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Jagannath Singh and anr. Vs. Pragi Kunwar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1949All448
AppellantJagannath Singh and anr.
RespondentPragi Kunwar and ors.
Excerpt:
- - it may be noted here that the defendants had pleaded that the suit was bad for multifariousness. the wrongful act by which death is caused is clearly an 'actionable wrong. 11. therefore, the present suit for compensation was clearly maintainable......act, 1855, was 'to provide compensation to families for loss occasioned by the death of a person caused by actionable wrong,' that is to say, if 'by actionable wrong' the death of any person was caused and his family had suffered 'loss' on account of his death, they could claim 'compensation' from the wrong doer. the preamble makes the intention further clear. it says:whereas no action or suit is now maintainable in any court against a person who, by his wrongful act, neglect or default, may have caused the death of another person, and it is often-time right and expedient that the wrong-doer in such case should be answerable in damages for the injury so caused by him.consequently, the wrong doer could be 'answerable in damages for the injury' caused by his wrongful act, which.....
Judgment:

Bhargava, J.

1. On 21st June 1939, Jai Ram was murdered. The suit, which has given rise to was this appeal, was instituted by Jai Ram's widow, Shrimati Pragi Kunwar, on her own behalf and on behalf of her two minor sons, to recover a sum of Rs. 2000 by way of damages from the two appellants, Jagannath Singh and Ram Nath Singh, and certain other persons, who were said to have committed the murder or were otherwise responsible for it. The claim for damages was based on loss of company and support, which the plaintiffs had suffered due to the wrongful act of the defendants. The defendants denied having committed the murder and contended that the suit was not maintainable and the amount of damages claimed was excessive.

2. The Courts below have found that the defendants had caused the death of Jai Ram; that the suit was maintainable; and that the plaintiffs were entitled to recover the amount of damages claimed.

3. In this appeal, the learned Counsel for the appellants has contended that the plaintiffs not having made all the persons responsible for the murder of Jai Ram parties to the suit and having released some of them from liability, the suit was not maintainable against others. In other words, the release of some of the joint tort-feasors amounted to release of all of them.

4. It is true that a mob of thirty or forty persons was alleged to have collected when Jai Ram was shot dead; but the defendants were the only persons who were found guilty in connection with the murder. It has not been proved that anyone else was responsible for the murder. The Courts below have found that the persons who were made parties to the suit were the only persons responsible for the murder of Jai Ram. It may be noted here that the defendants had pleaded that the suit was bad for multifariousness. Consequently, it cannot be said that the plaintiffs had released any of the joint tortfeasors.

5. The trial Court had pointed out that the suit was maintainable under the Fatal Accidents Act (XIII [13] of 1855). The appellants' learned Counsel has contended that the provisions of that Act are not applicable to the facts of the present case; but I find no force in this contention.

6. The intention of the Legislature in enacting the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855, was 'to provide compensation to families for loss occasioned by the death of a person caused by actionable wrong,' that is to say, if 'by actionable wrong' the death of any person was caused and his family had suffered 'loss' on account of his death, they could claim 'compensation' from the wrong doer. The preamble makes the intention further clear. It says:

Whereas no action or suit is now maintainable in any Court against a person who, by his wrongful act, neglect or default, may have caused the death of another person, and it is often-time right and expedient that the wrong-doer in such case should be answerable in damages for the injury so caused by him.

Consequently, the wrong doer could be 'answerable in damages for the injury' caused by his wrongful act, which caused death, to the per-son entitled to put forward a claim under the provisions of the Act.

7. Section 1 of the Act lays down:

Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by Wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would (if death had not ensued) have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the party who would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action or suit for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to felony or other crime.

8. Therefore, the plaintiffs could maintain an action for damages against the defendants who were the wrong doers for the loss caused by 'their wrongful act.

9. The appellants' learned Counsel has contended that the remedy provided by the Act must be confined to an action for the injury caused to the deceased and in respect of which he could have maintained an action in case he had survived; but the intention of the Legislature was to provide an independent remedy by way of compensation for loss suffered by the family of the deceased. The wrongful act by which death is caused is clearly an 'actionable wrong.' The right given by the Act to the family to obtain compensation for such an actionable wrong is quite independent of the right which the deceased would have had in case he had survived -it can be exercised 'notwithstanding the death of the person injured.' The action contemplated by the Act is an action for the benefit of the wife and the children of the deceased.

10. The learned Counsel for the appellants has invited my attention to the English law on the subject; but in face of the clear provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act, it is not necessary to refer to the English law on the subject.

11. Therefore, the present suit for compensation was clearly maintainable. The amount of damages awarded by the Courts below is not excessive. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs. The order of stay is vacated.

12. The learned Counsel for the appellants has applied for leave to further appeal. If he is entitled to file a further appeal, the leave applied for is granted.


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