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Raju Narayan Vs. Chogalal Bhagirath and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMisc. Appeal No. 224 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1972MP223; 1972MPLJ329
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110A(3)
AppellantRaju Narayan
RespondentChogalal Bhagirath and anr.
Appellant AdvocateJ.P. Garg, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateR.S. Machalpur, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Cases ReferredBasantilal v. Sagar Tr.
Excerpt:
- - certainly the claimant wanted condonation of the delay for 'sufficient' cause which the motor vehicles act itself has envisaged by providing that the time limit could be relaxed where the tribunal is satisfied of sufficient cause. the tribunal's refusal to condone the delay bad been upheld by the high court; the, reason advanced was that for one thing, the claimants were poor and illiterate scheduled caste members and for another, they had been misled in respect of the forum and had further been under a misconception as to the remedy to be pursued and had been approaching different authorities and respectable persons......discharge from the hospital and the interval is broadly speaking not excessive and is about the time sufficient to make inquiries and take legal advice i would entertain the claim even though it might be be.yond the statutory limitation. how far this concession should be given would depend upon the facts of the case. in the instant case, for example, the man was discharged on the 1st may andpresented his claim just seven days later. during this interval he had been collect-ing the necessary particulars two of which, namely, the names of the owner of the car and of the driver have to be gathered from the r. t. o. office. in the instant case it is conceivable even the number of the car had to be verified from the report given by the police officer. a week cannot at all be considered.....
Judgment:

H.R. Krishnan, J.

1. This appellant was knocked down by the motor car owned by respondent No. 1 and driven at that time by respondent No. 2. Probably because the appellant was unable to find put whether or not the vehicle had been insured against third-party claims he has not impleaded any insurance company. The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal to which this case is going back may. it is suggested, usefully investigate whether the vehicle had been insured, and if it has not been whether any action is called for against the owner; but that is another matter.

2. The accident was on 17-2-1964 and the claim was presented before the tribunal on 8-5-1964, in other words, after 80 days. Since, however, only 60 days are allowed, the tribunal held that the claim was time barred. Certainly the claimant wanted condonation of the delay for 'sufficient' cause which the Motor Vehicles Act itself has envisaged by providing that the time limit could be relaxed where the tribunal is satisfied of sufficient cause.

3. The applicant's own account of the happening is as follows : He usually lives at Mhow and was knocked down on the Mhow-Indore road on 17-2-1964. He became unconscious but a police officer who was passing that way got him removed to the hospital and had also made a report at the police station. He was at the first instance treated in theIndore M. Y. Hospital and put in plaster, When it was found there was no immediate danger to his life he was at his own request removed to the Mhow hospital as his master who lives there had moved in the matter and was in a position to look after him while at Indore he seems to have had no friend. Any way, at the Mhow hospital he was detained till 1-5-1964 and then discharged now permanently disabled as he states in oneof his less. On 8-5-1964 one week after his discharge from the hospital and as already noted, 80 days after the accident he presented his claim. At this stage we are not concerned with the merits because the application has been rejected for limitation, the tribunal holding there was no sufficient cause for the condonation of delay.

4. In my view it is proper for the tribunal to take a humane and not a mechanical view of delays that might occur in the filing of the claims. It is not suggested that the claims presented long after due date should be entertained blindly without any inquiry as to the sufficiency of the oause; but the tribunal should, as it were, place itself in the situation of a person who has suffered a motor accident or if it has been fatal, his dependants looking for their daily bread to the earnings of the dead man. Their immediate reaction is not a plan to file a claim but one of shock. If the victim has died then and there, the dependants are, as it were, stupified for some time; if he is alive, the sufferer has almost always to spend some time in the hospitals -- quite often on the margin between life and death. In the instant case we are concerned with a non-fatal accident and hospitalization for 2 1/2 months. It is not right to expect that a person who is hospitalized after a serious accident and is in danger of losing the use of his limbs if not of his life would be inclined to take legal advice, collect particulars of the ownership of the vehicle, and fill in forms for submitting a claim. All this he has to do; but can be expected to do only after being discharged from the hospital. If the claim is presented soon after the discharge from the hospital and the interval is broadly speaking not excessive and is about the time sufficient to make inquiries and take legal advice I would entertain the claim even though it might be be.yond the statutory limitation. How far this concession should be given would depend upon the facts of the case. In the instant case, for example, the man was discharged on the 1st May andpresented his claim just seven days later. During this interval he had been collect-ing the necessary particulars two of which, namely, the names of the owner of the car and of the driver have to be gathered from the R. T. O. Office. In the instant case it is conceivable even the number of the car had to be verified from the report given by the police officer. A week cannot at all be considered excessive for this purpose.

5. As usual case-law has been cited the appellant relying upon the case reported in New India Assurance Co. v. Punjab Roadways, AIR 1964 Puni 235:

'The words 'sufficient cause' used in proviso to Section 110(3) would receive a liberal construction so as to advance substantial justice where no serious negligence or inaction or want of bona fides is imputed to the claimant. Where the injured person is incapacitated from presenting the application because of serious injuries the tribunal can rightfully extend time for presentation of application'.

6. The respondent-owner has cited Bhojraj v. Darsu, AIR 1959 Madh Pra 52, where the Court has indicated the test to be applied for sufficient cause under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Broadly speaking, the principle is the same as in Section 110-A (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act but cases under the later section have some special features. The case reported in Basantilal v. Sagar Tr., 1965 MPLJ (Notes) 120 is more to the point. The tribunal's refusal to condone the delay bad been upheld by the High Court; but there the position was auite unlike that in the instant case. The accident was on 31-10-1960 and the claim was made just one year afterwards. The, reason advanced was that for one thing, the claimants were poor and illiterate scheduled caste members and for another, they had been misled in respect of the forum and had further been under a misconception as to the remedy to be pursued and had been approaching different authorities and respectable persons. These circumstances were held not to be sufficient cause but the circumstances in the instant case where the delay also is far less are quite different,

7. In the result I would allow the appeal and setting aside the order of rejection of the claim direct that the tri-bunal should proceed to investigate the merits of the claim. The appellant shall get his costs and pleaders fee according to rules from the contesting respondent No. 1.


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