S.S. Sodhi, J.
1. On January 13, 1975, at about 5 p.m., Lakhbir Singh while on his way from Amritsar to Majitha on his cycle was run over and killed by a Punjab Roadways Bus PUG 7219. This happened near the Railway Crossing at Hussainpura.
2. The Tribunal found that the accident here had been caused entirely due to the rash and negligent driving of the bus driver. A sum of Rs. 24,000/-was awarded as compensation to the claimants, they being Devinderjit Kaur the widow of Lakhbir Singh deceased and Kishen Singh and Harbans Kaur his parents.
3. In appeal, it was sought to be contended that the Tribunal had erred in returning a finding of negligence against the bus driver. A reference to the record herein would show that it was the case of the claimants that the bus had come on to the wrong side of the road at a fast speed and run over the deceased. The bus driver no doubt denied any negligence of his part for this accident, but it is significant to note that he came forth with no counter version to account for it.
4. The evidence of the three eye-witnesses examined by the claimants namely AW 1 Ajit Singh, AW-2 Gurmukh Singh and AW 5 Balwant Singh is consistent that the bus had gone to the wrong side of the road at a fast speed and ran over Lakhbir Singh deceased who died at the spot. There are no discrepancies or contradictions in the evidence of these witnesses to create any doubt therein and what is more, their testimony stands corroborated by the First Information Report which was recorded soon after the accident on the statement of A.W. 1. Ajit Singh.
5. Turning to the testimony of R.W. 2 Shangara Singh the bus driver, in the witness-box he came forth with the version that a jeep came from the BSF Station and hit into the cycle of Lakhbir Singh from behind as a result of which he fell down and he then stopped the bus close to the cycle and when he got down he found the deceased bleeding from the head. The implication being that the deceased had been killed by the jeep and not the bus. R.W. 1. Puran Singh was the other witness examined by the bus driver. Puran Singh stated that he was travelling in the bus involved in the accident. According to him it was the jeep which came and hit into the cycle from behind, as a result of which he fell down and in the meanwhile the bus came and the driver stopped it. He too deposed that the bus had not touched the deceased cyclist.
6. What deserves note here is not only the fact that it was for the first time in Court that Shangara Singh came forth with the version as given above, but also that different suggestions were made to the witnesses examined by the claimants. Further it is pertinent to note here that no suggestion was made to them that the vehicle involved in the accident and which caused the death of the deceased was not the bus but the jeep.
7. For the foregoing reasons, it must be held that the Tribunal rightly found that the accident here had taken place entirely due to the rash and negligent driving of the bus driver.
8. Turning to the amount awarded as compensation, counsel for the bus driver sought the contend that the State of Punjab was a necessary party in this case and as the claim against it had been held to be barred by time, no award against the driver alone was competent. This is indeed a contention wholly lacking any merit. The driver, who actually caused the accident is undoubtedly the person primarily liable for payment of compensation. The State could only have been held vicarously liable. The absence of the State of Punjab as a Party in this case could perhaps operate to the prejudice of the claimants but it cannot be construed as any flaw in the award made against the bus driver.
9. In the circumstances, the award of the Tribunal calls for no interference in appeal. This appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 250/-.