1. Prabh Dial Singh, a cloth merchant while travelling on his motor cycle was knocked down and killed in an accident with a tractor. This happened at Cheehartha, Amritsar on July 7, 1976. The Tribunal found the negligence of Prem Singh, the driver of the tractor, as the cause of the accident, and awarded a sum of Rs. 68,600/- as compensation to the claimants, they being the widow and two minor children of the deceased. The tractor had not been insured and so it was only the said Prem Singh and Smt. Paro, the owner thereof who were held liable for the payment of the amount awarded.
2. In appeal now by Smt. Paro, the owner of the tractor, the plea sought to be raised was that she could not be held vicariously liable for the accident, as Prem Singh was not her employee and at any rate the accident had not been caused by him in the course of his employment with her.
3. The tractor admittedly belonged to Smt. Paro and it stands established from the evidence on record that it was being driven by Prem Singh when the accident took place. Neither Prem Singh nor any other witness was examined to contest the claim of the claimants. In a situation like the present, it has clearly to be presumed that the tractor was being driven by Prem Singh for and on behalf of its owner. This is of course a rebuttable presumption, but here neither the driver nor the owner chose to come into the witness-box or to adduce any other evidence and this presumption must consequently stand. The legal position being so, is founded upon the judgment of this Court in Joginder Nath v. Shanti Devi, 1967 Acc. C. J. 150. This being the state of affairs in this case, there is no escape from the conclusion, having regard also to the evidence on record, that not only Prem Singh, but also Smt. Paro were rightly held liable by the Tribunal for the amount awarded.
4. An attempt was made to argue that adequate opportunity had not been afforded to Smt. Paro to adduce evidence when the matter was pending before the Tribunal. The record of the proceedings, however, points otherwise. A reference thereto would show that on 10-2-1978, the evidence of the claimants concluded and the case was then adjourned for the evidence of the respondent. No evidence of theirs was, however, available on that date, that is, February 25, 1978. Another opportunity was then granted to them for this purpose. Again no evidence was available on the adjourned date which was February 28, 1978. A last opportunity was granted to them for production of evidence on payment of Rs. 50/- as costs. On the next date, that is, March 16, 1978, neither any evidence was available nor had the costs been paid and the evidence of the respondents was accordingly closed. These being the circumstances the appellant cannot be heard to complain of due opportunity not having been granted to her for adducing evidence.
5. The impugned award of the Tribunal thus warrants no interference in appeal. This appeal is consequently hereby dismissed with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 300/-.
6. Appeal dismissed.