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New India Assurance Company Vs. E.C. Dean and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC71
AppellantNew India Assurance Company
RespondentE.C. Dean and ors.
Excerpt:
- - in my opinion, it is established by very good evidence on:.....at the time of the accident. that being so, the rashness and negligence on the part of the truck-driver becomes obvious and stands fully established. i do not agree with the learned counsel for the appellant that truck coming from behind could not possibly result in the bus turning turtle. if the truck struck the stationary vehicle with force and. on the right side, it is but natural that the bus would turn turtle on the left side as is asserted by the conductor of the bus mehar singh and abdul kayyum (pw 2). the version of the witnesses that the bus turned turtle as a result of the impact of the truck, therefore, seems quite plausible and i see no ground for not accepting the same.11. learned counsel for the appellant next contended that in the notice which was given on behalf.....
Judgment:

A.N. Verma, J.

1. This appeal has been filed by the New India Assurance Co. against an order passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Saharanpur, whereby the respondent were awarded a sum of Rs. 25,800/-together with interest at 6% per annum from the date of the order till the date of the realization by way of compensation claimed by them as heirs of Rev CF Dean who is alleged to have died as a result of an accident caused by a truck no. USK 8447 which was admittedly insured with the appellant.

2. The relevant facts as asserted in the claim petition filed by the respondents are that op November 19, 1973 Rev CF Dean, a Presbyterian priest in the Church of North India was coming in a U.P. Government Road-ways Bus No. 4217 from Dehradun to Saharanpur. When the bus reached Fatehpur district Saharanpur, the driver parked the bus on the left side of the road close to the bus stand. A truck no. USK 8447 owned by Smt. Kammo Bhatnagar (respondent no. 1 in the claim petition) and driver by Jogendra Singh (respondent no. 2 in the claim petition) came from behind and struck against the stationary bus resulting in grievous injuries to CF Dean who died shortly therefore the same day CF Dean was working as a Presbyterian priest in the aforesaid church in the scale of pay of Rs. 215-10-275 EB 15-350 EB-20-4T0-EB-30-550 per month. At the time of the accident he was drawing a basic pay of Rs. 305/- in addition to children allowance of Rs. 30/-and Rs. 10/- as electricity charges. The claimants were the widow and minor children. The accident was caused by the rash and negligent driving of the aforesaid truck. Consequently the claimants as heirs and dependents of CF Dean were entitled to compensation which they assessed at Rs. 1,00,000/-.

3. The appellant was imp leaded as respondent No. 3 in the claim petition.

4. The claim petition was contested by the owner of the truck and the appellant as the insurer. They did not deny that the truck belonged to the said respondent No. 1 and that Joginder Singh was driving it at the time of the accident. They however, denied that the accident was caused by any rash or negligent act on the part of the driver. Their case was that the driver of the truck asked for a pass which was given by the driver of the bus but suddenly the latter turned to his extreme right and applied the brakes without any indication whatsoever. With the result that it was not possible for the driver of the truck to stop the truck in such a short time as a result of which the left side of the truck struck against the right side of the bus. The truck was not moving at more than a speed of 15 miles an hour. Under the circum stances, the respondents were not liable for the accident or the alleged injuries caused to CF Dean. They also challenged the compensation claimed by the claimants as grossly exaggerated.

5. On the pleadings of the parties relevant issues were framed.

6. In support of that claim the claimants examined one Mehar Singh (PW 3) who was the conductor of bus No. USK 4217 involved in the aforesaid accident. One Abdul Kayyum (PW 2) was also examined on behalf of the claimants who gave evidence in support thereof. The widow of CF Dean was also examined as a witness on behalf of the claimants. She proved the notice which was given before the institution of the claim petition and other evidence relevant to the decision of the case.

7. No one was examined on behalf of the appellant. On an examination of the evidence on record the Tribunal held that GF Dean died as a result of injuries sustained by him at the aforesaid accident which was caused by rash and negligent driving of the truck. It found that the bus in which CF Deen was traveling was stationary, standing on the left side of the road, when the truck came from behind and struck against it resulting in the bus turning turtle on the left side. The Tribunal also found that a sum of Rs. 25,800/- would be just and fair compensation which ought to be allowed to Mrs. Dean and her three children in equal shares.

8. Aggrieved by this order the insurance company has filed this appeal Under Section 110-D(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act.

9. Having heard learned Counsel for the appellant, Ifind no merit in this appesl.

10. I shall first take up the question whether the accident was caused by rash and negligent driving of the truck in question by Jogender Singh. Kehar Singh (PW 3) was the conductor of the bus in which Dean was travelling. He was a most natural witness to the accident. He has stated that when the bus reached Fatehpur at about 6.15 p.m. it was stopped and was parked on the left side of the road about 100 paces ahead of Police Station Fatehpur. Shortly thereafter the aforesaid truck came from the side of Dehradun at a considerable speed and dashed against the bus as a result of which the bus turned turtle resulting in injuries to a number of persons including the Dean. Abdul Kayyum (PW 2) also supported this version. As mentioned above Mehar Singh was the most natural witness. There is no ground to rejecting the testimony of this witness. It is consistent and nothing has been brought out in the cross-examination which might discredit his statement. Abdul Kayyum's statement finds full support from the testimony of Mehar Singh. Both these witnesses have, in my opinion, fully proved that the accident was caused as result of rash and negligent act of the driver of the truck. From the testimony of the aforesaid witness it is established beyond doubt that the bus was stationary at the time of the accident. That being so, the rashness and negligence on the part of the truck-driver becomes obvious and stands fully established. I do not agree with the learned Counsel for the appellant that truck coming from behind could not possibly result in the bus turning turtle. If the truck struck the stationary vehicle with force and. On the right side, it is but natural that the bus would turn turtle on the left side as is asserted by the conductor of the bus Mehar Singh and Abdul Kayyum (PW 2). The version of the witnesses that the bus turned turtle as a result of the impact of the truck, therefore, seems quite plausible and I see no ground for not accepting the same.

11. Learned Counsel for the appellant next contended that in the notice which was given on behalf of the claimant it was stated that after parking the bus the bus driver had gone to the bus station, whereas PW 3 has stated that the bus driver was in his seat and the engine of the bus was on. It was urged that these are material contradictions in the two versions which render the case set up by the claimants unworthy of reliance.

12. I cannot agree. The notice was given by the widow of Dean who was not an eye witness to the accident. Consequently the slight! variation on an insignificant aspect of the matter between the recitals in the notice and the statement on oath of PW 3 who was an eye witness to the accident, loses force. In my opinion, it is established by very good evidence on: record that the accident took place in the manner alleged by the claimants,

13. Learned Counsel faintly challenged the quantum of compensation awarded by the Tribunal, but unable to point out any error therein. In my opinion, the compensation has rightly been assessed by the Tribunal at Rs. 25,800/-. It has been calculated at the rate of Rs. 215/- per month which would have been the contribution of Dean in his life time to his family and of which the family has been deprived. Calculating the contribution at the rate of Rs. 215/- per month the compensation works our to Rs. 30.960/- but, in view of the fact that lump sum amount hat been ordered to be paid to the claimants the total amount of compensation has rightly been; assessed at Rs. 25,800/-, deducting one sixth of the sum of Rs. 30,960/- from that amount.

14. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed. But I make no order as to costs as no one has appeared for the respondents.


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