Skip to content


Guriqpal Singh Vs. Surinder Kaur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberF.A.O. No. 154 of 1977
Judge
Reported in[1984]56CompCas377(P& H)
AppellantGuriqpal Singh
RespondentSurinder Kaur and ors.
Appellant Advocate Gurbachan Singh, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Harinder Singh, Adv. for respondent Nos. 1, 3 to 5,; J.S. Wasu and;
Cases Referred & H) and Sitaram Motilal Kalal v. Santanuprasad Jaishanker Bhatt
Excerpt:
.....sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply..........established on the record are that on january 1, 1971, when the authorised driver of the truck, tara singh, had parked the same at a distance of one mile south east of harike, on makhumoga road, one ram singh got into the seat of the driver and drove away the truck towards amritsar and caused a head-on collision with punjab roadways bus no. pua 985, being driven by amrik singh, deceased. this factual position is admitted even by the claimants in para. 24 of their claim petition. in reply to this petition, the present appellants, owners of the truck, and tara singh, the authorised driver of the same, and the insurance company, respondent no. 8, with whom the truck was comprehensively insured, raised a plea that none of them was liable for damages to which the claimants may otherwise be.....
Judgment:

I.S. Tiwana, J.

1. In this appeal against the award of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Amritsar, by the owners of truck No. PNF 9451, the facts admitted and otherwise established on the record are that on January 1, 1971, when the authorised driver of the truck, Tara Singh, had parked the same at a distance of one mile South East of Harike, on Makhumoga Road, one Ram Singh got into the seat of the driver and drove away the truck towards Amritsar and caused a head-on collision with Punjab Roadways Bus No. PUA 985, being driven by Amrik Singh, deceased. This factual position is admitted even by the claimants in para. 24 of their claim petition. In reply to this petition, the present appellants, owners of the truck, and Tara Singh, the authorised driver of the same, and the insurance company, respondent No. 8, with whom the truck was comprehensively insured, raised a plea that none of them was liable for damages to which the claimants may otherwise be entitled on account of this accident as Ram Singh, who drove the truck at the time of the accident, was neither an authorised agent of the employer (owner of the truck) nor could in any way incur liability under law for these persons.

2. As a result of the trial that followed, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal categorically found that at the time of the accident, Ram Singh was driving the truck rashly and negligently and he was neither so authorised by the owners (appellants) nor by Tara Singh, the driver of the truck. Somehow, by a queer process of reasoning, the Tribunal has held that since Tara Singh, driver of the truck, while leaving the truck parked by the side of the road and was himself away to the fields to answer calls of nature, negligently left the ignition key of the truck in the switch and thus facilitated the taking away or stealing of the truck by Ram Singh and it was on account of this negligence on the part of Tara Singh that the accident occurred. It was further deduced that since Tara Singh who was negligent in leaving the key in the truck was the authorised agent or driver of the owner, the owners themselves are liable for the damages to the tune of Rs. 46,000. It is difficult to find any logic in this reasoning and conclusion of the Tribunal. This is more so, in view of the fact that Tara Singh, driver of the truck, has not in any way been held liable for causing of the accident or the damages awarded against the real owners.

3. It is not even disputed before me that Ram Singh, at the time of the accident, was not in any manner an authorised agent of the appellants-owners or Tara Singh, the actual driver of the truck. It has authoritatively been pronounced by their Lordships in Minu B. Mehta v. Balkrishna Ramchandra Nayan [1977] 47 Comp Cas 736 (SC), that the liability of the owner of the vehicle to compensate the victim of an accident due to the negligent driving of his servant is based on the law of tort. Regarding the negligence of the servant, the owner is made liable on the basis of vicarious liability. Before the master can be made liable, it is necessary to prove that the servant was acting during the course of his employment and that he was negligent. It has further been held that a person cannot be held liable unless he contravenes any of the duties imposed on him by common law or by statute. As already indicated, authorisation or agency in favour of Ram Singh is neither alleged nor proved. In such a situation, it is difficult to fasten the liability of the doing of Ram Singh on the real owners of the truck', i.e., the appellants. Though it is being disputed by the learned counsel for the appellants that as a matter of fact there was any ignition key of this truck and there is not even an iota of evidence to that effect on the record of this case, yet even if for argument's sake, it is accepted that the truck was being operated with the assistance of any ignition key, still leaving of that key in the truck to my mind does not in any way fasten the driver, Tara Singh, or the owners with any such negligence which may make them liable for damages being awarded. Even if negligence on the part of Tara Singh in leaving the key in the truck is to be assumed, that negligence cannot be said to be the direct cause of the accident and cannot be referred to the negligence in the driving of the truck. Otherwise also, this court has taken the view in Dalip Singh v. Smt. Mukand Kaur [1978] PLR 361, that where the keys of a truck were entrusted to the cleaner of the truck and he authorised another person to drive it, resulting in an accident, the owner of the truck cannot be held liable for the reason that the cleaner of the truck who passed on the key to another person had no authority to entrust the keys to that person for driving the truck. Somewhat similar view has been taken in Tara Chand v. Dr. Brij Mohan Gupta [1980] ACJ 402 (P & H) and Sitaram Motilal Kalal v. Santanuprasad Jaishanker Bhatt [1966] ACJ 89 (SC) and B. Govindarajulu Chetty v.M.L.A. Gowndaraja Mudaliar [1966] ACJ 153 (Mad).

4. For the reasons recorded above, the award of the Tribunal fastening the appellants with the liability of paying Rs. 46,000 to the heirs of deceased, Amrik Singh, has essentially to be set aside and I order accordingly. This conclusion of mine, however, does not in any way disturb the liability of Ram Singh, respondent, as determined by the. Tribunal. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case, I award no costs to the appellants.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //