1. The original opponents Nos. 1 and 2, the driver and the owner of truck No. MHS 1229, preferred this appeal against the judgment and decree dated 18th October 1980 passed by she Member of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Jalgaon, ordering the appellants to pay a sum of Rs. 8,915/- to the respondents Nos. 1 to 6, who are the heirs of deceased Sabjobai who was crushed under the truck of the appellants.
2. On 12th September 1979 at about 6 a.m. the appellant No. 1 Pandit Mahipat Soye, who was employed as a driver by the appellant No. 2 Ramesh Gulabchand Varma, was driving truck No. MHS 1229 and was proceeding from Jalgaon towards Erandol. The truck ascended the bridge from Jalgaon town side, came over the top of the bridge and thereafter'took a turn towards left, that is, towards west. The slope of the bridge is from east to west, and after taking the turn the accident took place just about ten to fifteen feet from the right angle turn on the bridge itself. Sabjobai came under the wheels of the truck and died instantaneously. According to the respondents Nos. 1 to 6, who are the heirs of deceased Sabjobai, the death of Sabjobai was caused due to rash and negligent act of the driver of the truck; Sabjobai was a sweeper working in the employment of Jalgaon Municipal Council and her monthly income was Rs. 432/-. Respondents Nos. 1 to 6, as dependents of Sabjobai, claimed a sum of Rs. 70,000/- as compensation. The appellants filed the consolidated written statement Ex. 19 and the opponent No. 3, who is the respondent No. 7, also disputed the claim of the respondents Nos. 1 to 6 by its written statement Ex. 14. The opponents denied that the accident was caused due to the negligence of the driver of the truck. They denied that the driver was rash in driving the truck and as a result thereof the death of Sabjobai was caused. Their case was that just before the accident, when the opponent No. 1 came on the top of the bridge and turned his vehicle towards the western side for going to Erandol, another truck came from the opposite direction in excessive speed. The truck coming from the opposite direction was being driven by the wrong side, and, therefore, the opponent No. 1, to be more cautious, took his vehicle to the left and yet he could not avoid the impact. The truck coming from the opposite direction brushed the opponent No. 1 vehicle and went ahead towards Jalgaon side. According to the opponent No. 1, when the truck coming from the opposite direction brushed his truck, he immediately stopped his vehicle and got down. At that time he got down from the vehicle and noticed a woman in a ditch. The body of the woman was under the left side rear wheels of his truck. He rushed to the police-station and reported the accident. Thus the opponents Nos. 1 and 2 and also the opponent No. 3, the Manager, United India Insurance Company, Jalgaon, denied their liability to compensate the applicants. The quantum of compensation was also disputed.
3. The learned Member of the Tribunal, on considering the evidence on record, found that the accident took place on account of negligence of the opponent No. 1 and as such the applicants were entitled to receive compensation. He determined the compensation at Rs. 8,915/- and ordered the same to be paid with interest from the date of presentation of the claim petition till payment of the amount.
4. Feeling aggrieved, the original opponents Nos. 1 and 2 preferred this appeal.
5. The learned Counsel for the appellants challenged before us only the finding regarding the negligence of the driver of the truck in causing the death of Sabjobai. The finding regarding the quantum of compensation is not. under challenge. He took us through the relevant evidence and the panchnama. There is no eye-witness to the incident. Chintaman Dhondu Thakare (PW 3) deposed that he had heard the sound of the truck while it took turn to the west side, and noticed one woman having a basket and a broomstick. He deposed that he heard the sound of the truck dashing against the railings of the bridge, and thereafter the truck stopped at a distance of about fifteen feet from the turning of the road over the bridge. He went near the truck and saw the woman in the ditch. Her hand only could be seen outside. The left side rear wheels were also in the ditch and the woman was under the wheels. The ditch was about one and a half feet away from the railing on the road side. A panchnama of the place of incident was drawn on the same day between 11.45 a.m. and 12.45 p.m. The original panchnama was filed in a criminal case and its certified copy is at Exhibit 52. Panch Chintaman Thakare proved the contents of the panchnama in his deposition. The reading of the panchnama shows that the north-south width of the tarred road is twenty feet and on both sides of the road on the bridge there are iron pipe railings of the height of three and a half feet. The ditch in which the woman was found crushed under the left side rear wheels of the truck was of the length of three and a half feet with a depth of one and a half feet. As stated earlier, it was at a distance of one and a half feet from the railings on the southern side. The recitals in the panchnama show that the vehicle had dashed on the railings on the southern side and, the railings had bent and some of the poles got uprooted. There was extensive damage to the vehicle on the side of the railings. The front left side mudguard of the vehicle was found damaged and on that mudguard at two places there were small fresh blood stains. On the right hand side of the vehicle there were some scratches. The mudguard on the front right wheel was found somewhat pressed and one wooden plank of fourteen inches length on the driver's side of the vehicle was found broken. Thus the damage to the vehicle was mostly on the left hand side, that is, the portion of the vehicle on the side of the railing against which it had dashed. The very fact that the mudguard on the front wheel was pressed and there were blood stains indicates that the woman was dashed and thrown in the ditch and the left side rear wheels of the vehicle also entered into the ditch over the body of the woman. Except the word of the driver and some scratches noticed on the right hand side of the vehicle, there is no evidence that another truck came from the opposite direction in a high speed and it dashed against the right hand side of the vehicle of the opponents Nos. 2 and 2. Even assuming that there was some truck which came from the opposite direction and dashed the vehicles of the opponents, the opponent No. 1 was not expected to take his vehicle to the extreme left and dash against the railings. The situation at the place of the accident depicted in the panchnama clearly reveals that the opponent No. 1 was negligent in going to the extreme left and dashing his vehicle against the railings and in doing so he crushed Sabjobai who was on the extreme left of the road.
6. Consequently, we find that under the circumstances of this case the learned Member of the Tribunal was perfectly right in finding that it was due to the negligence of the opponent No. 1 that the woman was dashed and crushed under the truck. Consequently, the learned Member of the Tribunal was right in finding that the opponents were liable to pay compensation to the applicants before him. As stated earlier, the compensation awarded is not challenged before us.
7. There is thus no substance in the appeal. It is dismissed with costs.