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Renu Soni and ors. Vs. Narayan Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1984)ACC451
AppellantRenu Soni and ors.
RespondentNarayan Singh and ors.
Cases ReferredState of Karnataka v. Hemareddy
Excerpt:
.....gets automatically lapsed. - he led us through the evidence on record but failed to persuade us to take a view different from that taken by the tribunal on that point. it is also well settled that, where the appellate court agrees with the trial court, it is not necessary to discuss the evidence at length and that the expression of general agreement by the appellate court ordinarily suffices. the appeal must, therefore, fail......accident was caused due to rashness and negligence not of the truck-driver but solely that of the jeep driver. on this finding, it dismissed the case nos. 3/74, 4/74 and 5/74 after assessing the quantum of damage. the case no. 6/74 was dismissed not only on the basis of that finding but also on the ground that no 'material physical injury' was sustained by the claimant satish. the last case (no. 7/74) was dismissed on the additional ground that the claim for compensation on account of damage caused to the jeep was not maintainable, although it found that the damage was to the tune of rs. 8,000/-.6. the learned counsel for the appellants argued that the accident was caused due to rashness and negligence not of the jeep driver but of the truck driver. he led us through the evidence on.....
Judgment:

R.C. Shrivastava, J.

1. This is claimants' appeal under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939.

2. This appeal was preferred by Kumari Renu, Mrs. Rooprani, Deoraj, Satish and Rameshwar, Deoraj having died during pendency thereof, the appellants numbered as 3(a) to 3 (i) were brought on record as his legal representatives. The appellant No. 3(i) is the same person as the appellant No. 2. She is widow of Deoraj. The appellant No. 3(f) is the same person as the appellant No. 4. He is a son of Deoraj. The appellant Nos. 3(a), 3(c), 3(d), 3(e), 3(g) and 3(h) are also sons of Deoraj. The appellant No. 3(b) is his daughter while the appellant No. 1 is his grand daughter.

3. On 6-12-1967 Deoraj, his wife Mrs. Rooprani, sons Satish, Sushil and Inder grand daughter Renu were going from Indore to Himachal Pradesh via Gwalior by a jeep belonging to Rameshwar Ghisaji, appellant No. 5. When the jeep reached near Gwalior at about 1.15. p.m. it collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. The jeep was being driven by Satish. The truck belonged to the respondent No. 2 and was insured with the respondent No. 3. At the time of the accident, it was being driven by the respondent No. 1. As a result of the impact, the jeep over-turned and its occupants sustained bodily injuries. Sushil died on the spot.

4. Separate applications under Section 110-A of the Act for award of compensation were filed by Renu, Deoraj and Satish on account of the injuries sustained by them. They gave rise to case Nos. 3/68, 5/68 and 6/68 which were subsequently registered at new numbers 3/74, 5/74 and 6/74, respectively. Another application was filed by Deoraj and his wife Mrs. Rooprani for award of compensation on account of the death of their son Sushil. That gave rise to case No. 4/68 which was subsequently registered as case No. 4/74. The application filed by the appellant No. 5 was registered as case No. 7/68 and subsequently; as case No. 7/74. All those cases were consolidated and common evidence was recorded in case No. 3/74 and the cases were dismissed by a common order dated 18-5-1974. Being aggrieved thereby, the claimants have preferred this joint appeal.

5. The Tribunal held that the accident was caused due to rashness and negligence not of the truck-driver but solely that of the jeep driver. On this finding, it dismissed the case Nos. 3/74, 4/74 and 5/74 after assessing the quantum of damage. The case No. 6/74 was dismissed not only on the basis of that finding but also on the ground that no 'material physical injury' was sustained by the claimant Satish. The last case (No. 7/74) was dismissed on the additional ground that the claim for compensation on account of damage caused to the jeep was not maintainable, although it found that the damage was to the tune of Rs. 8,000/-.

6. The learned Counsel for the appellants argued that the accident was caused due to rashness and negligence not of the jeep driver but of the truck driver. He led us through the evidence on record but failed to persuade us to take a view different from that taken by the Tribunal on that point.

7. The jeep had started from Indore at about 4 a.m. alongwith its occupants. It was all the way driven by Satish (PW 7). It was of left hand drive. Satish's father Deoraj (PW 6) was sitting on the right side of the driver and the deceased Sushil was sitting on the extreme right side of the front seat. Renu (PW 2), Inder (PW 3) and Mrs. Rooprani were sitting on the back seats. The spot where the accident occurred is at a distance of about 300 miles from Indore. The fact that the jeep could cover such a long distance by the time the accident occurred shows that it must have been driven at a very high speed and its driver must have been quite tired at the time of the accident. He was, therefore, likely to lose control of the jeep. The truck had started from Gwalior shortly before the time of the accident and, therefore, its driver, being quite fresh, was not likely to lose control of the truck. The speed of the truck was also moderate as is apparent from the fact that it could be stopped within a few paces from the place of impact. The truck was of right-hand drive, while the jeep, as already pointed out, was of left hand drive. Satish did not have experience of driving a left side driven jeep or motor vehicle. The collision was not headlong. The evidence on record does not show which portion or part of the jeep sustained damage as a result of the impact, while the evidence shows that the side portion of the front right mudguard and the door on the same side (truck-driver's side) sustained damage and the right front wheel of the jeep flew off. The evidence on record shows that the truck was on its correct side (left) of the road at the time of the accident and sufficient width of the road was there for the jeep to cross, Renu (PW 2) stated that she did not know (i) as to how the accident took place and (ii) whether the jeep dashed against the truck or the truck dashed against the jeep or which portion dashed. Inder (PW 3) stated that he did not see the impact. Deoraj (PW 6) could not tell as to what happened. The version of Satish (PW 7) that the truck was coming on the wrong side and it dashed against the jeep is not corroborated and cannot be relied upon in the circumstances of the case. According to the truck-driver Narayansingh (DW 3) the jeep dashed against the right side of the front right mud-guard and the side door of the truck when it tried to over-take a car in speed is amply corroborated by Lalla (DW 1) and Janua (DW 2) who were also occupants of the truck at the time of the accident, and circumstances of the case. The jeep dashed so suddenly that it was not possible for the truck-driver to avert it. The entire evidence on record has been discussed by the Tribunal in detail in paragraph Nos. 21 to 31 of the impugned order and it has given cogent reasons for believing the defence evidence and arriving at the conclusion that the accident was caused due to rashness and negligence not of the truck-driver but solely that of the jeep-driver. In the case of Sarju Pershad Ramdeo Sahu v. Jwaleshwari Pratap Narayan Singh A.I.R. 1951 S.C. 12 their Lordships observed:.when there is conflict of oral evidence of the parties on any matter in issue and the decision hinges upon the credibility of the witnesses, then unless there is some special feature about the evidence of a particular witness which has escaped the trial Judge's notice or there is a sufficient balance of improbability to displace his opinion as to where the credibility lies, the appellate Court should not interfere with the finding of the trial Judge on a question of fact.

X X X XThe duty of the appellate Court in such cases is to see whether the evidence taken as a whole can reasonably justify the conclusion which the trial Court arrived at or whether there is a an element of improbability arising from proved circumstances which in the opinion of the Court, outweighs such finding.

8. That was relied upon in the case of Tulsiram Vaishya v. Shyamlal Ganpatlal 1960 M.P.L.J. 281 wherein it was pointed out that the opinion of the trial Judge has to be given weight regarding the appreciation of oral evidence and that it is not open to the appellate Court to disturb lihgtly the conclusion arrived at by the trial Court. It is also well settled that, where the appellate Court agrees with the trial Court, it is not necessary to discuss the evidence at length and that the expression of general agreement by the appellate Court ordinarily suffices. The following observations made in the case of Girjanandini Devi v. Bijendra Narain Choudhary : [1967]1SCR93 are noteworthy in the connection:

It is not the duty of the appellate Court when it agrees with the view of the trial Court on the evidence either to restate the effect of the evidence or to reiterate the reasons given by the trial Court. Expression of general agreement with reasons given by the trial Court decision of which is under appeal would ordinarily suffice.

9. That was followed in the case of State of Karnataka v. Hemareddy : 1981CriLJ1019 . The conclusion of the trial Court is based on firm premises. There is no social feature about the evidence of any witness escaping the trial Court's notice nor is there a sufficient balance of improbability to displace its opinion as to where the credibility lies. The evidence taken as a whole reasonably justifies the conclusion arrived at by the trial Court and there is nothing which may go to outweigh its finding. We have already expressed our general agreement with the view taken by the trial Court of the evidence on record and, since we agree with the view taken by the trial Court, it is not necessary to restate the effect of the evidence or to reiterate the reasons given by that Court. Thus, we confirm the finding that the accident was caused due to rashness and negligence not of the truck driver but solely that of the jeep-driver. The appeal must, therefore, fail.

10. The learned Counsel for the respondents objected that separate appeal should have been filed in each of the cases and this joint appeal by all the claimants was not maintainable. As the appeal fails in view of the finding that the accident was caused due to rashness and negligence not of the truck-driver but solely that of the jeep-driver, it is not necessary to decide that point and we abstain from expressing any opinion thereon. The question of quantum of damages is also, for the same reason, not necessary to be entered into.

11. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed with costs. The appellants shall pay the respondents' costs. Counsel's fee shall be up to Rs. 100/-(one hundred) only, it pre-certified.


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