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Om Prakash Agarwal and ors. Vs. the Uttar Pradesh Road Transport Corporation - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1986)ACC528
AppellantOm Prakash Agarwal and ors.
RespondentThe Uttar Pradesh Road Transport Corporation
Cases ReferredIyer v. T.K. Nair
Excerpt:
- - i think it has been well established by authority that all that is necessary is that a reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit should be entertained by the person who sues. 16. anil kumar bad a brilliant academic career.k.g. agrawal, j.1. on 31st may, 1975, at about 8.20 p.m., anil kumar, the son of the appellants, was travelling in bus no. upp 6994 owned by the u.p. state road transport corporation. the aforesaid bus collided with bus no. upb 7245 belonging to the same respondent. anil kumar received grievous injuries. he was declared dead when he was taken to the hospital for treatment. at the time of the accident, anil kumar, who was post graduate diploma in refrigeration, was working as supervisor in modi rubber ltd., modipuram meerut he was getting rs. 350/- per month as allowance for apprenticeships. after completing his educational career, he was likely to be absorbed by the modi rubber ltd., in the grade of rs. 550-1100. on the death of anil kumar, the appellants who are father and mother of the.....
Judgment:

K.G. Agrawal, J.

1. On 31st May, 1975, at about 8.20 P.M., Anil Kumar, the son of the appellants, was travelling in Bus No. UPP 6994 owned by the U.P. State Road Transport Corporation. The aforesaid bus collided with bus No. UPB 7245 belonging to the same respondent. Anil Kumar received grievous injuries. He was declared dead when he was taken to the hospital for treatment. At the time of the accident, Anil Kumar, who was post Graduate Diploma in refrigeration, was working as supervisor in Modi Rubber Ltd., Modipuram Meerut He was getting Rs. 350/- per Month as allowance for apprenticeships. After completing his educational career, he was likely to be absorbed by the Modi Rubber Ltd., in the grade of Rs. 550-1100. On the death of Anil Kumar, the appellants who are father and mother of the deceased respectively, preferred a claim of Rs. 1.00,000/- alleging that the accident occurred because of the negligence of the drivers of both the buses. The appellants claimed that on account of the death of Anil Kumar, they have been deprived of the pecuniary benefit.

2. The claim was contested by the U.P. State Road Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Corporation). The Corporation admitted the accident. It, however, pleaded that the accident was not the result of negligence of the drivers of the two buses aforesaid but was an act of God.

3. On the pleadings of the parties, the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal framed the following issue:

Whether the accident was due to vismajor on which the drivers of both the vehicles had no control, if so its effect on the liability of the O.P. to pay compensation

4. The Tribunal held that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the drivers of the two buses and that it was not due to vismajor.

5. On the question of compensation, the Tribunal held that Rs. 12,000/- (12,000/-) would be just and adequate to the appellants for loss of society of their deceased son and the mental agony and shock suffered by them. On this finding, the claim was decreed only for Rs. 12,000/-.

6. Against this judgment, the appellants have filed this appeal contending that the compensation awarded is much too less and the evidence on record establishes that the appellants were entitled to get Rs. 1,00,000/- which had been claimed by them in the application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act.

7. The Corporation has not preferred any appeal against the award of the Tribunal assailing the finding that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the two drivers.

8. The question before us in this appeal only is whether the compensation awarded by the Tribunal is just and adequate.

9. For proving the compensation, Om Prakash, the appellant No. 1 and Smt. Chandra Kanta Agrawal, appellant No. 2, who were father and mother of the deceased, appeared in the witness bout. Both of them stated that Anil Kumar had a brilliant academic career and at the time of his death, he was employed as an apprentice in Modi Rubber Ltd. and was getting Rs. 350/- per month as allowance. Om Prakash Agrawal (P.W. 3) has further stated that the deceased Anil Kumar was likely to be absorbed by Modi Rubber Ltd., in the grade of Rs. 550-1100. The Tribunal held that as the appellants were not getting any financial support from the deceased Anil Kumar, they were not entitled to get any compensation for the loss to the Estate.

10. It is true that Om Prakash Agrawal, the father himself was employed as an Executive Engineer and was getting Rs. 1,600/-. He held a pension able post and after retirement, he would have got Rs. 10,000/- as Provident Fund, but the question still is simply because that Om Prakash Agrawal was employed, could he be deprived of the compensation on the grounds given by the Tribunal.

11. For the finding that Om Prakash Agrawal, the appellant No. 1, was not deriving any benefit of the salary which Anil Kumar was getting, the Tribunal referred and relied on the statement O.P. Agrawal (P.W. 3), wherein he stated that at the time of death of Anil Kumar, be was not receiving any pecuniary benefit. The Tribunal concluding from his statement that no pecuniary loss was suffered by the appellants on account of the death of Anil Kumar. It overlooked to consider the statement of Smt. Chandra Kanta Agrawal appellant No. 2, who was the mother of the deceased. She stated that the deceased Anil Kumar used to remit the balance of the salary after incurring expenditure out of the same on himself. Anil Kumar was 22 years of age at the time of his death. Smt. Chandra Kanta Agrawal, appellant No. 2, could be believed when she said that after incurring the expenses on himself, the balance of the salary used to be remitted by the deceased. The Tribunal did not at all touch the statement of Sat. Chandra Kanta Agrawal and as a result of the omission to consider the same, be has given an erroneous finding.

12. Even if it was assumed that the deceased Anil Kumar was not remitting or helping his parents at the time of his death, could it be legitimately held that the appellants could net he entitled to get compensation on that account. In C.K.S Iyer v. T.K. Nair : [1970]2SCR688 , the Supreme Court laid down:

In an action under the Act, it is not sufficient for the plaintiff to prove that he lost by the death of the deceased a mere speculative possibility of pecuniary benefit. In order to succeed, it is necessary for him to show that he has lost a reasonable probability of pecuniary advantage.

13. Lord Atkinson held in Taff Vale Railway Company Jenkins 1913 AC 1, that:

I think it has been well established by authority that all that is necessary is that a reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit should be entertained by the person who sues. It is quite true that the existence of this expectation is an inference of fact there must be a basis of fact from wish the inference can reasonably be drawn; but I which to express my emphatic dissent from the proposition that it is necessary that two of the facts without which the inference cannot be drawn are, first, that the deceased learned money in the past, and second, that he or she contributed to the support of the plaintiff. These are, no doubt, pregnant pieces of evidence, but they, are only pieces of evidence; and the necessary inference can I think be drawn from circumstances other than and different from them.

14. Being of the opinion that the Tribunal proceeded on a wrong premise that simply because that the appellants were not receiving any assistance at he time of death, they could not claim compensation for pecuniary loss in future, we are unable to uphold the judgment of the Tribunal on this point.

15. The next point which was taken into consideration by the Tribunal was that Om Prakash Agrawal himself was employed and was likely to get pension after retirement, he would not have needed any help of his son, is erroneous consideration n for rejecting the application for compensation. Om Prakash Agrawal appellant No. 1, was no doubt employed as an Executive Engineer at the time of the death of Anil Kumar. He was 56 years of age. After retirement, his income would have got reduced according to normal, rules, to one half. After retirement, he would have needed money for himself and his wife, Smt. Chandra Kanta Agrawal. In these circumstances, it could not be said that they unreasonably expected to get financial help from their son.

16. Anil Kumar bad a brilliant academic career. He was employed as an apprentice in Modi Rubber Ltd. Om Prakash Agrawal stated that he was likely to be absorbed by the said concern. We could, therefore, in these circumstances, hold that both the appellants taken together would have got Rs. 200/- from the deceased per month. They could expect help for fifteen years. Hence, the multiplier of IS years could be applied for finding the total compensation. The compensation would come to Rs. 36,000/-. Out of this amount Rs. 12,000/- has already been paid. After deducting the same, we hold that the appellants are entitled to get Rs. 24,000/- further. Interest at the rate of 6% per annum is also awardable on this additional sum.

17. In the result, the appeal succeeds partly and is allowed with costs. The appellants will get Rs. 24,000/- in addition to what has been awarded by the Tribunal with interest at the rate of 6% per annum with effect from the date of the application till realisation.


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