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Pikku Ram Vs. Jaswant Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1984)ACC97
AppellantPikku Ram
RespondentJaswant Singh and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 1. whether the claim application is bad for misjoinder or nonjoinder of necessary parties ? 2. whether the claim application is vague and incomplete and does not disclose any ground against the respondents ? if so, to what effect ? 3. whether the accident took place due to the rash and negligent driving of respondent no. the impression given was as if he had overtaken the car in the right manner as one should, but reading of the entire cross-examination along with this examination-in-chief and the circumstances of the case, when seen with photographs, clearly goes to show that the driver of the car crossed the cyclist, when the cyclist was on the right side of the driver of the car......near the truck coming from the opposite direction, then due to the impact of the handle of the truck the cyclist may have just fallen down and that may not have resulted in severe injuries to the claimant. the driver of the car in such a difficult situation took a chance and wanted to go on in which process the cyclist after being hit by the truck on his handle was hit by the rear of the car and was thrown off. due to double impact and throwing off, the claimant sustained severe head injuries as a result of which his right parietal bone was fractured, besides fracture of the right clavicle. the fracture of the parietal bone made him unconscious and he had to remain in the hospital for nearly six weeks and was advised sick leave for eight weeks thereafter. as already observed above,.....
Judgment:

Gokal Chand Mital, J.

1. On 13th July, 1972 Pikku Ram (also described as Bhikhu Ram in evidence) was going on his bicycle at about 8 a.m. on the main road which connects Tribune building with Madhya Marg near Timber Market. He has come from the side of the Timber Market and was going to Air-Field. On that road, he was sandwitched between Coca-Cola truck coming from the opposite direction and an Ambassador car (Station-wagon type) which had come from behind. In the sandwitched condition, the handle of the cycle was first hit by the truck, as a result of which he fell on the rear portion of the car and was ultimately thrown off, due to which he received certain injuries and became unconscious. Firstly, he was removed to P.G.I., Chandigarh. Since he was serving in the Army, he was got discharged from the P.G.I, on 14th July, 1972, and the same evening was admitted in the Command Hospital, Chandigarh. There he remained as an in-door patient till 28th August, 1972, and at the time of discharge was advised eight weeks' sick leave. The doctor of the P.G.I. appeared as A.W. 4 and that of the Command Hospital as A.W. 8. A reading of the evidence of these two doctors shows that right parietal and clavicle bones were fractured. In the claim petition filed by him under the Motor Vehicles Act, the claimant blamed the driver of the truck as also the car driver. The claim petition was contested by both the drivers as also by the owner of the truck, and the Insurance Companies, each putting the blame on the other.

2. On the contest of the parties, the following issues were framed:

1. Whether the claim application is bad for misjoinder or nonjoinder of necessary parties ?

2. Whether the claim application is vague and incomplete and does not disclose any ground against the respondents If so, to what effect ?

3. Whether the accident took place due to the rash and negligent driving of respondent No. 1 ?

4. Whether the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of respondent No. 4 ?

5. Whether the claimant is entitled to any compensation If, so, to what amount and from whom ?

6. Relief.

3. After evidence was led, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal by award dated 7th February, 1977, came to the conclusion that it was the claimant who was negligent. Consequently, the claim petition was dismissed. This is claimant's appeal.

4. After hearing the learned Counsel for the parties, I am driven to the conclusion that the drivers of the truck and the car were guilty of contributory negligence. A reading of the pleadings of the parties and the evidence led in the case, shows that the driver of the truck wanted to pass the standing jeep. He came over the right side of the road and to save head-on collision the cyclist swerved more towards his right and at the same time, the truck wanted to come to its correct side i.e. the left side, and in this process finding some space on the left side of the cyclist, the car which was coming behind the cyclist tried to pass from the left side of the cyclist and in this process the cyclist came in between the two vehicles. The photographs are on the record. There is a scratch on the bumper of the truck and the right back-light of the car was also broken.

5. To my mind, the Tribunal did not correctly assess the evidence after taking into consideration the statements of all the relevant witnesses and the pleadings of the parties. A reading of the statement of the car driver as R.W. 3 shows that when he was going on the road, there was no vehicle in front of him. He found one man on bicycle on his back. According to this driver, from the front side a Coca-Cola truck came which was driven rashly at a high speed and hit the cyclist and in that process the cycle struck against the tail-light of the car. In cross-examination this witness stated that he crossed the cyclist from his right-hand side and then the cyclist had come on his left side. The impression given was as if he had overtaken the car in the right manner as one should, but reading of the entire cross-examination along with this examination-in-chief and the circumstances of the case, when seen with photographs, clearly goes to show that the driver of the car crossed the cyclist, when the cyclist was on the right side of the driver of the car. If the driver of the car had brought his vehicle to a halt seeing the situation that the cyclist had already gone near the truck coming from the opposite direction, then due to the impact of the handle of the truck the cyclist may have just fallen down and that may not have resulted in severe injuries to the claimant. The driver of the car in such a difficult situation took a chance and wanted to go on in which process the cyclist after being hit by the truck on his handle was hit by the rear of the car and was thrown off. Due to double impact and throwing off, the claimant sustained severe head injuries as a result of which his right parietal bone was fractured, besides fracture of the right clavicle. The fracture of the parietal bone made him unconscious and he had to remain in the hospital for nearly six weeks and was advised sick leave for eight weeks thereafter. As already observed above, if the car had not been involved in the accident, the cyclist may not have been hurt so much. The injuries have been aggravated more because of the negligence of the driver of the car. Accordingly, I hold that the driver of the truck as also the driver of the car were negligent and the accident had occurred solely due to their negligence and not of the claimant. The finding to the contrary recorded by the Tribunal is hereby reversed.

6. Coming to the extent of liability of the two drivers, I am of the opinion that they have contributed equally to the injuries caused to the claimant. Accordingly, they would be liable to share the compensation equally, which in turn would be payable by the respective insurance Companies.

7. Coming to the damages, it has come in evidence that the claimant was getting Rs. 270/- per mensem as his pay at the time of the accident (see the statement of the claimant as A.W. 7) which remained unchallenged in cross-examination. He was employed in the Army and was on duty at the time of the accident. For the award of damages for such injuries, there is no definite standard and it is based more or less on the facts and circumstances of the case keeping in view the status of the person, the nature of injuries suffered by him, and other relevant factors. Ultimately it is more or less on the basis of reasonable guess. I consider that it will meet the ends of justice if Rs. 10,000/- are awarded to the claimant and I order accordingly.

8. For the reasons recorded, this appeal is allowed and the claimant is awarded Rs. 10,000/- as compensation. Besides the above, the claimant would be entitled to 12 per cent interest per annum on the aforesaid amount from the date of filing of the claim petition till the payment thereof. As already said, the same shall be payable by the owners of the two vehicles, who shall be reimbursed by the Insurance Companies of the two vehicles in equal shares. There will be no order as to costs.


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