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Laxmi Devi and ors. Vs. Narendra Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1985)ACC412
AppellantLaxmi Devi and ors.
RespondentNarendra Singh and ors.
Cases Referred and Bhagat Singh Sohan Singh v. Smt. Om Sharma and Ors.
Excerpt:
- .....the deceased who was coming behind on another rickshaw in support of their versions regarding the accident. the opposite parties did not lead any evidence. the tribunal accepted the claimants' version and held that the accident took place due to the rash and negligent driving of truck no. utw 909.6. the tribunal accepted the evidence of pw 7 manmohan lal, an official of the government press, allahabad and held that the deceased used to get rs. 490/- per mensem and after usual deductions he sued to bring home rs. 416/- per mensem. the tribunal disallowed any compensation to smt. laxmi devi, the widow on the ground that she was getting a family pension of rs. 120/- per mensem, to claimant no. 2 badri prasad on the ground that he was major and to claimant no. 5 smt. kusum devi on the.....
Judgment:

O.P. Saxena, J.

1. This is an appeal under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act against the order dated 30th November 1976 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (IV Additional District Judge, Allahabad) awarding a compensation of Rs. 5,160/- to appellant No. 3 Radhey Shyam and Rs. 7,320/- to appellant No. 4 Radhey Mohan with interest at 6% per annum from the date of the award and dismissing the claim of the remaining appellants.

2. The facts giving rise to this appeal are that one Ram Krishna Mauji aged 48 years met with an accident on 29th November 1975, at 6.30 p.m. on the Kanpur Road within the jurisdiction of P.S. Cantonment, Allahabad. He was employed in the Government Press, Allahabad and was going home in a risckshaw. Opposite party do. 1 is the owner of the truck No. U.T.W. 909. Opposite No. 2 is the insurer of the truck. The truck came from the opposite direction and dashed against the rickshaw. Ram Krishna Mauji was thrown on the ground. He sustained severe injuries resulting in his death on the spot.

3. The claimants-appellants filed an application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act claiming Rs. 3 lacs as compensation. It was said that the accident took place due to the rash and negligent driving of the truck.

4. The application for compensation was contested by the opposite parties-respondents who denied that the accident was caused due to the rash and negligent driving of the truck. The amount of compensation claimed was also challenged.

5. The claimants examined PW 1 Badri Prasad, claimant No. 2 and one of the sons of the deceased, PW 3 Hira Lal the rickshaw driver and PW 4 Surajbali, the Sarhu of the deceased who was coming behind on another rickshaw in support of their versions regarding the accident. The opposite parties did not lead any evidence. The Tribunal accepted the claimants' version and held that the accident took place due to the rash and negligent driving of truck No. UTW 909.

6. The Tribunal accepted the evidence of PW 7 Manmohan Lal, an official of the Government Press, Allahabad and held that the deceased used to get Rs. 490/- per mensem and after usual deductions he sued to bring home Rs. 416/- per mensem. The Tribunal disallowed any compensation to Smt. Laxmi Devi, the widow on the ground that she was getting a family pension of Rs. 120/- per mensem, to claimant No. 2 Badri Prasad on the ground that he was major and to claimant No. 5 Smt. Kusum Devi on the ground that she was married. The Tribunal ignored that all the claimants are legal heirs under Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. The Tribunal awarded Rs. 5,160/- and Rs. 7,320/- to minor appellants Nos. 3 and 4 respectively and allowed interest from the date of the award. The claimants being aggrieved have come to appeal.

7. Sri P. Gour urged that the amount of compensation determined by the Tribunal is wholly inadequate.

8. Sri A.B. Saran supported the finding recorded by the Tribunal.

9. The deceased was bringing home Rs. 416/- per mensem after the usual deductions. Even if it be taken into account that he used to go to the office on a rickshaw, he could have at least spared Rs. 300/- per mensem for the up keep of the family. He had a wife and two minor sons and he could not spend more amount on himself. The annual dependency of the family was Rs. 3,600/-. The deceased was 48 years old at the time of the accident. He would have retired at 58 years. He would have made Rs. 36,000/- available to his family by the time he retired. The considerations adopted by the Tribunal for determining the compensation are wholly alien to the law on this point. After 25% deduction the amount would come to Rs. 27,000/-. He held that the Tribunal should have awarded a compensation of Rs. 27,000/-with interest at 6% per annum from the date of the application till the date of payment.

10. Sri P. Gour next urged that the fact that the family pension is payable to claimant No. 1, the widow is no ground for refusing compensation to her. Reliance was placed on Smt. Krishna Sehgal and Ors. v. U.P. State Road Transport Corporation and Ors. AIR 1963 Allahabad 159 and Bhagat Singh Sohan Singh v. Smt. Om Sharma and Ors. (FB). It was held that family pension paid to the claimants could not be deducted from compensation payable to them; The Tribunal erred in refusing compensation to claimant No. 1 on this ground.

11. Sri P. Gour lastly urged that appellant No. 2, adult son and appellant No. 5, a married daughter were also entitled to claim compensation.

12. Section (1-A) of the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 mentions wife, husband, parent and child as beneficiaries for purposes of compensation for the wrongful death of a person. Section 4 of the Fatal Accidents Act defines 'child' and provides that it shall include son and daughter and grandson and grand-daughter and step son and step-daughter. The word 'child' has been used not in the context of a 'minor' but in the context of an 'issue.'

13. Legal Glossary, Government of India Publication, 1983 Edition defines 'child' as male and female descendants of the first degree; issue; descendant. This definition also shows that the word 'child' has not been used in a narrower sense, but in a larger sense.

14. Under Section 110-A(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, an application for compensation can be filed by the legal representatives of the deceased. Under Section 110-B of the Act, the Tribunal is required to award Just compensation' to the legal representatives of the deceased.

15. Rule 2(c) of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Rules, 1967 provides that the term 'legal representative' shall have the same meaning as provided in Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

16. The concept 'defendant' is the special feature of Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923. Section 2(1)(d) defines a 'dependent'. If this definition is applied, appellants Nos. 2 and 5 will be excluded.

17. In view of specific provisions in Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 and Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, the provisions of Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 cannot be taken into account for determining as to who can claim compensation for the wrongful death of a person. Appellants Nos. 2 and 5 were also entitled to get compensation along with appellants Nos. 1, 3, and 4 and the Tribunal erred in refusing compensation to them.

18. The appeal is partly allowed and the award is modified. It is directed that the opposite parties will pay Rs. 27,000/- with interest at 6% per annum from the date of petition till the date of payment and costs of the Tribunal to the claimants. The opposite party No. 2 has legal liability to identify opposite party No. 2 has legal liability to indemnify opposite party No. 1 and will be thus primarily liable. The costs of appeal will be easy.


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