(1) The son of the petitioner Mulkh Raj died in a motor accident on October 5, 1958. In the Gazette of March 13, 1959, a Government Notification appeared constituting Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal under Section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1939(Act No. 4 of 1939) with effect from February 10, 1959.
(2) On August 27, 1959, petitioner Mulkh Raj instituted a suit to recover Rs. 20,000/- as damages in regard to the death of his son in the accident against the respondent. The trial Court, I am using the language used by it, receipt the suit by its order of January 16, 1960 on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to try the suit in view of Section 110-F of Act No. 4 of 1939.
(3) This is a revision petition against the order of the trial Judge seeking to have the order set aside and in substance urging that it is the trial Court that has jurisdiction in the suit and nor the Tribunal constituted under Section 110 of Act No. 4 of 1939.
(4) An application for compensation arising out of an accident is dealt with in Section 110-A of the Act and sub-section (3) of that section provides that
'no application for compensation under this section shall be entertained unless it is made within sixty days of the occurrence of the accident; provided that the Claim Tribunal may entertain the application after the expiry of the said period of sixty days if it is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time.'
In the present case sixty days from the occurrence of the accident expired on December 4, 1958. By that date no Claims Tribunal had been constituted under Section 110 of the Act.
It was constituted with effect from February 10, 1959. What is contended on behalf of the respondents is that as soon as it was constituted the petitioner should have filed a claims application before it at the same time claiming benefit of proviso to sub-section (3) of Section 110-A and seeking to show sufficient cause why he was prevented to present the application in time. I should consider that the approach is entirely without substance for the simple reason that it was not because of the existence of sufficient cause which prevented the applicant from making the application in time but it was because within the time prescribed there was no Tribunal that could entertain the application. This bring me to section 110-F of the Act which says-
'Where any claims Tribunal has been constituted for any area, no civil shall have jurisdiction to entertain any question relating to any claim for compensation which may be adjudicated upon by the Claims Tribunal for that area, and no injunction in respect of any action taken or to be taken by or before the Claims Tribunal in respect of the claims for compensation shall be granted by the civil court.'
As I regard this section it only bars jurisdiction in claims for compensations which may be adjudicated upon by the Claims Tribunal, but the present is not a claim which could have been adjudicated upon by the Claims Tribunal for on the date on which it was constituted the claim of the petitioner could not have been entertained by it for more than sixty days had elapsed from the date of the accident and no application under Section 110-A of the Act could be made before it.
I have already explained that in the circumstances of this case proviso to sub-section (3) or this section cannot possibly apply. So that in my opinion the claim for compensation by the petitioner could not be adjudicated upon by the Claims Tribunal in the present case and so the provisions of Section 110-F of the Act are not attracted to the facts of the present case. The jurisdiction of the Civil Court is not barred in this case and in fact Civil Court is the only forum in which the petitioner can pursue his remedy for his claim against the respondents. The order of the learned trial Judge is, therefore, manifestly erroneous and is set aside.
(5) The case will now go back to the trial Court to be tried according to law. In the circumstances of this petition there is no order as to costs. The parties are directed to appear before the trial Court on May 15, 1961.
(6) Case remanded.