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Smt. Urmil Bahri and ors. Vs. Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petn. No. 2974 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1975All198
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110A and 110A(3)
AppellantSmt. Urmil Bahri and ors.
RespondentMotor Accidents Claims Tribunal and ors.
Appellant AdvocateL.P. Naithani, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - compensation - section 110-a of motor vehicles act, 1939 - claim application filed for the damages for the injuries sustained in an accident - applicant dies due to injuries while application for claim pending in the court - legal heir of the applicant can contest the case and entitled to enhance the claim money as application was filed within time. - - the proviso added to this section confers jurisdiction on the claims tribunal to extend the period of limitation so provided, in case it is satisfied that sufficient ground exists for not making the application within time......filing of this claim, he died on 14-11-1970. on 2.8-11-1970, an application was moved before the claims tribunal for being permitted to amend the claim by enhancing the amount of damages claimed. the reason for enhancement of the claim was the death of mr. devendra bahri, and in the application it was alleged that the deceased had died on account of the injuries suffered in the accident. the tribunal has rejected the claim of the widow and the minor sons and they have filed the present petition challenging that order.2. under section 110-a of the motor vehicles act, a speedy remedy has been provided for adjudicating upon claims for compensation made by persons who have been injured or killed in a motor accident. section 110-a (3) of the act provides for the period of limitation for.....
Judgment:
ORDER

C.S.P. Singh, J.

1. Devendra Bahri, a practising lawyer of this Court met with a car accident, as a result of which he sustained injuries. He filed a claim for damages for the injuries so received. Subsequent to the filing of this claim, he died on 14-11-1970. On 2.8-11-1970, an application was moved before the Claims Tribunal for being permitted to amend the claim by enhancing the amount of damages claimed. The reason for enhancement of the claim was the death of Mr. Devendra Bahri, and in the application it was alleged that the deceased had died on account of the injuries suffered in the accident. The Tribunal has rejected the claim of the widow and the minor sons and they have filed the present petition challenging that order.

2. Under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, a speedy remedy has been provided for adjudicating upon claims for compensation made by persons who have been injured or killed in a motor accident. Section 110-A (3) of the Act provides for the period of limitation for making such a claim. The proviso added to this section confers jurisdiction on the Claims Tribunal to extend the period of limitation so provided, in case it is satisfied that sufficient ground exists for not making the application within time. Under the common law, damages can be claimed not only in respect of injuries suffered but also for the death. In cases, where death is not instantaneous, damages are payable for the pain and suffering and other expenses as also for the loss to the estate of the deceased as a result of the death. The phraseology of Section 110-A of the Act is such that it embraces not only cases where death is instantaneous, but also those cases where death occurs later due to injury suffered at the accident. The beneficent purpose of Section 110-A would be nullified in case it is confined to cases of instantaneous death. Such an interpretation would not only limit full import of the language employed in the section, but also result in importing unreasonableness to the legislature. For, the result on such a construction would be that while claims could be filed before the Tribunal in cases of instantaneous death, cases in which death occurs later would fall outside their purview. Keeping in view the beneficent nature of the legislation, it would not be proper to adopt such a construction. This aspect of the matter must be kept in mind while interpreting Section 110-A (3), when we come to a case where the injured dies after the statutory period of limitation, provided for making a claim for damages on account of death has run out. It appears that one of the ways in which the legislature has solved this difficulty is by adding a proviso to Section 110-A (3) of the Act, which gives discretion to the Claims Tribunal to entertain an application after the expiry of the period of limitation set out in Sub-section (3) of Section 110-A of the Act. In the present case. Davendra Bahri died on 14-11-1970 and the application was moved on 28-11-1970. Davendra Bahri was a Hindu, and it is common knowledge that the minimum period for mourning is 13 days. The family members of the deceased would have been in mourning till 26th or 27th November, 1970. An application claiming a larger amount of damages on account of the death of Sri Davendra Bahri could not have been made earlier than 14-11-1970 i.e. before his death. The application was moved on 28-11-1970 i.e. a day or two after the period of mourning was over. There was thus sufficient ground for condonation of delay, and the Claims Tribunal erred in not condoning the delay, if any, under the proviso to Sub-section (3) of Section 110-A of the Act. This apart, it appears that once an application for compensation has been made by an injured within the time, and he dies subsequently, enhanced damages may be claimed by way of amendment, without coming within the mischief of Section 110-A (3) of the Act. This is so, because all that Sub-section (3) insists upon is that application for compensation, whether it be on account of the injuries suffered or on account of death, should be made within the statutory period prescribed therein, and once such an application has been made, the requirement of limitation as set out in the section is met. In the present case, the application had been made within time and as such no question of any limitation arose.

3. The petition is accordingly allowed. The order of the Claims Tribunal rejecting the application of the petitioners for amending the application for compensation is set aside. The petitioners are entitled to their costs.


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