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Mitter SaIn and Sons Vs. Basant Lal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC65
AppellantMitter SaIn and Sons
RespondentBasant Lal and ors.
Cases ReferredLachman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
Excerpt:
- - the amounts payable to the minor claimants shall be paid to them in such manner as the tribunal may deem to be in their best interest......awarded as compesation for damage to the truck and rs. 15,000/- to the widow and children of sat narain deceased.3. the finding of negligence recorded against the driver of the trailor- truck warrants no interference in appeal. the two vehicle involved in the accident were coming from opposite directions. there was a curve in the road at the place where the accident occurred. according to r.w. 3 basant lal, the driver of the trailor-truck, it was on this curve that the right front tyre of his truck brust, as a result of which his vehicle swerved towards its right. he tried to take the vehicle to its left but it pulled towards the right. it was also his statement that all the four wheels of the trailor-truck were on the pacca portion of the road at time. it has come in evidence that the.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhl, J.

1. The claim in appeal is for enhanced compensation.

2. Extensive damage was caused to the truck HRB-5585 with Sat Narain, its driver being burnt alive in it when it caught fire as a result of an accident with the trailor-truck HRH-6380. This happened on November 22, 1977 at about 9 A.M. On the Bhiwani-Hansi Road. It was finding of the Tribunal that the accident had been caused due to the rash and negligent driving of the trailor truck. A sum of Rs. 30,000/- was awarded as compesation for damage to the truck and Rs. 15,000/- to the widow and children of Sat Narain deceased.

3. The finding of negligence recorded against the driver of the trailor- truck warrants no interference in appeal. The two vehicle involved in the accident were coming from opposite directions. There was a curve in the road at the place where the accident occurred. According to R.W. 3 Basant Lal, the driver of the trailor-truck, it was on this curve that the right front tyre of his truck brust, as a result of which his vehicle swerved towards its right. He tried to take the vehicle to its left but it pulled towards the right. It was also his statement that all the four wheels of the trailor-truck were on the pacca portion of the road at time. It has come in evidence that the metalled portion of the road was only about 10/12 feet wide. What however, clinches this issue against the trailor-truck at the photographs exhibits P/9 to P/12 which show the extent to which the trailor-truck had gone on to the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident. Indeed, on seeing these photographs, there can be no doubt what-so-ever that the negligence here was wholly that of the driver of the trailor-truck. The finding of the Tribunal to this effect must thus be up-held and affirmed.

4. Turning now to the quantum of compensation payable to the claimants, a reference to the statement of PW 2 Vidya, the widow of Sat Narain deceased would show that he was only 30 years of age at the time of his death. He was employed as a truck-driver and his salary, as such, as per the testimony of his father PW 5 Chottu was Rs. 450/- per month. It was further his statement that he used to provide Rs. 300/- to Rs. 335/- per month to his family. The claimants here are his 25 years old widow and their three minor children.

5. Considering the situation of the claimants at the deceased, in the context of the principles laid down by the Full Bench in Lachman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur, 1979 PLR 1, there is indeed no warrant for denying them the compensation claimed, which was only Rs. 30,000/-.

6. Next is the claim with regard to the damage to the truck. It has come in evidence that it was a 1968 Model Truck, M/s. Mitter Sain and Sons, the owners thereof, had purchased if for Rs. 53,000/- about 2 years ago. This was deposed to by PW 9 Rajinder Kumar, its previous owner who had sold this truck to them. There is then the testimony of PW 12 Kailash Chander, who deposed that after its purchase, they spent over Rs. 10,000/- on this truck and also replaced all its tyres. It was further his testimony that there had been a 30 per cent rise in the prices of old and new trucks since 1975. Besides this, he stated that one Atam Parkash of Hansi had offered him Rs. 50,000/- for this truck.

7. The truck involved in the accident had been damaged beyond repair as would be apparent from the testimony of PW 7 Vijay Parkash Srivastav, a licenced Insurance Claims Surveyor, who also proved his report exhibit P4 to this effect.

8. In determining the value of motor vehicles, damages in motor accidents, the normal rule, of course, is to make appropriate deductions on account of depreciation keeping in view the years of its use. It has, however, at the same time to be borne in mind that there has been a considerable rise in the prices of motor-vehicles over the years resulting in the not infrequent anomalous situation of old vehicles being sold at a price higher than that at which they were purchased when new. Where the Tribunal fell in error in the present case was that while it took into account the depreciation of the truck, it did not advert to the evidence regarding the rise in the prices of trucks and what is more the price at which this truck had been purchased and the offer made for its purchase from its present owners. Seen in this light, in the context of the evidence on record, the amount claimed as the value of the truck, namely: Rs. 50,000/- can by no means be said to be inflated or exaggerated. Similary, no exception can be taken to Rs. 2,000/- as loss of earnings on account of the damage to this truck and Rs. 550/- being claimed on account of surveyor-fee and as expenses for transportation of the damaged truck. In other words, the claimants must be held entitled to the full amount claimed which was Rs. 52,550/-.

9. The compensation payable for loss of the truck is accordingly hereby enhanced to Rs. 52,550/-(Rs. Fifty-two thousand five hundred and fifty only) and to the widow and children of Sat Narain deceased, to Rs. 30,000/-. The claimants shall be entitled to the compensation awarded along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of application to the date of the payment of the amount awarded. Out of the amount awarded, Rs. 20,000/- shall be payable to the widow of Sat Narain deceased and the balance in equal shares to their children. The amounts payable to the minor claimants shall be paid to them in such manner as the Tribunal may deem to be in their best interest.

10. The respondents Basant Lal and the Haryana State Electricity Board shall be jointly and severally liable for the amounts awarded.

11. In the result, both the appeals are hereby accepted with costs, while the cross-objections are dismissed. Counsel fee Rs. 500/-.


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