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Dharam Pal Chandna Vs. Ram Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC366
AppellantDharam Pal Chandna
RespondentRam Singh and ors.
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
Excerpt:
- .....it as a result of which three presons working there were killed, they being jit ram, dhan raj and azad singh. this happened on december 18. 1978, at about 8 p.m. on the delhi jaipur road, a few kilometers beyond gurgaon. it was the case of the claimants that this accident had been been caused by the turck hrm-7801, driven by sis ram son of khem singh. the respondents, including the said sis ram, denied that any accident had been caused by the said truck.3. the tribunal came to the finding that the offending truck was indeed hrm 7801, which was being driven by respondent sis ram. a sum of rs. 15,000/- was awarded as compensation to ram singh, the brother of jit ram deceased, while in the case of dhan raj and his borther. azad singh deceased, a sum of rs. 10,000/- and rs. 35,000/-.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. The identity of the offending truck emerges as the main point at issue in appeal here.

2. The tyre of a camel cart, parked on the road side, was being replaced when a truck came and hit into it as a result of which three presons working there were killed, they being Jit Ram, Dhan Raj and Azad Singh. This happened on December 18. 1978, at about 8 P.M. on the Delhi Jaipur road, a few kilometers beyond Gurgaon. It was the case of the claimants that this accident had been been caused by the turck HRM-7801, driven by Sis Ram son of Khem Singh. The respondents, including the said Sis Ram, denied that any accident had been caused by the said truck.

3. The Tribunal came to the finding that the offending truck was indeed HRM 7801, which was being driven by respondent Sis Ram. A sum of Rs. 15,000/- was awarded as compensation to Ram Singh, the brother of Jit Ram deceased, while in the case of Dhan Raj and his borther. Azad Singh deceased, a sum of Rs. 10,000/- and Rs. 35,000/- respectively, was awarded as compensation to their parents, brothers and sister.

4. The finding regarding the identity of the offending truck and that the accident had been caused by its rash and negligent driving warrants no interference in appeal. The claimants examined three witnesses, who deposed to the accident. They being P.W. 2 Prabhu, P.W. 3 Siri Chand and P.W.4 Rattan Singh. All these witnesses came forth with a consistent account of the occurrence. It is true that being illiterate, none of them gave the number of the truck involved in the accident, but it is significant to note that the truck remained at the spot after causing the accident and was there when the police came. In this situation, there can be no doubt regarding the number of the offending truck. Further, they all deposed that after the accident, the truck driver gave them his matter here is that of R.W.2 Dharam Pal, the owner of owner of the truck HRM 7801. A reading of his evidence would show that there was no denial or doubt by him that the accident had been caused by this truck. He also deposed that Sis Ram was the driver of the truck on the day of the accident. He further deposed that he learnt of the accident 2-3 days after the accident and he then came to Gurgaon and took the truck on Sapurdari and also informed the Insurance Company of the accident. The mere denial of R.W.I Sis Ram that he was not the driver of the truck was rightly not relied upon by the Tribunal.

5. There can thus be no manner of doubt and the Tribunal rightly held that the accident had been caused by the truck HRM 7801 and was the result of rash and negligent driving thereof by Sis Ram.

6. Next to consider is the quantum of compensation payable to the claimants. In the case of Jit Ram deceased, the claim was put forth by his brother Ram Singh. It has come in evidence that Ram Singh is his nearest heir and he was thus the person entitled to succeed to his estate. Jit Ram earned his livelihood by cultivating land. The evidence shows that he had half share in eight acres of land. According to Ram Singh, Jit Ram who was unmarried, had been brought up by him as his son and Jit Ram used to help him with his cultivation. Considering the circumstances of Jit Ram and his brother Ram Singh, the loss to the estate deserves to be assessed at Rs. 10,000/-.

7. As regards Ohan Raj deceased, no exception can be taken to the award of Rs. 10,000/- to his parents. The challenge was in fact only to the amount awarded in respect of Azad Singh deceased, which was Rs. 35,000/-. Azad Singh was about 19 years of age at the time of his death and according to his father P.W.4 Rattan Singh, he used to ply for hire the camel cart and also looked after the land which was only 1 1/2 acres. In the case of Azad Singh, it must be borne in mind that had he lived, it would be reasonable to assume that he would have got married and raised a family and the only amount that he could thereafter have spared for his parents would have been out of what would have been left with him after meeting the needs of his family. Considering the circumstances of his parents and those of Azad Singh deceased himself in the context of the principles laid down by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur, 1979 PLR 1, it would be fair and just to assess the compensation payable to them at a round figure of Rs. 25,000/-.

8. The compensation payable to Ram Singh, the brother of Jit Ram deceased is accordingly hereby reduced to Rs. 10,000/- while that payable to the parents of Azad Singh deceased to Rs. 25,000/-. The award of Rs. 10,000/-to the parents of Dhan Raj deceased must, however, be upheld and affirmed. The claimants shall, however, be entitled to the amount awarded along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent Per annum from the date of the application to the date of payment of the amount awarded. It may be clarified that the compensation payable in respect of Dhan Raj and Azad Singh deceased shall be payable only to their parents and not to their brothers and sisters keeping in view the judgment of the Full Bench in F.A.O. 135 of 1980 Parkash Chand etc. v. Pal Singh etc.) decided on May 7, 1985.

9. In the result, the appeals filed by the truck owner and the New India Assurance Company in respect of Jit Ram and Azad Singh deceased are accepted to the extent indicated above while the other appeal and the cross-objections are hereby dismissed. In the circumstances, however, there will be no order as to costs.


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