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Shiv Prasad Lal Vs. Chairman, U.P. State Electricity Board and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1986)ACC10
AppellantShiv Prasad Lal
RespondentChairman, U.P. State Electricity Board and ors.
Excerpt:
.....and that there was light on the number plate of the jeep also and, therefore, he could notice the jeep number. it has come in his evidence that he was engaged as a tutor by one chaurasia to teach the letters daughter therefore, he is well literate. the jaunpur-varanasi road being well lit, there being light on the number plate of the jeep and the claimant being well literate, i see no improbability in the statement of the claimant that he noticed the number plate of the jeep. then it was argued that the claimant is an aged person and, therefore, his vision would not be perfect so that he could see the jeep number at the time of accident. the claimant clearly stated that he had no difficulty in having noticed the number on the number plate. from these facts it cannot be concluded that..........been hit by a jeep and he having sustained fracture and other injuries could not have noticed the jeep number and that he guessed the jeep number simply to claim compensation. sri singh also argued that the claimant having not been in a position to notice the jeep number, the same might have been supplied to him by somebody else. it was also argued that the testimony of the executive engineer, dw 2 ramji upadhyaya could not be rejected on any ground and as the jeep remained with him at 7 p.m. according to his statement, the possibility of having caused an accident around 7 p.m. on 25-12-1977 by jeep no. usf 1756 is fully ruled out.3. so the points for a determination in this appeal are ; whether the case of the claimant that he was hit by jeep no. usf 1758 when he was proceeding towards.....
Judgment:

Om Prakash, J.

1. This is a first appeal from the order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jaunpur (for short the Tribunal) dated 17-7-1980 dismissing the petition of the claimant holding that he was not hit by the jeep No. U.S.F. 1756 belonging to the Electricity Departmant. The appellant, hereinafter referred to as the claimant, stated before the Tribunal that he was hit by the speed jeep No. USF 1756, when he was proceeding towards Line Bazar on Jaunpur-Varanasi road on 25-12-1977 at about 6.30 p.m. and that he sustained fracture in his left thigh besides other injuries, that he was taken to a Doctor after the accident and there he was given medical aid and that he suffered from a permanent disability as a result of the accident which deprived him of earning livelihood. After the accident, a first information report was lodged at the police-station at about 10.30 p.m. on the same day by one Deena Nath Chaurasia which is on pages 33 to 92 of the paper book. Thereafter, the claimant filed a petition claiming compensation before the Tribunal and produced himself as PW 1 Shiv Prasad Lal. PW 2 Mata Prasad Misra, and PW 3 Durga Prasad Shanker, who is his son. The respondents Nos. 1 to 3 filed a joint written statement and respondent No. 4 filed a separate written statement denying the accident by the jeep No. USF 1756. It was not denied by them that the claimant met an accident with a jeep on 25-12-1977 and that he sustained fracture and other injuries. The respondents Nos. 1 to 3 (first set) examined the driver, namely, DW 1 Mohammad Yaseen and an Executive Engineer, DW 2 Sri Ramji Upadhyaya. Relying on the statement of the aforesaid Executive Engineer, the Tribunal took the view that the jeep No. USF 1756 could not have caused accident at the alleged time, as the jeep remained with the said officer. However, it was held that whosoever was the driver, he rashly drove a jeep and hit the claimant. So, the Tribunal determined the amount of compensation at Rs. 11,000/-, but held that the respondents were not liable to pay the said amount as the claimant failed to prove that the accident was caused by the jeep, belonging to the State Electricity Board.

2. Aggrieved, the claimant has filed the instant appeal from the order of the Tribunal. 1 have heard Sri Janardan Sahai learned Counsel for the claimant, Sri A.P. Singh learned Counsel for the respondents, (first set) and Sri S.N. Verma, learned Counsel for the respondent (second set). The submission of Sri Sahai is that the Tribunal misappreciated the evidence on record and, therefore, wrongly concluded that the accident was not caused by the jeep No. USF 1756, admittedly, belonging to the Hydel Department. It is submitted that there is no major contradiction in the evidence, adduced by the claimant and there is no inherent improbability in the case of the claimant. It is argued that the Tribunal accepted the whole case of the claimant except the one regarding the identity of jeep No. USF 1756. It is said that no cogent reason has been given by the Tribunal to reject the case of the claimant relating to the identity of the jeep. Both Sri A.P. Singh and Sri S.N. Verma argued in the same tune that the claimant having been hit by a jeep and he having sustained fracture and other injuries could not have noticed the jeep number and that he guessed the jeep number simply to claim compensation. Sri Singh also argued that the claimant having not been in a position to notice the jeep number, the same might have been supplied to him by somebody else. It was also argued that the testimony of the Executive Engineer, DW 2 Ramji Upadhyaya could not be rejected on any ground and as the jeep remained with him at 7 p.m. according to his statement, the possibility of having caused an accident around 7 p.m. on 25-12-1977 by jeep No. USF 1756 is fully ruled out.

3. So the points for a determination in this appeal are ; whether the case of the claimant that he was hit by jeep No. USF 1758 when he was proceeding towards Line Bazar locality on Jaunpur-Varanasi road at about 6.30 p.m. is worth accepting and whether the statement of the Executive Engineer excludes the possibility of an accident being caused by jeep No. USF 1756. The evidence of the claimant may be perused in this connection. He clearly stated that Jaunpur-Varanasi road on which he was proceeding around 6.30 p.m., was well lit and that there was light on the number plate of the jeep also and, therefore, he could notice the jeep number. He also stated that he became unconscious after about 15 minutes of the accident. It has come in his evidence that he was engaged as a tutor by one Chaurasia to teach the letters daughter therefore, he is well literate. There is no evidence from the side of the respondents that Jaunpur-Varanasi road was not lit on 25-12-1977 or that there was no light on the number plate. The Jaunpur-Varanasi road being well lit, there being light on the number plate of the jeep and the claimant being well literate, I see no improbability in the statement of the claimant that he noticed the number plate of the jeep. It is vehemently argued for the respondents that where was the occasion for the claimant to notice the jeep number, when he fell after having been bit by the jeep. This argument has no force. One may fall from several angles and in several poses and every fall will not prevent a person who has been hit by a jeep from noticing the jeep number. Then it was argued that the claimant is an aged person and, therefore, his vision would not be perfect so that he could see the jeep number at the time of accident. The claimant clearly stated that he had no difficulty in having noticed the number on the number plate. There is nothing to controvert this testimony. From these facts it can be found without difficulty that the claimant noticed the jeep number is the street light and in the light which was there on the number plate of the jeep. The argument of the respondent that the jeep number was merely guessed to claim compensation, is absolutely devoid of force. It is difficult to guess or imagine the jeep number and this argument being far-fetched cannot be accepted. Then the question is who could have supplied the number of the jeep to the claimant Sri A.P. Singh adverted to the statement of the claimant and argued that the jeep number would have been supplied by Chaurasia who engaged the claimant as a tutor for his daughter. Sri Singh argued that Chaurasia owned a petrol pump and, therefore, he remembered the number of so many Government vehicles. It is highly improbable that an owner of a petrol pump would supply a number of a Government vehicle to an injured person who met an accident to enable him to claim compensation from the Government. For a businessman, running a business with a goodwill is a permanent consideration and Sri Chaurasia is no exception to this rule and he would not have supplied number of the Government jeep at the cost of his business to the claimant to enable him to get compensation. There is no case of the respondents that Sri Chaurasi was to be personally benefitted by the compensation which might have been awarded to the claimant. Therefore, it does not appeal to reason that Sri Chaurasia obliged the claimant by having supplied a number of Government jeep. Otherwise also, there is nothing on record to show that the claimant is a man of sub-standard morality and that claimant is a man by hook and cook was his chief aim. Ordinarily a prudent man which the claimant being a literate person is supposed to be, will not act so perversely.

4. Then I come to the second question whether the statement of the Executive Engineer excludes the possibility of an accidence being caused by the jeep No. USF 1756. No stated that he had visited sub-stations in the said jeep on 25-12-1977 and that remained with him upto 7 p.m. on that date and thereafter that was taken to garate by the driver. I quite agree with the learned Counsel, for the respondent that he is wholly an impartial witness. But. the question is what is his evidence on the point of time DW 1 Mohommad Yaseen (driver) himself stated that he had come back to Jaunpur between 6.30 p.m. and 6.45 p.m. on 25-12-1977 and the dropped the Executive Engineer first at his residence and then took the jeep to the collectorate compound for being parked. So the evidence on the point of time of the driver and the Executive Engineer is conflicting one. Whereas, the former deposed that he came back between 6.30 p m. and 6.45 p.m. to Jaunpur and dropped the Executive Engineer at his residence and then took the jeep to the garage, the Executive Engineer deposed that the jeep remained with Executive Engineer deposed that the jeep remained with his upto 7 p.m. so as per the statement of the driver himself, the jeep was in town around 6.30 p.m. when then Executive Engineer was dropped at His residence. There is no reason to ignore the testimony of the driver on the point of time. It is he who, if the department deems fit, may be held personally liable and, therefore, it is not in his interest to depose incorrect time. This being so the testimony of the Engineer on the point of time cannot over-ride the testimony of the driver. From these facts it cannot be concluded that the jeep remained with the Executive Engineer precisely upto 7 p.m. Therefore the driver would have taken the jeep after having dropped Executive Engineer at his residence around 6.30 p.m. through the Line Bazar locality and then he would have met an accident with the claimant. The Executive Engineer could depose only about the events till he was dropped at his residence. After he was dropped, the jeep remained under the control of the driver. There was no impossibility for the driver taking the Jeep towards the Line Bazar locality, because himself deposed that his house was situated on the same road which leads to polytechnic via Line Bazar. So the Line Bazar locality is not the one which could not have been tourched by him on the date of the accident.

5. The case has to be decided on the preponderance of the probabilities and the probabilities of the case fully support the vension of the claimant. The trial court erred in accepting the statement of the Executive Engineer on the face value that the jeep remained with him upto 7 p.m. and, therefore, there was no chance for this jeep to cause an accident in Line Bazar locality.

6. Then Sri Sahai argued that interest be awarded to claimant. I do not see any good ground to award interest. The claimant becomes entitled to get compensation from the respondents only by virtue of the instant order and he was not deproved of the legitimate use of any amount since before and hence there is no good reason to award interest.

7. In the result, the appeal is accordingly allowed. The claimant will be entitled to receive the compensation of Rs. 11,000/-, from the respondents The claimant shall receive Rs. 200/- as costs from the respondents.


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