long before the date of the incident to the opponent No. 2 sometime in October 1980 and as such the insurance policy taken out by Prithipal singh in respect of the truck in question had lapsed and therefore, the Insurance Company could not be held liable to pay the amount under the said policy. The learned Counsel for the appellant pointed out that the agreement to sell the truck between Prithipalsingh and opponent No. 2 Radhakisan Radharam Sindhi took place sometime in October 1980 and in pursuance of that agreement Prithipalsingh had parted with the truck and delivered it to Radhakisan and on the date of the incident Radhakisan was plying the truck. According to him, only a portion of the price of the truck remained to be paid, and that price was paid on 20th May 1981 when the truck was transferred in the office of the R.T.O. in favour of Radhakisan. He submits that the property in the truck had passed on to Radhakisan in October 1980 and only the formal act of change of registration remained, and that was done in May 1981 and after the registration in favour of Radhakisan the policy was also transferred in his name. Thus, according to him, on the date of the incident Prithipalsingh, who had taken out the policy, was no longer the owner of the vehicle, and as such the Insurance Company could not be held liable for payment of the compensation under the policy taken out by Prithipal singh.

5. On considering the evidence adduced by the parties, we are unable to agree with the learned Counsel. The Insurance Company examined Prithipal singh, and he in his examination-in-chief in clear terms stated that it was agreed between him and Radhakisan that so long as the balance was not paid by Radhakisan, the truck would not be transferred in his name, but till then he would only apply the truck. To the same effect is the evidence of Radhakisan (Ex. 68). Thus the evidence of Prithipalsingh and Radhakisan clearly proves that it was the intention of the parties that the property was to pass from Prithipal singh to Radhakisan only after the payment of the balance amount of Rs. 20,000/- and the transfer of the truck in his name in the R.T.O. records. Therefore, the provisions of Section 19 of the Sale of Goods Act, 1930, are attracted, and as such the learned Member of the Tribunal was right in finding that the property in the truck had not passed from Prithipalsingh to Radhakisan on the date of the incident and that the insurance policy was in force on that day and the Insurance Company was liable to pay the amount of compensation under that policy. Consequently, we find that there is no substance in the appeal preferred by the Insurance Company and it is hereby dismissed. There shall be no order as to the costs of the appeal.

6. It takes us to the cross objections filed by the respondent Nos. 1 to 4. The learned Counsel Mr. Phadkar contends that deceased Bhanudas on the date of the incident was about 20 years of age and he would have lived up to the age of 70 years. According to him, the learned Member of the Tribunal was wrong in having the multiple of 20 only for ascertaining the total pecuniary loss. He submits that this multiple should have been 40, taking into consideration the expectancy of the life of Bhanudas. We are unable to agree with the learned Counsel for the appellant that the compensation determined by the learned Member of the Tribunal at Rs. 37,000/- was not adequate. The learned Member of the Tribunal found that the earnings of Bhanudas were on an average Rs. 250/- per month, and after deducting Rs. 100/- per month towards his food, clothing, etc., he could spare Rs. 150/-per month for his family members. He multiplied Rs. 150/- by 12 into 20 and worked out Rs. 36,000/- and deducted 25% on account of grant of lump sum amount and thus arrived at the figure of Rs. 27,000/-. Besides the amount of Rs. 27,000/, he has granted Rs. 10,000/- as general damages and thus worked out the total compensation at Rs. 37,000/-. Taking into consideration the age of deceased Bhanudas, his earnings and the dependency of the petitioners, we find that the compensation of Rs. 37,000/- determined by the learned Member of the Tribunal is proper and adequate.

7. The learned Counsel for respondent Nos. 1 to 4 pointed out that the learned Member of the Tribunal was wrong in not awarding costs to the respondents. It is true that respondent Nos. 1 to 4, who were the petitioners in the trial Court, had claimed Rs. 1,00,000/- as compensation and the trial Court awarded Rs. 37,000/- only, Thus the success was to the extent of less than half the amount claimed by the petitioners, and as such the learned Member of the Tribunal appears to have ordered the parties to bear their own costs. In the petitions for compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, the parties ordinarily should not be mulcted in costs simply because they claim excessive compensation. In the present case the learned Member of the Tribunal should have at least granted proportionate costs to the respondents Nos. 1 to 4. In this view of the matter, we allow costs in the trial Court to respondents Nos. 1 to 4 and quantify the same at Rs. 500/-. We dismiss the rest of the cross objections. There shall be no order as to the costs either in the appeal or in the cross objections.


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