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Jasbir Kaur Vs. Harbans Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC446
AppellantJasbir Kaur
RespondentHarbans Singh and ors.
Cases ReferredInderjit Kaur v. Punjab State and Ors.
Excerpt:
- - she can no longer be expected to do the the normal jobs which a house-wife would in routine do, for example, cooking, sewing, helping with children's home work and the like. it is also true that such a disability for a young lady would also have an adverse effect on her morale and general well-being. 8. in a case like the present, there can, of course, be no precise measure in monetary-terms of the pain and suffering caused to the claimsant, for her loss of enjoyment of life as also the overall adverse effects of the serious disabilities that she now has to put up with for the rest of her life. 11. a strong plea was made by mr......is provided by prem devi v. harbhajan singh and ors. 1984 acj 707, where rs. 30'000/- was awarded as compensation to a 49 years old housewife who lost her left arm in a motor accident. in another case pepsu road transport corporation v. qimat rai jain and ors. ilr 1984(2) punjab and haryana 466, for the loss of his right arm, the claimsant, qimat rai, a young man, was awarded rs. 50,000/- as compensation. next is f.a.o. no. 316 of 1979 inderjit kaur v. punjab state and ors. decided on december 20, 1984, where the claimsant. inderjit kaur, who was a 27 years old college lecturer, was awarded rs. 1,00,000/- as general damages. inderjit kaur was an unmarried lady and was also employed as a lecturer. the claimsant here on the other hand, is only a house-wife. considering therefore,.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. While travelling in the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation Bus PUP 2956, the claimsant Jasbir Kaur and had her right arm cut off when the truck PUP 2016 coming from the opposite direction came and hit into it. This happened on May 19, 1977 at about 6 p.m. near the Panjabi University Patiala.

2. The Tribunal returned a finding of negligence against the truck driver and awarded Rs. 53,000/- as compensation to Jasbir Kaur.

3. The compensation payable to the claimsant Jasbir Kaur for the loss of her right arm in the context of her circumstances is what falls for determination in this appeal.

4. A reference to the evidence on record would show that the claimsant was hospitalised for ever three months on account of her injuries. She was in the first instance treated at the Rajendra Hospital, Patiala, by PW 7 Dr. Baldev Singh, who later became Head of the Orthopaedics Department at the Medical College, Faridkot. He deposed that there was traumatic assumption of the right upper limb through the elbow region. The lower and of the right humerus had communited fracture with multiple loose pieces. The upper part of the olecranol was seen in the wound. The wound was then cleaned and the unhealthy muscles and part of the skin were excised. The loose pieces of bone were also removed and the humerus was cut just above the epicondyle, i.e. just above the elbow joint. It was further stated that the part of the arm below was missing and the other part at the end was crushed.

5. Next to note is the testimony of PW 4 Dr. N.D. Aggarwal, Professor and Head of the Department of Orthopaedics at the Medical College, Patiala, who deposed that when Jasbir Kaur was admitted under his care on July 22, 1977, she was discharging sinus on the amputation stump of the right upper limb. She was operated upon tbe next day when the amputation area was opened and tbe necessary operation on the bone was done ard the wound closed. She was then discharged from hospital on July 26, 1977.

6. Adverting now to the testimony of the claimsant AW 8 Jasbir Kaur, she deposed that she was operated upon twice and remained admitted in the hospital for about three months. She further deposed that she was a right-handed person and now on account of the amputation of her right arm, she could no longer properly look after herself or do any domestic work. She also had a seven-month old child at the time of the accident whom she could not now look after in a proper manner. Amputation of the arm had also caused disfigurement and was a great handicap too. Now on account of her inability to do her normal household work, she was constrained to employ a maid-servant as also a young boy to work for her and that she way paying them Rs. 180/- per month. A similar statement was made by her husband PW 9 Gurbakhshish Singh Banga, Advocate of Patiala.

7. It would be seen that the claimsant Jasbir Kaur was only 26 years of age when she was involved in this unfortunate accident. She was a housewife and she also had a minor child to look after. There can be no manner of doubt that she is now under a severe handicap, more so, being a right-handed person. The difficulties and problems arising for her in her daily Jife are too obvious to be enumerated. She can no longer be expected to do the the normal jobs which a house-wife would in routine do, for example, cooking, sewing, helping with children's home work and the like. It is also true that such a disability for a young lady would also have an adverse effect on her morale and general well-being. The very nature of the injury suffered by her is such that the claimsant cannot but be always conscious of it.

8. In a case like the present, there can, of course, be no precise measure in monetary-terms of the pain and suffering caused to the claimsant, for her loss of enjoyment of life as also the overall adverse effects of the serious disabilities that she now has to put up with for the rest of her life. Awards for similar injuries can provide guidance for what should be taken to be adequate and proper compensation under the head of general damages in this case. Each case has, however, to be considered on its own facts. One precedent is provided by Prem Devi v. Harbhajan Singh and Ors. 1984 ACJ 707, where Rs. 30'000/- was awarded as compensation to a 49 years old housewife who lost her left arm in a motor accident. In another case Pepsu Road Transport Corporation v. Qimat Rai Jain and Ors. ILR 1984(2) Punjab and Haryana 466, for the loss of his right arm, the claimsant, Qimat Rai, a young man, was awarded Rs. 50,000/- as compensation. Next is F.A.O. No. 316 of 1979 Inderjit Kaur v. Punjab State and Ors. decided on December 20, 1984, where the claimsant. Inderjit Kaur, who was a 27 years old College Lecturer, was awarded Rs. 1,00,000/- as general damages. Inderjit Kaur was an unmarried lady and was also employed as a Lecturer. The claimsant here on the other hand, is only a house-wife. Considering therefore, the circumstances of the claimsant as compared to those in the case cited above, it would be fair and just to assess general damages in her case at Rs. 70,000/- (Rupees Seventy thousand).

9. Besides this, the claimsant must also be held entitled to compensation for the cost of domestic help which she is now constrained to rely upon for looking after the household. Considering her own age and the consequent long expectancy of life, it would be reasonable to assume her expenses on this account at Rs. 25,000/-.

10. Evidence has been led to show the medical expenses incurred in the treatment of the claimsant, PW 9 Gurbakhshish Singh Banga, the husband of the claimsant, deposed in this behalf that Rs. 550/- were spent on operations, Rs. 150/-on the room in the hospital, Rs. 2,000/-on medicines, Rs. 300/- in the pay Clinic besides Rs. 2,200/- for special diet and Rs. 8,00/- for visits of the claimsant to the Post Graduate Medical Institute at Chandigarh. Added to this was the cost of artificial limb which was said to have been Rs. 1,160/-. This would total to Rs. 7,000/-After making an allowance for some exaggeration here as no bills or receipts have been produced, a sum of Rs. 5,000/- deserves to be allowed on this account.

11. A strong plea was made by Mr. L.M. Suri, counsel for the claimsant, for the award of special damages to cover the cost of enabling the claimsant to obtain an artificial limb from West Germany. He adverted in this behalf to the testimony of PW 7 Dr. Batdev Singh, who deposed that artificial limbs in India do not provide for proper working PW 9 Gurbakhshish Singh Banga, on his part, d. posed that he had entered into correspondence with M/s. Otto Bock of Duderstadt (West Germany) regarding the fitting of Myo electric artificial limb. The cost of this limb was 6,400 Deutche marks, which was equivalent to Rs. 30,700/- and in addition 100 Deutche marks per day were required as expenses for two persons. It was also his testimony that he had got passports prepared for taking the claimsant to Germany but could not go on account of shortage of funds. In dealing with this aspect of the matter, it would be relevant of advert to Inderjit Kaur's case (supra), where it was found that a functional artificial arm was not manufactured in India and the claimsant had consequently to go to the same German firm, namely, M/s. Otto Bock of Duderstadt to get a myo-electric artificial arm fitted. According to the evidence led in that case, Rs. 40,000/- was the cost incurred in getting this artificial limb fitted. This amount was allowed to her. It was in 1977 that the claimsant Inderjit Kaur had gone to Germany for this purpose. Since then, prices must have risen and it would accordingly to fair and reasonable to award Rs. 50,000/- to the claimsant for such artificial limb being provided to her too.

12. The total compensation thus payable to the claimsant works out to Rs. 1,50,000/-, which is hereby awarded to her 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. Respondents No. 1 and 2 shall jointly and severally be liable for the compensation awarded.

13. This appeal is accordingly hereby accepted with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 500/-.


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