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iqbal Singh and anr. Vs. S. Sohan Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent Appeal Nos. 434 and 435 of 1977 and Cross Objection No. 4 of 1978
Judge
Reported inAIR1984P& H20
ActsMotor Vehicles Act - Sections 110; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 41, Rules 10 and 22
Appellantiqbal Singh and anr.
RespondentS. Sohan Singh and anr.
Cases ReferredBrij Mohan Singh v. State of Punjab
Excerpt:
.....concerned, the period of limitation for filing an appeal would commence from the date when the parties concerned acquire knowledge of passing of the said order. - suri has raised two arguments firstly that the findings of the tribunal as well as of the learned single judge that the accident took place on account of negligence of the driver of the car is erroneous and, secondly, that the amount of compensation awarded on account of expenditure on transport, i......(f.a.o no. 64 of 1972). and. the owner and driver of the car and the insurance company filed a cross appeal (f. a. o. no. 38 of.1972).5. the learned single judge partly accepted the appeal of the claimant and enhanced the compensation on account of pain and suffering from rs. 5000/- to rs. 10,000/- and on account of expenditure on transport from rs. 9,600/- to rs. 24;000/- and dismissed the appeal of the owner and the insurance company: the latter have filed the above-said two letters patent appeals.6. mr. suri has raised two arguments firstly that the findings of the tribunal as well as of the learned single judge that the accident took place on account of negligence of the driver of the car is erroneous and, secondly, that the amount of compensation awarded on account of.....
Judgment:

Rajendra Nath Mittal, J.

1. This judgment will dispose of L. P. A, Nos. 434 and 435 of 1977 which arise out of the same judgment of a learned single Judge dated 5th September, 1977.

2. Briefly, the facts are that Sohan Singh claimant was going on his motorcycle No. PNE-154.on the road dividing Sectors 17 and 18,. Chandigarh, to hie office in the Secretariat Building et about 9 A. M. on the 4th July, 1969. It is averred that he was. going at the extreme left of the road and was. driving the motorcycle at a slow speed. When he reached the crossing near the Government. Printing press building, he further slowed down his motorcycle. Simultaneously, car No. PUJ-2220 belonging to Iqba1 Singh, respondent No. 1, and driven by Tarvinder Bir Singh, respondent No. 2. at a high speed came from the opposite side and struck against his right side Due to the impact of the car, the, along with he motorcycle, fell on the ground and broke hie right leg. He also received other injuries. He was removed it the General Hospital, Sector i6 in an unconscious state Later, he was taken to the P.G.I. Sector 12, Chandigarh on 5th July, 1969, where his, leg. was amputated thigh. It is alleged that the accident took place because of. rash and negligent driving of the car by the driver. The claimant claimed a compensation of Rs.3,58,550/- from the respondents.

3. The owner of the car and the Insurance Company contested the claim and controverted the allegations of the claimant. They inter alia pleaded that the accident took place on account of rash and negligent driving qt the motorcycle by the claimant and, therefore, he was not entitled to any compensation.

4. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, held that the accident took place due to negligence of the driver of the car and that the claimant was entitled to Rs. 25,000/- on account of permanent disability due to amputation of right leg Rs. 5,000/- on account. of suffering and pain, Rs. 306/- on account of expenditure on special diet, Rs; 508/- on account of cost of artificial limb and Ruppes 9,600/- on account of expenditure on transport for rest of the life. It consequently accepted the claim petition to the tune of Rupees 40,414/-. The claimant came up in appeal to this Court (F.A.O No. 64 of 1972). and. the owner and driver of the car and the Insurance Company filed a cross appeal (F. A. O. No. 38 of.1972).

5. The learned single Judge partly accepted the appeal of the claimant and enhanced the compensation on account of pain and suffering from Rs. 5000/- to Rs. 10,000/- and on account of expenditure on transport from Rs. 9,600/- to Rs. 24;000/- and dismissed the appeal of the owner and the Insurance Company: The latter have filed the above-said two letters patent appeals.

6. Mr. Suri has raised two arguments firstly that the findings of the Tribunal as well as of the learned single Judge that the accident took place on account of negligence of the driver of the car is erroneous and, secondly, that the amount of compensation awarded on account of expenditure on transport, i. e., Rs. 24,000/- was excessive.

7. The learned single Judge has dealt with in detail the evidence and come to the conclusion that the accident, took place on account of the negligence of the driver of the car. In the letters patent appeal, we are not inclined to upset the finding of fact arrived at be the learned Judge by reappraising the evidence. consequently, we reject the submission

8. The second argument of Mr. Suri is that the learned single Judge held that the claimant was entitled to compensation on account of expenditure on the transport at the rate of Rs. 100/-, per month He determined the total amount of compensation as Rs. 24,000/- by multiplying that amount with the number

of months he was expected to live. He submits that if the said amount is deposited in the Bank, the income from interest thereon at the rate of 10 per cent per annum which is generally paid by the Banks now on a fixed deposit, would come to Rs. 200/- P.M. According to him the amount of compensation granted to the claimant respondent is, therefore, excessive.

9. We have considered the argument of the learned counsel. It may be mentioned that the claimant had claimed an amount of Rs. 20,000/- for purchase of a car and Rs. 48,00o/- for its maintenance, for a period of 20 years. The Tribunal came to the conclusion that the claimant came to the conclusion that the claimant could go to his office in a scooter-rickshaw for which he would incur a monthly expenditure of rupees 100/-. Again, we are not inclined to interfere with this finding of fact arrived at by the learned single judge.

10. The question now to be seen is whether the amount of compensation determined on this count is just. The learned counsel for the appellants has submitted that the compensation should be granted after taking into consideration the interest payable by the Bank. The interest theory has, however, been discarded for determining the compensation awarded to the legal representatives of a deceased dying in an accident by a full bench of this High court vanguard Insurance Co. Ltd., Madras v. Smt. Naresh Kanta (1977) 79 Pun LR 328: (AIR 1977Punj & Har 214).The following observations may be read with advantage (at p. 219):--

'...... However; this interest theory cannot be adopted as an inflexible principle for the purpose of assessing the compensation specially in these days. when the purchasing power in terms of money is being eroded after short intervals an account of run away inflation'

11. It is common knowledge that the increase in inflation is at a higher rate than the increase in the rate of Bank interest The charges of transport in urban areas have gone up even higher than the prices of the commodities of day-to-day use. The high rise in transport charges is due to the reason that there is four times rise in the price of petrol in the last one decade. However, the rate of interest has not gone up in that proportion. due to the rise in local transport charges, the expense of the claimant-respondent now must be much more than that assessed by the Tribunal in 1971. Therefore, the above observations of the Full Bench are equally true when the compensation is determined regarding the transport charges. In the result, we are of the view that interest theory is for determining the transport charges also. After taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that the amount of compensation determined by the learned single Judge on this count is Just. Consequently, we reject the submission of Mr. of Mr. Suri.

12. Now, we deal with the cross-objections of the claimant-respondent. A Preliminary objection has been raised by Mr. Suri that in letters patent appeal, the cross-objections are not maintainable as Order hl, Rule 22, Civil P. C., is. not applicable to such appeals He relies on Sukhanand Mathura Prasad v Baikunth Nath, AIR 1962 All 509, and Excise and Taxation Officer v. Caltex India Ltd: AIR 1962 J and K 89.

13. We have not been able to per suade ourselves to accept the submission. The question about the applicability of the Orders and Rules framed under the Civil P. C, to the Letters Patent, appeals up before the Privy Council in Mt. Sabitri Thakurain v. Savi, AIR 1921 PC 80. It was held by their Lordships that the regulations duly made by Orders and Rules under the Code were applicable to the jurisdiction exerciseable under the Letters Patent, except that they do not restrict the express Letters Patent Appeals. It was further held that the provisions of Order 41 Rule 10, apply equally to appeals under Letters Patent as to appeals under the Code. The above dictum was followed in Mt. Abhilakhi v. Sada Nand, AIR 1931 All 244 (FB) and Magam D. Venkatesham chetty v. Mothichand Gulabchand, AIR1926 Mad 316 (FB).

14. The specific question as to whether cross-objections can be filed in Letters Patent appeals or not arose before a Division Bench of. the Lahore High, Court in Lala Khazanchi Shah v Haji Niaz Ali, AIR 1940 Lah 438. The learned Bench, after noticing the above cases, Came to the conclusion that cross objections could be filed in Letters Patent appeal from a first appeal. However, the question as to whether the cross-objections in Letters Patent appeals from second appeals were maintainable or not was left open. The relevant observations are as follows:--

'.....the first point that arises is whetdter there can be cross-.objections in the Letters Patent appeal. On this point, there might have been originally some conflict of authority, but the matter appears to be set at rest by a Privy Council judgment reported in (1921) ILR 48 Cal 481: (AIR 1921. PC 80). (Mt., Sabitri Thakurain v. Savi), where it was held that Order 41 of the code Would apply to Letters Patent appeals and that in general there was no difference between the procedure in Letters Patent appeals and ordinary appeals so far as the Similarly, in AIR 1931 All 244 (Mt. Abii1rkhi v. Sada Nand), a Full Bench of that Court appears to have overruled certain earlier rulings where similar points were held pot to apply in Letters, Patent appeals. In (1926.) ILR 49 Mad 291: (AIR 1926 Mad 316) (Venkatesham Chetty v. Moti Chand Gulab Chand) a Full Bench came to the decision that in a Letters Patent appeal from an original order from a single Judge, cross-objections could be taken in Letters Patent appeal. The matter might be different in the case of a second in such a case is only permissible with the certificate of the Judge who heard the case in single Bench. Therefore the question of cross-objections in such a case might raise a question of jurisdiction as distinct from a matter of procedure. but it is unnecessary to decide that point because in this case the Letters Patent appeal is from a first appeal and lies without any certificate. In such a case, it appears to me that the question whether appeals should be taken or cross-objections should be allowed is merely a matter of procedure and does not raise any question of jurisdictions. I would, therefore hold that the judgment-debtor is entitled to put in cross-objections to the appeal.'

15. We are in respectful agreement with the above observations. same view was taken in State of West Bengal v. Ruttonjee and Company, AIR1970 Cal 548, Smt. satyabhamadevi Choubey v. Ramkishore Pandey, Air 1975 Madh Pra 115 and Mahmad Ali v. Akram Ali, AIR 1976 Gau 106. It may be relevant to point our that in Ruttonjee and company's case (supra), a Division Bench of Calcutta High court disagreed with an earlier view of that Court where contrary opinion had been expresses. With we great respect to the learned Judges, we are not inclined to accept the view expresses in Sukhanand Mathura Prasad's (AIR1962 all l509) and Excise and Taxation officer's cases (AIR1962 J & K 89) (supra)referred to by Mr. Suri. consequently, we hold that Order 41, rule 22, civil P. C., is applicable to Letters Patent appeals from first appeals. The present appeal is against the judgment of a learned single Judge in a first anneal and, therefore, the cross-objections by the claimant-respondent are maintainable.

16. Mr. Gyani has argued that on account of the disability; the claimant respondent has lost chances of promotion and getting extension after the age of 55 years and, therefore, he was entitled to compensation on that score but the Court illegally disallowed that claim. We do not agree with the learned counsel. The claim is a speculative one end in our view, the respondent is not entitled to such a claim. The question has been settled by a Ful1 Bench of this Court in Jai Singh v. N. A. Subramaniam, AIR 1982 Punj de Har 407, wherein it was observed that when en injured person puts in a claim for his apprehended loss resulting from his inability to set up a private practice or secure other lucrative employment after his retirement, the same would be based merely on his conjectures or guess work inasmuch as at that particular time, the problem as to What he might do after retirement, may not at.a11 be present in his mind nor there any be any occasion for taking some such decision The above observations negative the argument of Mr. Gyani. Therefore, we reject the same.

17. Mr. Gyani. further sought to urge that proper compensation on other counts, referred to above, had not been given.. He also contended that the interest had been given to the claimant by the learned single Judge on the enhanced amount of compensation and not on the whole amount of compensation which he was entitled to under the Motor Vehicles Act.

18. We are not inclined to enhance the compensation given to the claimant on various counts. In our view, the learned. single Judge has awarded to him proper compensation. However; regarding interest, Section 110-CC of. the Act prescribes that where any Tribunal allows a claim for compensation, such Tribunal. may direct that in. addition to the amount. of compensation simple. interest shall also be Paid at such rates and from such date not earlier than the date of making the claim, as it may specify. It is evident from a bare reading of the section that the Tribunal can grant interest on the compensation from the date of filing the claim application. In the above view. we are fortified by the observations of a Division Bench of this Court in Brij Mohan Singh v. State of Punjab, 1979 Acc CJ 491: (AIR 1979 Punj & Har 203), wherein it was held that 'the claimants are entitled to interest on the amount of compensation. from the date of application to the date of payment. We are consequently of the opinion that the claimant should have been granted interest. on. the whole amount of compensation from the date of the application.

19. For the aforesaid reasons, we dismiss the Letters Patent appeals with but partly accept the cross-objection and grant interest to the claimant respondent at the rate of 12 per cent per annum on whole of the compensation from the date or the application till the date of payment counsel fee Rupees 300/-

S.S. Sandhawalia, C.J.

I agree.

20. Letters Patent appeals dismissed.

21. Cross-objection partly allowed.


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