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U.P. State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Jaswanti Rai Chopra and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inI(1984)ACC469
AppellantU.P. State Road Transport Corporation
RespondentJaswanti Rai Chopra and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....in evidence that the jeep was proceeding on the left side and that it was not practicable for the jeep driver to have taken the same further towards the left because there was ditch on that side. taking into consideration, therefore, both the direct evidence and the inspection made by the presiding officer concerned, including the topography of spot it does not seem that the responsibility for the accident lies upon the deceased driver of the jeep and not the person who drew the bus belonging to the corporation. the finding arrived at by the tribunal on this point is justified in our opinion.6. learned counsel has disputed also quantum of the compensation awarded to the claimant in these cases. in so far as the sum of rs. 18,800/- awarded on account of the death of the wife of jaswant.....
Judgment:

B.D. Agarwal, J.

1. These are two connected appeals Under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act arising against the award of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Saharanpur, dated August 27, 1977.

2. The accident in question occurred on January 31. 1973 around 11.45 A.M. Jaswant Rai accompanied with his wife, R.K. Bhalla and the wife or R.K. Bhalla were proceeding on a jeep from Delhi to Saharanpur. The driver of the jeep was also there in addition to these passengers. The Roadways Bus No. UST 3925 belonging to the U.P. State Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the Corporation) was proceeding from Saharanpur towards Delhi and was being driven by one Dhian Singh. The case of the claimant is that the bus collided against the jeep head on resulting in the death of four of the passengers of the jeep, namely, the wife of Jaswant Rai, R.K. Bhalla, the wife of R.K. Bhalla and the driver of the jeep. Multiple injuries were caused also to Jaswant Rai himself. F.I.R. was lodged immediately after the accident. Claim petition No. 9 of 1973 was lodged by Jaswant Rai claiming in all a sum of Rs. 2,75,264/- on account of the injuries caused to himself besides mental and physical anguish and the shock. The other claim petition No. 8 of 1973 was lodged by Jaswant Rai in respect of the death of his wife in the aforesaid accident. The amount claimed therein was Rs. 4,88,000/-. In relation to the claim petition No. 9 of 1973 the Tribunal has awarded a sum of Rs. 43,857.71 to Jaswant Rai. In the other claim petition the amount awarded is Rs. 18,800/- only.

3. Aggrieved against the award in these claim petitions the Corporation has preferred these appeals.

4. Learned Counsel for the appellant has strenuously urged that the accident occurred due to the negligence on the part of the driver of the jeep and not due to rash and negligent driving of Dhian Singh, the driver of the bus belonging to the Corporation. It has been submitted that no amount could be awarded to the claimant due to the negligence leading to the accident being attributable to the driver of the jeep. He has taken us through the relevant evidence on the subject.

5. Upon a careful perusal of the same and considering the circumstances in which the accident occurred, we are unable to agree with this contention. It will appear that the accident took place around 11.45 A.M. The Jeep was being driven at the normal speed of nearly 40 K.M. per hour. The Presiding Officer has made a local inspection and has expressed the view that it could not be reasonably practicable to locate the jeep by the driver of the bus belonging to the Corporation. This becomes relevant because the explanation advanced from the side of the appellant seems to have been that at the sight of the approaching jeep, the driver of the bus stopped the same at a side and it is the jeep which came ahead and collided with the bus. This theory gets negatived upon taking into consideration of the relevant topography of the spot which suggests that due to the existence of the bend pertaining to the culvert as also certain trees on the road side it could not be reasonably possible to have located the jeep in advance. It would appear also that the right side of the jeep got entangles with the right side of the bus. It has not been found that the driver of the jeep was drunk or that he was not in sound and proper senses. It has come in evidence that he had been blowing the horn although this has been sought to be explained by saying that this was to warm persons of the abadi. The version of Jaswant Rai himself was corroborated by two others who were the passers by. On the other hand, no corroboration was available in so far as the theory set up from the side of the Corporation is concerned. The negligence of the driver of the bus arose, it would appear, on account of the bus not having been allowed down at the relevant time and the bus not having left plenty of space enabling the jeep to pass by. It has also come in evidence that the jeep was proceeding on the left side and that it was not practicable for the jeep driver to have taken the same further towards the left because there was ditch on that side. Taking into consideration, therefore, both the direct evidence and the inspection made by the Presiding Officer concerned, including the topography of spot it does not seem that the responsibility for the accident lies upon the deceased driver of the jeep and not the person who drew the bus belonging to the Corporation. The finding arrived at by the Tribunal on this point is justified in our opinion.

6. Learned Counsel has disputed also quantum of the compensation awarded to the claimant in these cases. In so far as the sum of Rs. 18,800/- awarded on account of the death of the wife of Jaswant Rai is concerned-, it can only be said that the same errs on the side of being too low. It has come in evidence that the deceased was nearly 40 when she died. The argument for the appellant is that Jaswant Rai himself was about 57 years at the relevant time and hence the Tribunal has erred in taking fourteen as the multiplier. It is submitted that the normal expectancy should have been estimated at 65 years only. There may not be said to be any hard and fast rule in this behalf and there are cases where taking into the facts and circumstances the expectancy has been estimated even upto 70 years. In the instant case it is obvious moreover that the Tribunal has not erred in estimating the expectancy as 70-71 years. Nearly eleven years have elapsed when the accident took place. It has not been shown that taking into consideration 'the Health of the claimant Jaswant Rai or the age of his parents or the normal span of life of other members of his family, there was an error in extimating fourteen as the normal expectancy. The tribunal has multiplied Rs. 100/- per month by fourteen and thus arrived at the amount adding thereto a sum of Rs. 2,000/- for the loss of belongings, which cannot be said to error on the side of being excessive in any case.

7. In so far as the other claim petition is concerned, the amount of compensation has been arrived at by the Tribunal taking into account the expenditure incurred by the claimant Jaswant Rai in his treatment besides the loss of salary incurred by him on account of having remained confined to bed. The claimant, it appears, remained under treatment for nearly 25 days at the district hospital in Saharanpur where after he was shifted to the All India Medical Institute, New Delhi. After giving allowance for the reimbursement made by the employer the Tribunal has awarded a sum of Rs. 1,000/- towards the expenses incurred in the district hospital at Saharanpur. For the treatment at the All India Medical Institute the amount incurred is nearly Rs. 8,449.8 which is not excessive and another sum of Rs. 1,500/- has been awarded as expenses incurred towards extra diet. In addition the claimant has been awarded a sum of Rs. 7,910.63 towards the loss of salary, since he had to remain on leave with half salary only for the period of February 1, 1973 to August 31, 1973. The Tribunal has not awarded any amount for pain and anguish suffered by the claimant. This would not have required proof and in case some amount were awarded on this account also, it would have further added up the compensation. In the absence of any cross-objection or cross-appeal, the amount cannot be enhanced herein but in our considered opinion under the circumstance the quantum of compensation arrived at by the Tribunal cannot be classed as excessive.

8. For the discussion made above, the appeals are devoid of merits and are hereby dismissed with costs.


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