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Darshan Singh Vs. the General Manager and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1985)ACC5
AppellantDarshan Singh
RespondentThe General Manager and ors.
Excerpt:
.....on petitioner bidder to establish his allegations as state action shall always be presumed to be in accordance with law - the driver in such a case cannot be heard to complain of prejudice in the master not having been impleaded or to seek to avoid liability for his wrongful act on that account......that is the tort-feaser, is maintainable without also impleading his master, who may be vicariously liable for the accident.2. the appellant-darshan singh, was the driver of the punjab roadways bus that caused the accident in the present case. by his rash and negligent driving of the bus, he knocked down and killed ajit singh, who was on his way home on cycle. this happened on june 11, 1977 on morinda-kharar road. a sum of rs. 3,000/- was awarded as compensation to smt. dwarki the mother of ajit singh deceased. the liability for payment of the amount awarded was fastened upon the appellant darshan singh alone as only he and the general manager, punjab roadways had been impleaded as parties to the claim application and the tribunal rightly held that the general manager was not.....
Judgment:

S. S. Sodhi, J.

1. The challenge in appeal here is founded upon the wholly untenable contention that no action for compensation against the driver of the offending motor-vehicle that is the tort-feaser, is maintainable without also impleading his master, who may be vicariously liable for the accident.

2. The appellant-Darshan Singh, was the driver of the Punjab Roadways bus that caused the accident in the present case. By his rash and negligent driving of the bus, he knocked down and killed Ajit Singh, who was on his way home on cycle. This happened on June 11, 1977 on Morinda-Kharar Road. A sum of Rs. 3,000/- was awarded as compensation to Smt. Dwarki the mother of Ajit Singh deceased. The liability for payment of the amount awarded was fastened upon the appellant Darshan Singh alone as only he and the General Manager, Punjab Roadways had been impleaded as parties to the claim application and the Tribunal rightly held that the General Manager was not the master or owner of the vehicle and could not, therefore, be held vicariously liable.

3. The argument of Mr. H.S. Tur, counsel for the appellant was that this accident had been caused by the appellant-Darshan Singh, during the course of his employment and therefore, his employer, that is, the state of Punjab was also vicariously liable and this rendered it a necessary party to the claim.

4. It was also argued that the appellant stood prejudiced by the non-impleading of the State of Punjab as, had it been impleaded as a party, the burden of paying the compensation awarded, would have been shifted upon it instead of it lying wholly upon the appellant now. This is indeed a contention wholly devoid of merit.

5. The principle of vicarious liability was evolved in the interests of the victim and not the person who actually caused the harm. Liability in cases where this principle applies, is always joint and several; of both the actual wrong-doer as also his master. The actual wrong-doer does not thereby escape liability. The claimant in such cases is therefore, at liberty to sue the driver alone or both the driver and the owner of the offending vehicle. It is, no doubt to his benefit to sue them both, as he can then recover damages from both or either, but there is no bar or illegality in his proceeding against the driver alone. The driver in such a case cannot be heard to complain of prejudice in the master not having been impleaded or to seek to avoid liability for his wrongful act on that account.

6. The non impleading of the owners of the bus, namely; the State of Punjab thus provides no occasion for imputing any invalidity to the impugned award of the Tribunal which is accordingly hereby up-held and affirmed.

7. This appeal is thus dismissed with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 300/-.


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