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New India Assurance Co. Ltd. and anr. Vs. Smt. Urmila Bahri and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Appeal No. 67 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1975All422
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110A(1)
AppellantNew India Assurance Co. Ltd. and anr.
RespondentSmt. Urmila Bahri and ors.
Appellant AdvocateG.K. Sahai, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateL.P. Naithani, Standing Counsel
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - amendment of claim filed - section 110-a (1) of motor vehicles act, 1939 - application for claim filed in time - amendment of same can always be made - no bar of limitation for amendment. - .....single judge by which he allowed the writ petition ,and quashed the order of the motor accidents claims tribunal by which the tribunal had rejected the application of the respondents for en enhanced claim under section 110-a of the motor vehicles act. 2. one devendra bahri had suffered motor accident on january 9, 1970, and was injured, an application under section 110-a was moved by him within limitation. subsequently, he died on november 11, 1970. his heirs, who are respondents in this appeal, moved an application for substitution and amendment of the original application before the tribunal claiming enhancement of the claim of compensation as the victim of the accident had died. they also urged that if amendments were not possible, the claim may be treated as a fresh claim. the.....
Judgment:

Hari Swarup, J.

1. This appeal has been filed against the judgment of a learned Single Judge by which he allowed the writ petition ,and quashed the order of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal by which the Tribunal had rejected the application of the respondents for en enhanced claim under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act.

2. One Devendra Bahri had suffered motor accident on January 9, 1970, and was injured, An application under Section 110-A was moved by him within limitation. Subsequently, he died on November 11, 1970. His heirs, who are respondents in this appeal, moved an application for substitution and amendment of the original application before the Tribunal claiming enhancement of the claim of compensation as the victim of the accident had died. They also urged that if amendments were not possible, the claim may be treated as a fresh claim. The Tribunal allowed the application for substitution but dismissed the other applications holding that the applications for fresh claim and the enhanced claim were barred by limitation and there was no sufficient cause for condoning the delay. Against the order rejecting the applications a writ petition was filed it has been allowed by the learned Single Judge and the order of the Tribunal dismissing the application for amendment has been set aside. The result of the judgment is that the Tribunal will now permit the amendment to be made in the application for enhanced claim.

3. The learned Single Judge has taken the view that the application once moved within time for a claim under Section 110-A can be amended for a higher amount of claim, in case death subsequently occurs, even though it may be moved after the limitation for filing a fresh application has expired. He has further held that the circumstances of the case were sufficient to justify extension of time for entertainment of the claim even if the period of limitation prescribed by law was applicable, and that the Tribunal was in error in not extending that period under the proviso to Sub-section (3) of Section 110-A of the Act.

Section 110-A (1) reads as under:

'An application for compensation arising out of an accident of the nature specified in Sub-section (1) of Section 110 may be made--

(a) by the person who has sustained the injury; or

(b) where death has resulted from the accident, by all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased; or

(c) by any agent duly authorised by the person injured or all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased, as the case may be.

(2) Every application under Sub-section (1) shall be made to the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred, and shall be in such form and shall contain such particulars as may be prescribed.

(3) No application for compensation under this section shall be entertained unless it is made within six months of the occurrence of the accident.'

The cause of action for the claim in either case, whether the application is made by the injured or his heirs after death, arises with accident. The application contemplated by Section 110-A in either case is only for compensation payable for the injury sustained by the victim during the accident. Hence, once an application has been moved within time for a claim, its amendment can always be made as there is no provision in the Act prohibiting the amendment of the application after the lapse of a particular time. As the application has to be only for compensation for the injury suffered during the accident, the question of the claim becoming barred after the Tribunal has been moved within time through a proper application does not arise. The determination of the quantum of compensation will depend upon the final consequences of the accident. Under Section 110-B, the Tribunal has to award such compensation as may appear to it to be just. It is under law also the duty of the Tribunal to specify the persons to whom compensation shall be paid. The petitioners only sought to bring to the notice of the Tribunal the subsequent event of death which might be proved to be a relevant fact for determination of the quantum of compensation and the persons entitled thereto. The purpose of the law is to give compensation for the injury suffered by a person to the victim, and to his heirs in case he dies. The fixation of the amount of compensation is the job of the Tribunal and not the applicant. It is more in the nature of evidence of the consequence of the accident than a pleading. But as it is to be the basis for the award of compensation to the heirs, it can be legally introduced in the application as a pleading. No question of bar of limitation arises in such a case. We can see no legal justification in the Tribunal's refusing to permit the introduction of this fact through the amendment of the original application.

4. Even if the application for a higher compensation by the heirs were to be treated as a fresh application, there was sufficient cause which had prevented the applicants from making the application earlier. Unless death had occurred the heirs of the victim had no right or cause of action for lodging a claim. They moved the Tribunal within reasonable time after the death of the victim. The Tribunal has in fact not applied its mind to this aspect. It should have condoned the delay. There was no justification in the Tribunal's refusing to proceed to determine the claim of compensation by ignoring the factum of death or by shutting out the claim based on this fact. Whether death was the consequence of the accident or not will of course be a different matter.

5. The appeal is accordingly dismissed and the Tribunal is directed to proceed with the matter treating the claim as based on injuries caused during the accident and that the victim has died, and to award such compensation which may appear to be just to persons who according to the Tribunal be entitled thereto. Costs on parties.


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