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U.P. State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Savitri Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC533
AppellantU.P. State Road Transport Corporation
RespondentSavitri Singh and anr.
Excerpt:
- - to us, it appears that since the statement of iqbaluddin (pw 5) is reliable and trustworthy, it was not necessary for the respondents to have multiplied the number by producing bhagwan din and nankoo as well, it is the quality and not the quantity of the witnesses that matters......agree with the rinding of the tribunal on issue no. 1 and find that the bus dashed against avdhesh singh, the deceased as a result whereof the deceased was thrown out and carte under the rear wheel. the accident occurred due to the negligence of the bus driver as he omitted to take care which was expected from him. he was driving the bus at a fast speed. the driver was passing through a busy road and he should have taken all precautions which he did not do as a result whereby avdhesh singh died.10. so far as the compensation is concerned, the deceased was aged about 35 years. the evidence was that his father died at the age of 84 years and the mother at the age of 64 or 65 years. putting a most conservative estimate of expectancy of life of avdhesh singh, it could not be less than 60.....
Judgment:

K.C. Agrawal, J.

1. U.P. State Road Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the Corporation) has filed this appeal Under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act against the judgment of the the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal) dated 14-7-1978 in respect of the death of Avdhesh Singh on 26th February, 1976 at about 8.30 A.M., near Lal Imli gate on Mall Road, Kanpur, with a city Bus. The respondents, who are the heirs and legal representatives of the deceased Avdhesh Singh, filed Motor Claim Petition No. 24 of 1976. The respondents claimed that the deceased, while proceeding on the cycle to his School, where he was employed, on the 26th February, 1976 to attend his duty, was hit from behind by the Bus belonging to the Corporation as a result of it he was thrown under the wheels of the back side and was crushed. He instantaneously died. The respondents claimed that he left behind his widow Smt. Savitri Devi, his three daughters. At the time of the incident, these daughters were aged 9, 7 and 3 years respectively. The deceased was a Science teacher in Government Intermediate College and was drawing Rs. 645/- per month as total emoluments.

2. Contesting the claim petition, a written statement was filed on behalf of the Corporation. It was not disputed that the deceased was crushed to death under the wheels of city bus No. U.P.C. 8909. It was, however, claimed that when the bus reached the place of accident, the driver saw a herd of buffaloes giving ahead of the bus in the same direction and allowed down his vehicle and blew several horns in order to allow the buffaloes to pass. Mean while, the deceased, who was on cycle came from behind in between the buffaloes and the bus and tried to overtake them. In doing so, he struck with the buffaloes and came under the rear portion of the bus. The corporation denied negligence on the part of the driver of the bus.

3. On issue No. 1, which was to the effect whether the accident occurred due to the rash and negligence driving of the bus in question by its driver', the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal believed P.W.5 Iqbaluddin and held the accident having occurred due to the gross negligence of the bus driver. The plea of contributory negligence taken in the alternative by the Corporation was rejected.

4. After assessing the evidence of the parties, the Tribunal found that the respondents were entitled to compensation of Rs. 86,000/- and thus awarded the same along with interest at the rate of 6%.

5. In this appeal, which has been preferred by the Corporation, one of the main arguments advanced was that the Tribunal committed an error in relying upon the statement of Iqbaluddin, who according to the learned Counsel, was highly interested being an empolyee of the same College where the deceased was serving. Counsel urged that admittedly, there were other witnesses at the spot apart from Iqbaluddin, but as they have been withheld, the respondents could not be held in law to have discharged the burden of proof of negligence on the part of the driver.

6. We have considered the evidence led by the parties and do not find any error in the judgment which could justify our interference in the present appeal.

7. Documentary evidence shows that an First Information report (Ex. 1) was lodged by the Principal of the College, Sri Chandra Bhushan Singh (P.W. 1) at P.S. Colonelgang the same day at 10.25 A.M. In this F.I.R. what is relevant to mention is that Sri Chandra Bhushan Singh has stated that he had been informed by Iqbaluddin that the deceased Avdhesh Singh was crushed by bus No. U.P.G. 8909.

8. Sri Chandra Bhushan Singh P.W. 1 was not an eye witness of the accident, hence, the report renders little help for the decision of this claim petition, Iqbaluddin (PW 5) was an Assistant of Science Laboratory in Government Inter College, Kanpur. His story was that in the morning of 25th February, 1976 he had gone to purchase vegetables in parade market. After purchasing vegetables he returned to his quarter, which is located behind the library. He saw Bhagwan Din and Nanko chaukidar at the gate of the library. He stopped there and starting talking with them. The bus came speeding from behind Avdesh Singh and dashed against him. Avdesh Singh fell down. Bus moved forward. Counsel for the Corporation contended that according to the statement of this witness himself, Nankoo and Bhagwan Din were present at the spot and therefore they should have also been produced by the respondents. To us, it appears that since the statement of Iqbaluddin (PW 5) is reliable and trustworthy, it was not necessary for the respondents to have multiplied the number by producing Bhagwan Din and Nankoo as well, It is the quality and not the quantity of the witnesses that matters. He was consistent in his statement about the manner in which the accident occurred. So far as the Corporation is concerned, it produced the driver of the bus, Shamsuddin (DW 2) and Ramjiwan Shukla (DW 1), Ram-Jiwan Shukla was discarded by the Tribunal on the ground that he was on intimate terms with Shamsuddin (DW 2). His story was also inconsistent with the situation at the spot. His statement was inconsistent with that of the driver Shamsuddin (DW 2) Statement of Shamsuddin (DW 2) is to the effect that he did not hit the cycle of the deceased from behind and that after he saw herd of buffaloes, he blew horn. Meanwhile, the passengers shouted that the buffalow struck the cyclist who came under its rear wheel and then the driver stopped the bus. It has been found above that the presence of Iqbaluddin is quite trustworthy. His version is corroborated by the fact that after the incident, the bus was found at a distance of 30 paces from the pool of blood. Had the speed of the bus been slowed down, the accident could be averted.

9. For what we have said above, we agree with the rinding of the Tribunal on issue No. 1 and find that the bus dashed against Avdhesh Singh, the deceased as a result whereof the deceased was thrown out and carte under the rear wheel. The accident occurred due to the negligence of the bus driver as he omitted to take care which was expected from him. He was driving the bus at a fast speed. The driver was passing through a busy road and he should have taken all precautions which he did not do as a result whereby Avdhesh Singh died.

10. So far as the compensation is concerned, the deceased was aged about 35 years. The evidence was that his father died at the age of 84 years and the mother at the age of 64 or 65 years. Putting a most conservative estimate of expectancy of life of Avdhesh Singh, it could not be less than 60 years. He would have earned for 25 years more. He was getting Rs. 645/- per month as salary. The evidence also indicated that he must have contributed Rs. 430/- to the family. On this contribution, the respondents were deprived of. The amount calculated comes to Rs. 1,29,000/-. Out of this amout, 1/3rd was deducted on account of lump sum payment. After deduction, Rs. 86,000/- was awarded. To us, it appears that the amount of compensation was fully justified.

11. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.


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