V.V. Vaze, J.
V.V. Vaze, J.
1. Chandrakant Taware a young boy of 16 was riding the front bar of a bicycle with Tanaji Pawar at the seat. They were proceeding on Karve Road towards Paud Fata, Dashbhuja Ganapati Bus Stop. At that bus-stop there is a triangular junction of a road going to Paud Fata and another leading to Kothrud. The road leading to the junction coming from Deccan Gymkhana takes a slight upward gradient. From the junction came a Corporation vehicle driven by Dilip Shirke who had already done 4 trips of transporting the city garbage and was returning from the fourth trip after negotiating a turn at the Paud diversion.
2. According to driver Shirke, he saw the cyclist coming from opposite side and that the one in the driver's seat became inattentive as he wanted to wipe the rain drops that had fallen on his face. The driver shouted at him apprehending that the cyclist was becoming inattentive. All the same, the shouts did not work and the cyclist lost the balance and dashed against the rear side of his vehicle. Against this story, Chandrakant Taware, who was riding the horizontal bar blames the driver as having taken, a turn at Paud Fata and dashed against the cycle.
3. On these facts Chandrakant Taware filed a claim by petition before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal at Pune, which awarded damages to the tune of Rs. 20,000/- to Taware. Hence this appeal.
4. As enumerated above, the parties have led no evidence worth the name and all that we have is the word of the driver against the word of the claimant regarding the manner in which the accident took place. All the same, some help can be obtained from the panchnama which was written immediately, which describes the location of the garbage truck immediately after the accident. The panchas noticed that the road was 20 feet wide and the bus had halted in such a manner that its front right wheel was 15 feet away from the Kerb while the rear right wheel was 9 feet away. The front left wheel was 10 feet away from the bus stop which was located near the kerb of the road.
5. Considering the fact that the road was 20 feet wide, the narrations in the panchnama regarding the location of the garbage truck after the accident, throws considerable light on the mechanics of the accident. If the road was 20 feet wide, the panchnama shows that the truck driver had appropriated more than 1/2 of the width of the road driving the cyclist to a narrow lane 5 feet wide. That probably happened because the truck driver who had already made 4 trips of garbage, had taken a turn from the Paud Fata and while negotiating the are, he traversed beyond the median line of the Karve Road. In defence, the driver maintained that the clearance was given by him to the cyclist whom he saw coming upwards from Deccan Gymkhana side. No doubt a 5 feet wide clearance is good enough for a cyclist to negotiate, but, as the claimant was riding double seat alongwith Tanaji Pawar, probably Tanaji Pawar who has not been examined, lost his balance upon seeing an incoming truck. The story of the driver that Tanaji tried to wipe his face of rain water may or may not be true, but the fact remains that the claimant, by riding double seat is guilty of contributory negligence, because had he not done so, probably a cyclist riding solo could have avoided the accident. All the same the negligence of the truck driver in negotiating the kerb from Paud Fata after appropriating 3/4th of the road to himself and that too at a turn, is writ large in the narration of the panchas.
6. Coming to the question of damages, it appears that the unfortunate applicant is not able to use the muscles of the right hand upper extremity on account of the injury and according to Dr. Rajiv Motowala of the Sassoon Hospital, there is weakness in the small muscles of the applicant's hand due to loss of synergist. The applicant cannot have free movement of his hand against gravity. The applicant being a young boy, was not gainfully employed, but to lose the muscular power of the right hand is itself a disability which the applicant will have to carry with him for a considerable period in his life as a permanent disability, minimizing his chances of employment. Under these circumstances, the quantum cf damages assessed at Rs. 20,000/- cannot be said to be on the high side. All the same, as we have held the applicant responsible for contributory negligence, we find that a reduction of Rs. 5000/- from the assessed figure will meet ends of justice. Appeal allowed partly and the order of the learned Member of the Motor Accidents claims Tribunal is modified by substituting the figure of Rs. 15,000/-for the figure of Rs. 20,000/-being the amount of damages in the first line of the order. Rest of the order to remain as it is. No order as to costs in this appeal.