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Fateh Singh and anr. Vs. State of U.P. Through Chief Secretary - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1984)ACC267
AppellantFateh Singh and anr.
RespondentState of U.P. Through Chief Secretary
Excerpt:
- - 7. the tribunal held that the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of the station wagon, that opposite party number 4 has been unnecessarily impleaded, that the claimants failed to prove that mahendra singh beniwal had a driving licence at the time of the accident, that the life expectancy in the family of the deceased was 70 years, that applicants could claim a compensation of rs. he did so on account of the bad condition of the road and dazzling light of the bus. the tyres and the tubes of the station wagon and the brakes were in good condition......under section 110-d of the motor vehicles act against the order dated 19.11.1975 passed by the motor accidents claims tribunal (vth additional district judge) saharanpur.2. the facts giving rise to this appeal are that seargent mahendra singh beniwal met with an accident on 23.8.1969 at 9.15 p.m. in village rampur p.s. roorkee on the saharanpur-roorkee road. he was going on motor cycle no. d.l.m. 7944, on his way from saharanpur to roorkee, p.w. 1 balbir singh was accompanying seargant mahendra singh beniwal on the pillion of the motor cycle. respondent no. 5 is the owner of the motor cycle. station wagon no. u.s.p.q. 5986 came from the opposite direction its way from roorkee to saharanpur. a roadways bus was going ahead of the motor cycle. after crossing the bus, the station wagon.....
Judgment:

O.P. Saxena, J.

1. This is an appeal under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act against the order dated 19.11.1975 passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (Vth Additional District Judge) Saharanpur.

2. The facts giving rise to this appeal are that Seargent Mahendra Singh Beniwal met with an accident on 23.8.1969 at 9.15 P.M. in village Rampur P.S. Roorkee on the Saharanpur-Roorkee road. He was going on motor cycle No. D.L.M. 7944, on his way from Saharanpur to Roorkee, P.W. 1 Balbir Singh was accompanying Seargant Mahendra Singh Beniwal on the pillion of the motor cycle. Respondent No. 5 is the owner of the motor cycle. Station Wagon No. U.S.P.Q. 5986 came from the opposite direction its way from Roorkee to Saharanpur. A Roadways Bus was going ahead of the motor cycle. After crossing the bus, the station wagon dashed against the motor cycle as a result of which Seargent Mahendra Singh Beniwal was thrown on the road and received serious injuries to which he succumbed on the spot.

3. On 22.10.1969 the applicants, being the widow and the parents of the deceased, filed an application claiming Rs. 2 Lacs as compensation. It was said that the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of the station wagon by respondent number 2 Kishan Lal.

4. The application was contested by respondents numbers 1, 2 and 3 (opposite parties Nos. 1, 2 and 5) with the allegations that the station wagon was being driven with due care and caution, that the head lights of the bus coming from the opposite direction were dazzling, that the driver of station wagon skidded towards the right due to the slippery road caused by rains, that the motor cycle was being driven rashly and negligently and it struck against the right front wheel on the station wagon, that the station wagon took a round about turn with its front facing towards Roorkee, that the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of the motor cycle, and that the amount of compensation claimed was excessive.

5. Respondent number 6 (opposite party No. 4) contested the claim with the allegations that the deceased had no driving licence, that a specific condition of the insurance policy was contravened in as much as the vehicle was being driven by a person who did not hold a valid driving licence and that the opposite party number 4 is not liable.

6. Opposite party number 2 Kishan Lal and opposite party number 3 Chandgi Ram did not contest the application.

7. The Tribunal held that the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of the station wagon, that opposite party number 4 has been unnecessarily impleaded, that the claimants failed to prove that Mahendra Singh Beniwal had a driving licence at the time of the accident, that the life expectancy in the family of the deceased was 70 years, that applicants could claim a compensation of Rs. 18,000/- by way of pecuniary loss suffered by them, that the applicants received a sum of Rs. 12,000/- on insurance policy, that applicant number 1 Smt. Savitri Devi, widow, is getting Rs. 51/- Per mensem as pension from the Air Force, that the pecuniary advantage claimed by Smt. Savitri Devi would far exceed the pension for life, and that the applicants were not entitled to any compensation. With these findings the petition was dismissed with costs on parties.

8. The first point urged by learned Counsel for the appellants is that the Tribunal erred in holding that the amount of insurance and pension was liable to be deducted from the amount of compensation determined. Reliance was placed on the case of Smt. Krishna Sehgal v. U.P. State Road Transport Corporation A.I.R. 1983 Allahabad 159 In support of this contention that the amount of insurance, gratuity and pension payable to the applicants is not liable to be deducted. In view of this authority we accept the contention of the learned Counsel for the appellants and hold that the Tribunal was not entitled to deduct the amount.

9. The second point urged by the learned Counsel for the appellants is that the compensation fixed by the Tribunal is inadequate. It was submitted that the Tribunal fixed a compensation of Rs. 18,000/- by adopting the multiplier of 15, while a multiplier of 20 should have been adopted. The deceased was in the Air Force at the time of the accident. His salary was about Rs. 300/- per mensem. He had to remain away from his family and had to spend for his separate living expenses. The Tribunal rightly held that the pecuniary loss to the claimants amounted to Rs. 100/- per mensem and thus fixed the yearly loss at Rs. 1200/-. The deceased was about 27 years old. In Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation v. Sudhakar A.I.R. 1977 Supreme Court 1189 the deceased was aged 23 years. She had 35 years of service at the time of the accident. A multiplier of 20 was approved by the Supreme Court. In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Subhagwati and Ors. A.I.R. 1968 S.C. 1750 the deceased was aged 30 years and the Supreme Court used the multiplier of 15. In U.P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Raja Ram 1981 A.L.J. 955 the deceased was 34 years old and a multiplier of 15 was applied. The principles of employing multiplier have also been discussed in Lakshman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur . In view of the age of the deceased, the Tribunal rightly applied the multiplier of 15 and rightly determined the compensation as Rs. 18,000/-. We are unable to accept the contention of the learned Counsel for the appellants.

10. The learned Counsel for respondent number 3, however, assailed the finding of the Tribunal regarding the accident having been caused due to the rash and negligent driving of that station wagon and submitted that the accident was wholly beyond the control of the driver of the station wagon and was caused due to the negligence of the deceased who was driving the motor cycle. He, therefore, urged that the applicants are not entitled to any compensation.

11. The undisputed facts are that the accident took place on 23.8.1969 at 9.15 P.M. on the Saharanpur Roorkee road. The deceased was going on motor cycle Number D.M.L. 7944 on his way from Saharanpur to Roorkee. P.W. 1 Balbir Singh was sitting on the pillion of the motor cycle. A Roadways bus was going ahead of the motor cycle. Station Wagon number U.S.Q. 9986 came from the opposite direction on its way from Roorkee to Saharanpur. It was being driven by D.W. 1. Kishan Lal. The accident took place after the station wagon had crossed the bus. The deceased was thrown away from the motor cycle and he received severe injuries resulting in his death on the spot.

12. P.W. 1 Balbir Singh and D.W. 1 Kishan Lal have deposed in support of their respective versions.

13. P.W. 1 Balbir Singh stated that the deceased was the son of his maternal uncle. They were going on motor cycle from Delhi to Hardwar. They left Delhi at about 2.00 P.M. They reached Shamli about 4.00 P.M. They stayed their for about half-an-hour and checked the motor cycle. They went to Saharanpur reaching there at about 8.00 P.M. They took petrol there and proceeded towards Roorkee. The accident took place at about 9.15 P.M. While they were going from Saharanpur to Roorkee and had gone 26 miles, ahead of Saharanpur. The bus was going 25 or 30 paces ahead of the motor cycle. The head lights of the motor cycle were in proper condition. The Station Wagon came from the opposite direction at a fast speed and after crossing the bus it dashed against the right side of motor cycle. As a result of the collision the station wagon took a round about turn and the motor cycle fell down on the left side. It was running slowly at that time. He and the deceased both received injuries and after about an hour the deceased succumbed to the injuries on the spot. He could not tell if the head lights of the bus going ahead of him were switched on at that time. He took the plea that he was behind the bus. He could not tell the speed of the station wagon. He denied that the motor cycle was coming immediately behind the bus and was not at a distance of 25 or 30 yards. He did not dispute that Kishan Lal applied the brakes after crossing the bus. He stated that immediately after this right wheel of the station wagon struck against the motor cycle. The road is about 20 or 25 ft. wide. As a result of the collision the station wagon took a round about turn and its front portion was facing towards Dehradun. His version is that the station wagon took a round about turn after going about 15 ft. from the place where it dashed against the motor cycle. He did not dispute that the road was slippery on account of rains. He denied that Kishan Lal was driving the station wagon slowly.

14. D.W. 1 Kishan stated that he had taken Sri K.D. Arora, Asstt. Regional Manager, Saharanpur for checking and that the latter stayed on at Meerut and he was returning all alone. He left Meerut at 4.00 P.M. He stopped at Muzaffarnagar and Roorkee and went to the Roadways Bus Stand. He left Roorkee at about 9.00 P.M. on his way to Saharanpur. The accident took place at about two miles from Roorkee. A bus was coming from the opposite direction. Head lights of the bus were dazzling and he applied brakes. It was raining at that time. The road was slippery. The station wagon crossed the bus. The motor cycle was coming immediately behind the bus. As a result of the application of brakes the station wagon skidded and the motor cycle dashed against it. The station wagon took a round about turn and its front portion was facing Roorkee. In his cross-examination he stated that the road at the place of the accident was straight. He had seen the bus from about a furlong and a half. He had given the dipper, but the driver of the bus did not respond. After skidding the station wagon turned towards the right. He could not see motor cycle before the accident as he was just behind the bus. When the station wagon crossed the bus coming from the opposite direction, the bus was coming on the left side. He could not see as to what was the difference between the two vehicles when he crossed the bus. He applied brakes when the bus came near him. He did so on account of the bad condition of the road and dazzling light of the bus. The tyres and the tubes of the station wagon and the brakes were in good condition. The vehicle was daily checked at the Roadways Depot. He did not lodge any report at the police station. He gave a report to the station-incharge, Roadways station, Saharanpur. His hand was fractured and he had to go to the hospital. The station wagon was not damaged. The station wagon stopped at about 50 feet from the place where collision took place. The car did not turn before the collision. After the collision the car moved about 50 feet towards Saharanpur and then turned towards the right facing toward Roorkee. We have carefully considered the two statements. The claimants did not file the copy of the report lodged regarding the accident. The driver did not lodge any report. The respondent number 3 did not file the copy of the report submitted by the driver to the Station Incharge, Saharanpur Roadways, Bus Station. It did not examine the mechanic who checked the station wagon before it was taken out from the depot on the date of accident. There is no evidence to show as to when the tyres were purchased. The statement of D.W. 1 Kishan Lal shows that the station wagon did not take a round about turn immediately after crossing the bus. It went 50 feet towards Saharanpur and it was after this that it took a round about turn and stopped at the 'Kachhi' patri facing towards Roorkee. There is no corroboration of the statement of D.W. 1 Kishan Lal that the motor cycle was coming at a distance of about 25 or 30 feet from the bus, had this been the position he would have been able to see the head lights of the bus going ahead of him. He could not tell if the head lights of the bus were switched on at the time of the accident. To us it appears that both the deceased and D.W. 1 Kishan Lal were negligent and the accident was a result of contributory negligence. It is highly probable that the motor cycle was being driven too close to the bus and the driver of the station wagon could not see it coming. It is also probable that the station wagon was being driven at a fairly fast speed. The statement of D.W. 1 Kishan Lal shows that he applied the brakes only when he came close to the bus. The circumstances that the station wagon kept on moving for about 50 feet even after the collision and it was then that it could stop and took a round about turn shows that the driver had no control over the vehicle. We are of the opinion that the liability of the driver of the station wagon was 70% and the liability of the deceased was 30%. Anjana Devi v. Arumughan and Anr. : AIR1983Mad283 may be referred to.

15. In view of our finding above, the claimants are entitled to only 70% of the compensation determined by the Tribunal. They are entitled to a sum of Rs. 12,600/-.

16. We allow the appeal partly and set aside the order passed by the Tribunal. The applicants are awarded Rs. 12,600/- as compensation against respondents numbers 2 and 3, Kishan Lal and U.P. State Road Transport Corporation. The other respondents are not liable and have been unnecessarily impleaded. In the circumstances as the cost shall be easy.


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