1. This is a defendant's appeal against the concurrent judgments and degrees of the Courts below whereby the plaintiff's claim for damages to the tune of Rs. 5,000 /- on account of the murder of her son, was decreed in her favour.
2. The facts giving rise thereto are these.
3. In the beginning of November 1966 one Amar Singh, brother of the defendant-appellant, was murdered and in that murder case Joginder Singh, husband of the plaintiff. And a few others were sent up for trial. On that score, the defendant a had a grudge against the family of the plaintiff. On Nov. 24, 1966; at about 11 a.m. a seven year old son of the plaintiff named Mohan Singh was playing in then street with another child of same age. The appellant appeared there with a naked Kirpan and gave Kirpan blow and died. The matter was reported to the police, investigation was carried out, the defendant was sent up for trial and was ultimately convicted and sentenced for the charge of murder. The conviction and sentence was maintained by this Court. The present suit was brought by the plaintiff claiming Rs. 5,000/- as damages from the defendant on account of the murder of her only son. This claim was decreed by the Court's below in recording findings on both the issues in favour of the plaintiff. Those issues are:--
'1. Whether the defendant committed the murder of Mohan Singh deceased? O. P. P.
2. If issue No. 1 is proved to what amount the plaintiff is entitled as damages from the defendant on account of murder.
The finding on issue No. 1 is that the defendant-appellant committed the murder of Mohan Singh deceased. This finding remained unchallenged before the first appellate Court and is no longer in issue in the present appeal. The controversy centres around the finding on issue No. 2 and it has been raised in this manner.
4. Mr. Tehal Singh Mangat, learned counsel for the appellant, has pointed out that both the Courts below have recorded a finding that the agony of the parents by deprival of their only male child was inexpressible in words on whom they on account of mental torture suffered by the plaintiff, her claim cannot be measured in terms of money, and since the plaintiff had claimed Rs. 5,000/- as damages, the same was most reasonable, and cannot be termed inflated in any way. This is the specific view of the trial Court. The lower appellate Court also observed that the plaintiff was clearly entitled to claim compensation from the defendant for the mental shock which caused due to the murder of her son also her agony as a mother could not be imagined or measured in terms of money. On this concurrent finding, argument has been built by the learned counsel for the appellant that these are extraneous considerations and impermissible in a suit for damages. Reliance was placed by him on a full Bench decision of this Court reported as Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur, AIR 1979 Punj and Har 50, and in particular to the following Passage extracted therefrom (at P. 59):--
'(1) The compensation to be assessed is the pecuniary loss to the dependants by the death of the person concerned, and no compensation is to be assessed on any extraneous consideration. Solatium is alien to the concept of compensation.'
5. On the other hand, Mr. V. P. Sharda, learned counsel for the plaintiff-respondent, has brought to my notice the pleadings of t he parties. It is note-worthy that in para 5 of the plaint, the plaintiff averred that by the act of the defendant she stood deprived of her son for all times to come. who, she expected, on his growing up, will look after his parents and would have been a source of succour to them. She further stated that she was unable to assess the loss of damage on that score, but all the same she was claiming a sum of Rupees 5,00/- on this aspect. The defendant appellant in return only stated that paragraph 5 of the plaint is denied for want of knowledge. According to the learned counsel, the allegations contained in the plaint, were not specifically denied and hence no evident had to be led by the plaintiff towards proving that for the present he was rendering nay service to her. He frankly admitted that in the statement of the plaintiff, she made no mention of this aspect of the case but remained content with saying that she had started living very sad or remorseful on account of the death of her son and that she was entitled to a sum of Rs. 5,00/- as damages.
6. After hearing learned counsel for the parties and giving my careful thought to the matter in controversy, I am inclined to accept the submissions made by the learned counsel for the respondent. Pleadings have a purpose in civil matters. As required by Order 6, Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, every pleading must contain, and contain only, a statement in a concise form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defence, as the case may be, but not the evidence by which they are to be proved. Now, here the plaintiff specifically stated that she had high hopes on her son, who was expected to be a support to his parents in the evening of their lives. Thus the defendant on the other hand, was required under O. 8, R. 3 of the Civil P. C. to make the denial on this particular specifically. It requires that in the written statement to deny generally the grounds alleged by the plaintiff shall not be sufficient. but the defendant must deal specifically with each allegation of fact of which he does not admit the correctness, except damages. And here that denial is even not specific but is couched in the language that it is denied for want of knowledge. Law on such pleadings is crystallised that denial for want of knowledge is practically no denial at all. In the situation, the plaintiff was well within fact pleaded by her was not specifically denied and in any case there was nothing to give her in. Her statement could well have remained deficient on that score as facts admitted or not seriously disputed, are not required to be proved by a party.
7. Mr. Tehal Singh Mangat, however, states that the pleading of the plaintiff on the aforesaid score was an opinion and that opinion need not have been countered. I regret my inability to accept this assertion. She had pleaded true facts as to the natural course of expectancy in human events. These facts had to be countered by a proper reply. These facts are the basis of the theory of service well accepted by the English Courts as also by this Court (see in this connection Sukhchain Singh v. Brar Transport Co., (1980) 82 Pun LR 5587. HT e intimate relationship between the deceased and the plaintiff when broken at a particular point of time by the volitional or accidental death of t he deceased would spring forth law of imponderables and theories based on expectancies. It has been held in C. K. Subramonia Iyer v. T. Kumhikuttan Nair AIR 1970 SC 376, that as a general rule parents are entitled to recover the present cash value of t he prospective service of the deceased minor child and in addition they may receive compensation for loss of pecuniary benefits reasonably to be expected after the child attains majority. Though it is true that it is not sufficient for the plaintiff to prove that she had lost by t he death of her son a mere speculative possibility of pecuniary benefit but she could succeed if she had shown that she had lost a reasonable probability of pecuniary advantage. This, to my mind, she has specifically averred and in the normal circumstances, with our Indian norms, was reasonably expected that she will be looked after in her old age by her son when grown up. This Court in second appeal is not totally tied down to the language employed by the Courts below in recording findings which, other wise, by necessary pruning or replenishment can be made to sustain. An effort in that direction has been made as is plain from the aforesaid reasoning. On that analysis the claim of the plaintiff cannot be said to be in any way unsustainable inflated or exaggerated. In some what similar premises, though the death in that case was accidental and not homicidal, the Judicial Commissioner of masha Ram, AIR 1963 Him Pra 37 granted to the parents of a young boy, damages on expectancies and singular service.
8. For the foregoing reasons, this appeal fails and is hereby dismissed but with no order as to costs.
9. Appeal dismissed.