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New India Assurance Co. and anr. Vs. Udai NaraIn Gupta and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC74
AppellantNew India Assurance Co. and anr.
RespondentUdai NaraIn Gupta and anr.
Excerpt:
- - rao sustained serious injuries including fractures in the left knee joint and feet as well as injuries in his head and ribs, as a consequence he remained in hospital at jhansi u. 6. the claim petition was contested by the insurer as well as the owners. 9. this contention appears to be well founded. 1,500/- which has been fully substantiated by his own statement as well as numerous documents filed by him supporting his claim that be has spent that amount for his treatment. 15,000/- on account of mental agony and physical suffering as well as because of loss in prospects of employment and reduction in earning capacity rs. 5,000/- only out of the entire compensation which stands awarded to rc rao by this court as well as the court below......caused to him on account of; the accident and rs. 4,000/- for medical treatment. to un gupta, the tribunal awarded a total rs. 11,000/- (rs. 9,000/- was awarded on account of mental and physical agony and rs. 2,000/- for medical treatment.8. i shall take up the appeals of the insurer and the owners first. for the insurer the contention of sri a.k. banerji is that the tribunal has committed a patent error in not apportioning the liability between the owners and the insurer, relying on various decisions including the latest pronouncement of this court reported in 1984 a.w.c., page 830. the learned counsel contended that under section 95(2)(b)(iv) the liability of the insurer in respect of each of the passengers was only rs. 5,000/-. the tribunal should accordingly have apportioned the.....
Judgment:

A.N. Verma, J.

1. These four appeals are being disposed of by a common judgment as they arise out of claims lodged in respect of the same accident. First Appeal From Orders Nos. 523 and 524 of 1980 have been filed by the insurer and the owners of the vehicle which was a passenger bus. First Appeal From Orders Nos. 671 and 668 of 1980 have been filed respectively by two claimants, namely, R.C. Rao and U.N. Gupta.

2. In the First Appeals filed by the insurer and the owners the contention is that the Tribunal has wrongly assessed compensation and that on a true and correct appreciation of the relevant facts and the applicable principles, the claimants were not entitled to the amounts of compensation awarded in their favour by the Tribunal. In the First Appeals filed by the claimants the contention is that the compensation awarded by the Tribunal deserves to be enhanced.

3. The relevant facts are that on 11-9-1977 a passenger bus no. USG 3577 was returning from Brich to Jhansi via Mauranipur at about 8.30 p.m. while the bus was approaching the bridge called Nohat Ghat Bridge it collided against a Bullock Cart and rolled down into a ditch resulting in injuries to the passengers. R.C. Rao and U.N. Gupta were also amongst the passengers. R.C. Rao sustained serious injuries including fractures in the left knee joint and feet as well as injuries in his head and ribs, as a consequence he remained in hospital at Jhansi U.N. Gupta also sustained some injuries but they were not so serious.

4. Sri R.C. Rao filed a claim petition under the Motor Vehicles Act and claimed compensation amounting to Rs. 42,250/-. In the petition it was asserted that the accident was caused by the rash and negligent act of the driver of the bus, as a consequence of which he sustained the injuries mentioned above. He had to spend Rs. 1,500/- physical shock as! a result of which his earning capacity has been reduced. He claimed various amounts against different heads aggregating Rs. 42,250/-. R.C. Rao slated that he was working as a typist in the Civil Court at Jhansi and on account of the accident and the injuries sustained by him he has suffered various losses of the category mentioned above.

5. U.N. Gupta on the other hand is a practicing lawyer. He claimed a consolidated amount of Rs. 30,000/- as compensation without specifying the different heads under which the compensation was being claimed. He, however, mentioned in his petition that he has incurred Rs. 1,000/- over his treatment.

6. The claim petition was contested by the insurer as well as the owners. They denied the various allegations of the claimants and asserted that the accident had not been caused by any and negligent act on: the part of the driver but on account of the fact that the bullock-cart itself on seeing the light of the bus because unsteady and went to the wrong side of the road as a result of which the accident occurred. They also disputed various claims as regards the quantum of the compensation.

7. The Tribunal on a consideration of the evidence on record awarded a sum of Rs. 15,000/- to R.C. Rao, made up of Rs. 11,000/- as Compensation for the mental and physical suffering caused to him on account of; the accident and Rs. 4,000/- for medical treatment. To UN Gupta, the Tribunal awarded a total Rs. 11,000/- (Rs. 9,000/- was awarded on account of mental and physical agony and Rs. 2,000/- for medical treatment.

8. I shall take up the appeals of the insurer and the owners first. For the insurer the contention of Sri A.K. Banerji is that the Tribunal has committed a patent error in not apportioning the liability between the owners and the insurer, relying on various decisions including the latest pronouncement of this Court reported in 1984 A.W.C., page 830. The learned Counsel contended that Under Section 95(2)(b)(iv) the liability of the insurer in respect of each of the passengers was only Rs. 5,000/-. The Tribunal should accordingly have apportioned the liability while awarding compensation to the claimants.

9. This contention appears to be well founded. Section 95(2)(b)(iv) limits the liability of the insurer in respect of individual passengers to Rs. 5,000/-. Consequently the compensation awarded in favour of the claimants has to be apportioned limiting the same in respect of each of the two claimants to Rs. 5,000/-.

10. The next contention of the learned Counsel for the insurer and the owners was that the Tribunal has fallen into a patent error in awarding compensation to the claimants on account of medical treatment in excess of even the amounts which were claimed by them in their claim petitions. It was submitted that R.C. Rao had claimed a total of Rs. 1,500/- only for medical treatment in the claim petition, whereas he has been awarded Rs. 4,000/- as compensation for medical treatment. This is an apparent error. The compensation awarded to Sri R.C. Rao on account of medical treatment is therefore liable to be reduced to Rs. 1,500/- which has been fully substantiated by his own statement as well as numerous documents filed by him supporting his claim that be has spent that amount for his treatment.

11. In the case of U.N. Gupta also the compensation awarded on account of medical treatment is liable to be reduced from Rs. 2,000/- to Rs. 1,000/- for the same reason as he has claimed only Rs. 1,000/- in his claim petition as the amount said to have been spent by him over his treatment.

12. First Appeal From Order Nos. 523 and 524 of 1080 accordingly succeed to the extent, mentioned above.

13. Learned Counsel for the insurer and the owners did not seriously dispute the correctness of the findings that the respondents had sustained injuries as consequence of the rash and negligent act of the driver nor was the learned Counsel able to satisfy this Court that the amount awarded by the Tribunal on account of mental agony and physical suffering sustained by the claimants was on the side of excess. On the other hand, in my opinion, the compensation awarded by the Tribunal to R C. Rao and U.N. Gupta on account of mental agony and physical injuries sustained by them, deserve to be enhanced.

14. Coming to be appeal of R.C. Rao, I find that he had suffered serious injuries consisting of three fractures in the left knee joint and feet and some injury on his head and ribs also. The mental agony and shock suffered by him can therefore be easily imagined. His working capacity has also been partialy impared on account of the injuries sustained by him. In my opinion he deserved to be awarded at least Rs. 15,000/- on account of mental agony and physical suffering as well as because of loss in prospects of employment and reduction in earning capacity Rs. 15,000/- would be a more appropriate compensation for the suffering of the kind mentioned above. The compensation under the head of mental agony and physical suffering awarded by the Tribunal to R.G. Rao is therefore liable to be increased to Rs. 15,000/-.

15. The net result of the findings with regard to the claim of R.C. Rao both in his appeal and the appeal filed by the insurer and the owners is that he was entitled to received a total of Rs. 16,500/- that means he should be awarded a sum of Rs. 1,500/- in addition to the compensation which has been awarded by the Tribunal. The appeal of R.C. Rao is, therefore, entitled to succeed in part to that extent.

16. Coming to the appeal of U.N. Gupta, I find that he was practising lawyer of 49 years of age at the relevant time. In my opinioin in his case also the Tribunal has wrongly assessed the damages on account j of mental and physical pain at Rs. 9,000/-. Keeping in view the entire circumstances, Rs. 10,000/- would have been more appropriate as compensation awardable to him on account of mental and physical suffering.

17. The net result of the findings given in the appeals of the insurer and the owners on the one hand and that filed by U.N. Gupta is that he becomes entitled to receive a total of Rs. 11,000/- (Rs. 10,000/- as compensation on account of mental and physical suffering and Rs. 1,000/- on account of medical treatment). The result is that he is entitled to receive neither more nor less than the total compensation which has been awarded by he Tribunal.

18. In the premise all the four appeals succeed in part and are allowed. In addition to the compensation awarded by the Tribunal a further compensation of Rs. 1,500/- is award to R.C. Rao against all the (appellants. The liability of the New India Assurance Co. shall be, however, limited to Rs. 5,000/- only out of the entire compensation which stands awarded to RC Rao by this Court as well as the court below. U.N. Gupta shall, however, not be entitled to any further amount over and above that (awarded by the Tribunal. However, the liability of New India Assurance Co. in his case also shall be limited to Rs. 5,000/- only. The awards given by the Tribunal are modified accordingly. The stay orders are hereby vacated. The parties in all these cases shall bear their own costs.


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