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Satyanarayan Panda Vs. Sangram Keshari Mohanty and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.H.O. No. 10 of 1995
Judge
Reported inI(2005)ACC264; 2006ACJ1096; 97(2004)CLT662; 2004(I)OLR491
ActsMotor Vehicles Act - Sections 95
AppellantSatyanarayan Panda
RespondentSangram Keshari Mohanty and anr.
Appellant AdvocateR.N. Mohanty, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateG.P. Dutta, Adv. for Respondent No. 2
DispositionA.H.O. dismissed
Cases Referred(Venkataswami Motor Service v. C.K. Chinnaswamy and Ors.
Excerpt:
.....approved. new india assurance co. ltd. v birendra mohan de, 1995 (2) gau lt 218 (db) and union of india v smt gita banik, 1996 (2) glt 246, are not good law]. - but then, both the tribunal as well as the learned single judge have discussed the evidence at length and have arrived at the conclusion that a compensation of rs......the evidence awarded a compensation of rs. 53,000.00 to the claimant which was to be paid by the insurance company as the bus had been validly insured on the date of the accident. the said award was challenged by the insurance company before this court in misc. appeal no. 76 of 1992. it was contended by the insurance company before this court that the claimant was a passenger at the time the accident took place and as such the insurer's liability, in consonance with the conditions of the insurance policy, was only to the extent of rs. 15,000.00. the learned single judge disposed of the misc. appeal holding that the claimant was a passenger and as such the insurance company was liable to pay rs. 15,000.00 only and the owner of the offending bus was liable to pay the balance amount out.....
Judgment:

A.S. Naidu, J.

1. This Letters Patent Appeal has been preferred by the claimant inter alia Challenging the judgment passed by a learned Single Judge of this Court in Misc. Appeal No. 76 of 1992.

2. Bereft of unnecessary details, the short facts are that on 17th September, 1986 the claimant who was a college student was travelling in a town bus bearing registration number OAU 1646 in the morning from Chandinichowk to Rajabagicha. He was supposed to get down at the Khannagar Bus-stop. At that relevant stop when the claimant was about to get down, the Conductor of the bus signalled the bus to proceed before the claimant could get down, as a result of which the latter fell down on the road and the rear wheel of the bus ran over his legs. The claimant sustained grievous injuries and his legs were fractured. He was removed to the S.C.B. Medical College-Hospital, Cuttack for treatment. In spite of prolonged treatment he was not cured and became permanently disabled.

3. The Second Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Cuttack after perusing the materials and discussing the evidence awarded a compensation of Rs. 53,000.00 to the claimant which was to be paid by the Insurance Company as the bus had been validly insured on the date of the accident. The said award was challenged by the Insurance Company before this Court in Misc. Appeal No. 76 of 1992. It was contended by the Insurance Company before this Court that the claimant was a passenger at the time the accident took place and as such the insurer's liability, in consonance with the conditions of the Insurance Policy, was only to the extent of Rs. 15,000.00. The learned Single Judge disposed of the Misc. Appeal holding that the claimant was a passenger and as such the Insurance Company was liable to pay Rs. 15,000.00 only and the owner of the offending bus was liable to pay the balance amount out of the compensation awarded. The said judgment of the learned Single Judge is challenged in this A.H.O. mainly on the ground that the claimant ceased to be a passenger the moment the bus crossed the stoppage for which the claimant held a valid ticket. In fact the claimant's ticket ended at Rajabagicha and thereafter he ceased to be a passenger and became a third party. On the aforesaid basis it is submitted that the Insurance Company is liable to pay the entire compensation amount.

4. In course of hearing, Mr. R. N. Mohanty, learned counsel appearing for the claimant-appellant, relying on the provisions of Section 95 of the Motor Vehicles Act, forcefully submitted that a person continues to be a passenger till his destination for which fare is paid. The moment the person travels beyond the distance for which he has paid the fare, he ceases to be a passenger. According to him, admittedly the claimant had purchased ticket for travelling up to Rajabagicha and when the bus proceeded ahead, he ceased to be a passenger and became a third party and as the accident took place thereafter, the Insurance Company is liable to pay the entire compensation amount.

5. The submission of Mr. Mohanty is strongly repudiated by Mr. Dutta, learned counsel for the Insurance Company.

6. We have carefully considered the submissions advanced by the parties and perused the materials available on record. According to us, to establish as to whether a certain person was a passenger, it has to be seen as to how the person acted. There is no doubt that a person becomes a passenger by a contract, express or implied. The expression 'passenger' ultimately refers to one who travels either in a bus or a vehicle or a ship or a train. This expression means, one who travels and nothing else. The relationship of a carrier and a passenger depends with reference to the vehicle concerned. It would cease only after the person leaves the vehicle. A person rushing to a vehicle and attempting to board the same, when it has started moving, may not be treated as a passenger until he has not got into the vehicle. At the other hand, one who was travelling in a vehicle and was trying to alight from it does not cease to be a passenger. Similarly, one who has alighted from the vehicle ceases to be a passenger. In other words, a passenger travelling in a bus continues to be a passenger until he completely gets down from the bus or leaves that vehicle.

7. The learned Single Judge relying upon the ratio of the decision of the Madras High Court, reported in 1993 ACJ 1 (Venkataswami Motor Service v. C.K. Chinnaswamy and Ors.) held that the claimant retained his character as a passenger at the time the accident took place and set aside the finding of the Tribunal that the claimant assumed the character of a third party.

8. After going through the impugned judgment, we find no reason to differ from the reasonings given by the learned Single Judge in arriving at the conclusion that the claimant continued to be a passenger at the time of the accident. Accordingly we are not inclined to interfere with the impugned judgment.

9. Learned counsel for the claimant forcefully submitted that the amount of compensation should be enhanced taking into consideration the sufferings of a youngman. But then, both the Tribunal as well as the learned Single Judge have discussed the evidence at length and have arrived at the conclusion that a compensation of Rs. 53,000.00 was just, proper and adequate. We also do not find any material to differ from the said concurrent finding. Accordingly the submission of the learned counsel for the claimant is rejected.

10. In the result, we dismiss the A.H.O. Parties to bear their respective costs.

Sujit Barman Roy, C.J.

11. I agree.


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