S.S. Sodhi, J.
1. On April 2, 1974 the claimant Didar Singh and one Ramesh Chander were involved in an accident with the Punjab Roadways bus PUG-5046. This happened on the G.T. Road, Jullundur City near the Industrial Estate by-pass. Didar Singh and Ramesh Chander were on cycles and the bus had come from the opposite direction when the accident occurred. Both Didar Singh and Ramesh Chander sustained serious injuries. Ramesh Chander, infact, succumbed to his injuries later that day and died in hospital.
2. The claim put in by Didar Singh was negatived by the Tribunal in view of the adverse finding recorded against him on the issue of negligence. It is the correctness of this finding which thus emerges as the main point in controversy in the present appeal.
3. It was the case of the claimant Didar Singh that he was travelling on his cycle on the correct side of the road when the bus coming from the opposite direction came on to the wrong side and struck against his cycle. The accident was thus caused by the rash and negligent driving of the bus driver.
4. The version of the respondent-bus driver as set out in his return, on the other hand was, that he had been blowing the horn as he was approaching a Chowk. On hearing the horn Didar Singh fell down and sustained injuries. The plea taken being that Didar Singh had met with no accident with the bus.
5. In order to establish his case on the issue of negligence, the claimant examined PW. 4 Ram Kishan, who has a shop near the place where the accident took place besides coming into the witness box himself as PW. 6. The evidence of the respondents on the other hand consisted of only the statement of RW. 1 Parkash Singh, the bus driver.
6. According to the claimant Didar Singh, he was on the left side of the road on his cycle when the bus came from the opposite direction and hit into him. He did not know what happened thereafter as he became unconscious. He stated that he had seen the bus at a distance of about 60 feet coming in the middle of the road, but he did not know when the bus came near him. PW. 4 Ram Kishan, however, gave a fuller account of the incident by deposing that the bus had gone on to the wrong side of the road and hit the cyclist on the left side thereof. This cyclist was an old Sikh (Didar Singh claimant) who fell down with the impact. The bus driver there after tried to go to his correct side and the bus then hit into another boy coming on the cycle and, infact, passed over his body. It was also his testimony that the bus was at a fast speed at that time.
7. RW. 1 Parkash Singh, the bus driver, deposed that the bus was being driven on its correct side of the road at a speed of about 25 K.M. per hour when he saw the claimant coming on his cycle from the opposite direction. Didar Singh was on his correct side of the road, but there was another boy almost in the centre of the road. The reference here being to Ramesh Chander. There was a motor-cyclist going a head of them talking to them by turning his head. He blew the horn and the motorcyclist came towards his side of the road as also Ramesh Chander. In order to save these two, he had moved his vehicle towards his right. Didar Singh got confused and fell down as also did Ramesh Chander, but the bus did not hit either of them.
8. It would be pertinent to note that even as per the testimony of RW. 1 Parkash Singh himself, Didar Singh was going on his correct side of the road at the time of the accident, further, it was the bus that turned towards the right and then the injuries were caused to Didar Singh. It was no doubt the version of the bus driver that Didar Singh was not involved in an accident with the bus and that the injuries he had suffered were only on account of his having fallen from the cycle in confusion, but the medical evidence led by the claimant clearly negatives this stand. The nature and extent of the injuries suffered by Didar Singh cannot be accounted for by a mere fall from a cycle. These injuries included a fracture of the right shoulder and left knee as also an injury on the head and forehead. Such injuries could not have been suffered by just falling from a cycle.
9. There is also no ground to doubt the testimony of PW. 4 Ram Kishan. His presence at the spot stands fully accounted for and he was not shown to be in any manner interested in the injured Didar Singh, and what is more, his statement was also recorded by the police during the investigation of this case.
10. Seen in the totality of the circumstances of this case and the evidence on record, there can be no manner of doubt that the accident here was caused entirely due to the rash and negligent driving of Parkash Singh. The finding of the Tribunal on this issue is consequently set aside.
11. The next question which arises for consideration is with regard to the amount payable to the claimant as compensation. As mentioned above, the claimant Didar Singh had suffered two fractures, one of his right shoulder joint and the other of his left knee joint besides also suffering a contusion on the forehead and a head injury. He was rendered unconscious on account of this accident and we also have in evidence from the statement of the doctor D.S. Uppal that he remained admitted in the hospital for almost a month from April 2, to April 29 1974. Further, both P.W. 9 Dr. Vijay Pal Singh Sidhu and PW. 10 Dr. Shingara Singh deposed that the fractures suffered by Didar Singh were found to leave him with some disability. The claim for pain and sufferings and loss of amenities of life must accordingly be considered and assessed in the light of the injuries and their consequences as referred to above.
12. In the circumstances reasonable compensation under these heads may be taken to be Rs. 25,000/-.
13. Another head of claim here is loss of salary. Didar Singh deposed that he was employed as an Overseer with M/s. Amin Chand Pyare Lal at a salary of Rs. 250/- per month. His services had came to an end on account of this accident. To corroborate this, there is the testimony of PW. 2 Durga Dass of the said firm, who deposed from the record that Didar Singh had worked with them till April 1, 1977 at a salary of Rs. 250/- per month.
14. In dealing with this aspect of the case, it would be pertinent to note that Didar Singh was 64 years of age at the time of this accident. Considering his age it is unlikely that he could have continued is service even in normal circumstances for much beyond this age. At any rate, not for more than another two or three years. All things considered therefore, a sum of Rs. 5,000/- deserves to be awarded to him on account of loss of wages.
15. In the result, the claimant Didar Singh is hereby awarded a sum of Rs. 30,000/- as compensation which he shall be entitled to along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of the application to the date of the payment of the amount awarded.
16. This appeal is consequently accepted with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 300/-.