1. M.F.A. No. 194 of 1979 is by the driver of the vehicle and is directed against the judgment and award dated October 23, 1978, passed by the District Judge & Member, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Raichur, in Miscellaneous (MVC) Case No. 4 of 1977, on his file, awarding a sum of Rs. 6,000 as compensation from the driver.
2. A girl of 6 years died as the result of an accident that happened on December 1, 1976, at 4-30 p.m. on Raichur Sindhnoor Main Road. The Tribunal has held that the accident was the result of the rash and negligent driving of the lorry bearing No. MYR 5059 by its driver. Having held so, the Tribunal fixed the compensation at Rs. 6,000 for the death of a girl aged six years. But, while giving the award, the Tribunal fixed the liability only against the driver of the vehicle and the same is challenged in this appeal before us.
3. It is no doubt true that in the case of a vehicle, which is the subject-matter of an hire purchase agreement, the person, who is actually in possession of the vehicle, is responsible and liable for any damages arising out of the accident in the use of the vehicle. In the instant case, the hirer is rightly styled as the owner, as contemplated under the Motor Vehicles Act. He is made respondent No. 1 in the original petition. The driver was employed by the said owner and the accident occurred in the course of the employment of the driver under the said owner. It is, therefore, obvious that the owner and driver are both liable. The driver is liable because of primary liability in committing the accident. The owner, namely, the hirer, is liable vicariously. Since the owner is liable, the insurance company is bound to make good or indemnify the liability that is saddled on the owner. Hence, the owner, driver and the insurance company are all liable to pay the compensation. The Tribunal is, therefore, in error in fixing the liability only against the driver.
4. In the result, the appeal, viz., Miscellaneous First Appeal No. 194 of 1979, is allowed. The award made by the Tribunal is modified. We award Rs. 6,000 as compensation along with interest and costs in favour of the claimants from respondents Nos. 1 to 3. Under s. 110B of the Motor Vehicles Act, we direct that the entire compensation shall be paid over by the insurance company who is arrayed as respondent No. 3 in the original petition, along with costs and interest awarded by the Tribunal.
5. In the view that we have taken in the above appeal, we partly allow Miscellaneous First Appeal No. 399 of 1979. The insurance company is already made liable in the above appeal. The claim of the appellants, however, for enhancement of damages awarded is liable to be dismissed.
6. The girl was aged about 6 years at the time of the accident. The compensation that has to be awarded in the instant case is for loss of expectation of her future happy life. It is fixed at the conventional figure at Rs. 5,000. In addition to it, Rs. 1,000 is given taking into consideration the potential of the girl in helping the family. Hence, the award made by the Tribunal is quite just and reasonable. We have no reason to interfere with the award made by the Tribunal. Hence, the claim made for enhancement of compensation is hereby dismissed.
7. No costs.