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Oriental Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. and ors. Vs. Abdul Haneef - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1986)ACC157
AppellantOriental Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. and ors.
RespondentAbdul Haneef
Excerpt:
- - he was incapable of running or going fast and the right leg had gone weak. 9. for the reasons stated above, the appeals fail and are dismissed accordingly......the accident occurred on april 5, 1974, around 3.30 p.m. at the crossing of the sipri basar, mal godam road, jharm abdul haneef, then aged about 13 years a student of class viii, was proceeding on bicycle from sipri basar towards the mal godam road. truck no. usg 2580, belonging to m/s. v.p. ghai and brothers, came over from the side of mal godam road; it was being driven by mani ram, the driver, on the wrong side and it dashed against abdul haneef from the front, as result abdul haneef fell and got crushed by the back right wheel of the truck. the right thigh was crushed upto the knee with the fracture of the femur bone and abrasion on the left leg. the victim remained on the medical treatment and, according to his case, there is resulting permanent disablement. a sum of rs. 50,000/-.....
Judgment:

B.D. Agarwal, J.

1. These connected appeals are directed against an award of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (1 Additional District Judge, Jhansi), dated May 10, 1978.

2. The accident occurred on April 5, 1974, around 3.30 p.m. at the crossing of the Sipri Basar, Mal Godam Road, Jharm Abdul Haneef, then aged about 13 years a student of Class VIII, was proceeding on bicycle from Sipri Basar towards the Mal Godam road. Truck No. USG 2580, belonging to M/s. V.P. Ghai and brothers, came over from the side of Mal Godam road; it was being driven by Mani Ram, the driver, on the wrong side and it dashed against Abdul Haneef from the front, as result Abdul Haneef fell and got crushed by the back right wheel of the truck. The right thigh was crushed upto the knee with the fracture of the femur bone and abrasion on the left leg. The victim remained on the medical treatment and, according to his case, there is resulting permanent disablement. A sum of Rs. 50,000/- was claimed as compensation under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act.

3. The claim was resisted by the truck owners, who are partners. It was refused that the accident took place due to rashness or negligence of their driver and the claim for compensation made by the victim was also assailed as highly exhorbitant.

4. The Tribunal has, on consideration of the evidence, found that the accident was caused due to negligence of the truck driver and not on account of any fault on the part of Abdul Haneef. A sum of Rs. 17,000/- has been assessed as compensation payable to him.

5. Aggrieved the truck owners and the insurer filed First Appeal From Order No. 396 of 1978; cross-objection has been filed by Abdul Haneef, the claimant Both were heard together.

6. I have heard Sri A.B. Saran, counsel for the appellants in F.A.F.O. No. 396 of 1978 and Sri S.N. Misra, appearing for the claimant in both the appeals.

7. Sri Saran argued that the claimant could not establish that the accident was caused due to negligence or rashness on the part of the truck driver. The admitted facts are that the accident took place on April 5, 1974, at about 3.30 p.m. No. dispute exists about the venue either, namely, the crossing of the Sipri Basar, Mal Godam road in Jhansi. There is, it is admitted, an hotel run by PW Smt. Phullan in the immediate vicinity of the place of occurrence. According to PW Abdul Haneef, who, came to the witness-box was on bicycle proceeding from the Sipri Basar towards the Mal Godam road. The truck approached from the opposite direction. Abdul Haneef was on his left hand side. The truck dashed against the claimant from the front side. This has also been so narrated by Smt. Phullan PW, who is an eye-witness. Her presence on the occasion is probable; nothing could be suggested from the other side to entertain a doubt in regard to her veracity. She has had no axe to grind. PW Mohd Yusuf is another eye-witness. His name was in shortly afterwards on the same day and he too has been rightly relied upon by she Tribunal. It is argued on behalf of the truck owners that the witnesses admit that the truck came to a half almost immediately afterwards and hence it may not be believed that it was being driven at a high speed. We may assume that the truck was not having speed at the moment, but then there is no denial that it was on its wrong side; the evidence for the claimant makes out that it had not been standing close to Smt. Phullan's hotel, but that instead it came up from the side of the Mal Godam road and dashed the claimant from the front. The theory advanced for the truck owners is that the truck was standing idle opposite the hotel; Abdul Haneef got entangled with his bicycle into the rear wheel and this remained unnoviced by the driver. It is difficult to accept version for the reason, firstly, that it rests upon mere imagination. There is no eye-witness worth reliance to testify as to the same. Mani Ram, the driver, died during the pendency of the claim petition before the Tribunal and could not be examined. Secondly. in case the truck had been standing idle it does not appeal to reason that Abdul Haneef would have got struck with the rear wheel thereof unless it is assumed that he intended to commit suicide. In case he had fallen on his own it also remains unacceptable that this will have gone unnoticed by the truck driver. It was argued that trucks used to half opposite the aforementioned hotel in order that the labourers might get down. From this alone it might not be inferred that the truck was stationary at the relevant time also. The eye-witnesses on the claimant's side explained how the claimant came over to be crushed under the rear wheel of the truck proceeding from the side of Mal Godam road towards the Sipri Pasar. The finding recorded by the Tribunal, therefore, to the effect that the accident resulted due to negligence of the truck driver may not be claimed to be open to interference.

8. In regard to the quantum of compensation, PW Abdul Haneef was admittedly thirteen years of age at the relevant time. He was then a student of Class VIII. His father Abdul Haneef was then a contractor of the railway canteen. He had also been, for some time, the manager of the canteen. His elder sons are employees in the Railways on salary of nearly Rs. 500/- 600/- per month. There is evidence of longevity in the family. The elder brothers of the claimants father were of the age of 65/70 years approximately The father himself was aged about 45. The claimant sustained compound fracture of the femur bone. PW Dr. R.P. Srivastava, Senior Surgeon, District Hospital, Jhansi treated the claimant during 5.4.74 to 18.6.74 and again during 17.9.74 to 9.11.74. He testified that as a result of the injury caused the light leg of the claimant has shortened in comparison to the left leg; the claimant developed limping; he was incapable of running or going fast and the right leg had gone weak. The Tribunal has taken thus relevant factors into account. It awarded a sum of Rs. 15 000/- as compensation for the disablement and Rs. 20,00/- towards the medical expenses incurred. This would appear to be on the whole balanced view taken and in any case the assessment is not such as to justify interference from this Court on either side. It represent, in other words, a fair estimate in my opinion.

9. For the reasons stated above, the appeals fail and are dismissed accordingly. Costs on parties in both the appeals.


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