Skip to content


Harbans Singh Vs. Kishan Lal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal From Order No. 453 of 1979 and Cross Objection 5-CIT of 1980
Judge
Reported in[1986]60CompCas662(P& H)
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939
AppellantHarbans Singh
RespondentKishan Lal and ors.
Appellant Advocate J.P. Singh Sandhu, Adv.
Respondent Advocate G.L. Nagpal, Adv. for respondents Nos. 1 and 2,; S.C. Khungar and;
DispositionAppeal allowed
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
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..........harbans singh, from whom the tempo had been purchased by sabu ram before this accident and the insurance company with which harbans singh had insured this tempo when it was owned by him. both harbans singh and the insurance company now challenge their liability.4. the relevant facts as stand out on the record are that sabu ram was admittedly the owner of the tempo at the time of the accident, he having purchased the tempo on june 30, 1974. the accident, as has been mentioned above, took place over a year thereafter, that is, on august 22, 1975. krishan lal, the driver of this tempo, is the son of the said sabu ram. in his written statement, sabu ram admitted his ownership of the tempo and in the affidavit, exhibit r-2, sworn by him, it was specifically mentioned that he had purchased.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. On August 22, 1975, Smt. Sheela Devi, a school teacher, was returning home with her three month old daughter, when the tempo PUK-818, she was travelling in, struck against a heap of earth, turned turtle and then caught fire. Smt. Sheela Devi and her daughter died due to the burn injuries suffered by them in this accident.

2. It was the finding of the Tribunal that the accident had occurred on account of the rash and negligent driving of Krishan Lal, the driver of the tempo. A sum of Rs. 52,000 was awarded as compensation to the claimants, they being the husband and son of Smt. Sheela Devi, the deceased.

3. Liability for payment of the amount awarded as compensation was fastened not only upon the driver and owner of the tempo, namely, Krishan Lal and Sabu Ram, but also upon Harbans Singh, from whom the tempo had been purchased by Sabu Ram before this accident and the insurance company with which Harbans Singh had insured this tempo when it was owned by him. Both Harbans Singh and the insurance company now challenge their liability.

4. The relevant facts as stand out on the record are that Sabu Ram was admittedly the owner of the tempo at the time of the accident, he having purchased the tempo on June 30, 1974. The accident, as has been mentioned above, took place over a year thereafter, that is, on August 22, 1975. Krishan Lal, the driver of this tempo, is the son of the said Sabu Ram. In his written statement, Sabu Ram admitted his ownership of the tempo and in the affidavit, exhibit R-2, sworn by him, it was specifically mentioned that he had purchased this tempo on June 30, 1974. Sabu Ram also made a statement to this effect when he appeared in the witness box.

5. The point sought to be urged by Mr. G. L. Nagpal, counsel for the claimants, was that as the tempo stood registered in the name of Harbans Singh at the time of the accident, he retained ownership over it and was thus liable. In other words, registration in the name of the purchaser was a necessary ingredient for transfer of title of the vehicle concerned. This is a contention wholly devoid of merit. A similar point was raised in Phul Bus Service v. Financial Commissioner [1968] ACJ 57, where it was held that ownership of a motor vehicle is transferred in the same manner and subject to the same limitations and rules as apply to all other movable property and an absolute transferee of a motor vehicle does not cease to be the owner thereof merely because his name has not yet been substituted for the name of the transferor in the registration certificate of the vehicle issued under the Motor Vehicles Act. It was specifically observed that registration under the Motor Vehicles Act was not a necessary ingredient of a completed title of ownership of a motor vehicle.

6. There is, thus, no escape from the conclusion that Harbans Singh had no connection with the tempo on the date of the accident and consequently no liability could be fastened upon him arising out of any accident that the tempo may have been involved in after its transfer to Sabu Ram.

7. The insurance company too could not have been held liable as the insured was Harbans Singh and not the transferee, Sabu Ram. Admittedly, no policy of insurance had been obtained by Sabu Ram nor had any request ever been made for the transfer of the policy to Sabu Ram. The insurance company in this situation cannot in any manner be held liable for payment of any amount awarded as compensation.

8. In dealing with the liability of the insurance company, the other pertinent aspect which deserves mention is that Krishan Lal, the driver of the tempo, did not hold any driving licence at the time of the accident. Indeed, he was not even eligible for the grant of a licence, being underaged. Sabu Ram, father of Krishan Lal, admitted that Krishan Lal had no licence and was only 16 years of age. There is also on record the judgment of the criminal court, exhibit A-6, whereby Krishan Lal was convicted in respect of this accident. The age given by Krishan Lal before the criminal court was 14 years. What it means is that even if there had been a valid policy of insurance in respect of this tempo, the fact that it was being driven by Krishan Lal, would have provided a complete defence to the insurance company.

9. The Tribunal, thus, fell into an error in fastening liability for payment of the amount awarded upon Harbans Singh and the insurance company.

10. An attempt was also made on behalf of the claimants to seek enhanced compensation, vide cross-objections filed in both these appeals. Considering the age, emoluments and circumstances of the deceased and the claimants in the light of the principles set out by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur [1979] ACJ 170, the award of Rs. 52,000 as compensation warrants no interference in appeal. The deceased was earning only Rs. 400 per month and with 16, being the appropriate multiplier to be applied, the amount awarded cannot be branded as either unreasonable or inadequate.

11. It follows that the claimants are not entitled to any enhanced compensation and further that the amount payable as compensation to the claimants shall be the liability joint and several of only Krishan Lal and Sabu Ram, respondents.

12. In the result, both the appeals are hereby accepted, while the cross-objections filed by the claimants are dismissed. In the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs.


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