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Haryana State Electricity Board Vs. the Oriental Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inI(1986)ACC259
AppellantHaryana State Electricity Board
RespondentThe Oriental Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. and ors.
Excerpt:
.....assail action of state government or its authorities by contending that his bid has been turned down for arbitrary, illegal or perverse reasons however in such matters, heavy onus would like on petitioner bidder to establish his allegations as state action shall always be presumed to be in accordance with law - balkar singh, the truck-driver to this effect, but this testimony is clearly not worthy of reliance. rajwar was a very competent and good officer and could on that account look forward to a bright future in the air force. the claimant must undoubtedly have spent some amounts on his treatment and other incidental expenses like transport and attendants, particularly during his long period of hospitalization......tribunal that this accident had been caused entirely due to the rash and negligent driving of the truck-driver. a sum of rs. 35,400/- was awarded as compensation to the claimant for the injuries sustained by him.2. the finding of negligence returned against the truck-driver warrants no interference in appeal. the photograph of the scene of occurrence exhibits pw 9/1 to p.w. 9/3 taken by the photographer pw 9-santosh kumar about two hours after the accident provides eloquent testimony of the manner in which it occurred. the scooter of the injured claimant can be seen lying on its correct side of the road with the offending truck so much in the wrong off the road on its right hand side, corroborating thereby the claimant's version that the truck came on to the wrong side of the road and.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. Fit. Lieutenant G.C.S. Rajwar suffered serious injuries in an accident with the Haryana State Electricity Board truck HRK 1422 coming from the opposite direction. This happened on March 30,1973 at about 11-30 A.M. on the Karnal-Kunjpura Road. The claimant-Fit. Lt. Rajwar was proceeding towards Kunjpura on his scooter with his wife sitting on the pillion seat thereof when this accident occurred. It was the finding of the Tribunal that this accident had been caused entirely due to the rash and negligent driving of the truck-driver. A sum of Rs. 35,400/- was awarded as compensation to the claimant for the injuries sustained by him.

2. The finding of negligence returned against the truck-driver warrants no interference in appeal. The photograph of the scene of occurrence exhibits PW 9/1 to P.W. 9/3 taken by the photographer PW 9-Santosh Kumar about two hours after the accident provides eloquent testimony of the manner in which it occurred. The scooter of the injured claimant can be seen lying on its correct side of the road with the offending truck so much in the wrong off the road on its right hand side, corroborating thereby the claimant's version that the truck came on to the wrong side of the road and then hit into the scooter proceeding on its left, that is, its correct side.

3. The truck-driver sought to explain away the photographs of the scene of the accident by suggesting that the injured claimant was removed to the hospital in the offending truck implying thereby that the position of the scooter and the truck, as shown in photographs, was set up to create evidence to put the truck-driver in the wrong. There is no evidence to corroborate this version. It is pertinent to note that there was no mention in the log book of the truck having gone to any hospital. There was also no plea to this effect, in the written statement filed by the truck-driver or the Haryana State Electricity Board. What is more, no such suggestion was made to A.W. 2 H.C. Krishan Murari, who investigated the criminal case arising from this accident.

4. Furthar, there was the story of the truck-driver that some bees had attacked to claimant and he had thereby lost control over the scooter and hit into the truck. This again finds no support from the material on record. There are no doubt, the oral statements of R.W. 1 Dalip Singh, R.W. 2 Om Prakash Suda, the Line Superintendent as also R.W. Balkar Singh, the truck-driver to this effect, but this testimony is clearly not worthy of reliance. As regards R.W. 1 Dalip Singh, a significant feature of his testimony is a wholly contrary statement made by him to the police with which he was confronted when he came to the witness box Before the police, the statement made was in consonance with the case as set up by the claimants. Dalip Singh could come forth with no explanation for having made such a totally different statement to the police. As regards R.W. 2 Om Parkash Suda, he being a co-employee of the truck-driver, cannot be treated as an independent witness. He deposed that his statement had been recorded by the police, but strangely enough, could not say whether or not his statement had been recorded as that of an eye-witness Finally, there is R.W. 3 Balkar Singh, the truck-driver himself. The significant feature of his testimony being the totally different position taken up by him in the witness box, as compared to what he had stated in the written statement. There he stated that be had turned his truck to its extreme right in order to avoid the scooter, but in evidence, he stated that he had stopped the truck on the left side of the road.

5. Turning to the evidence led by the claimants, a consistent account of the occurrence emerges from the testimony of A.W. 4 Sushila Rajwar as also the claimant himself AW. 5 Flt. Lt. G.C.S. Rajwar. This is further corroborated by the testimony of A.W. 6 Dr. Mrs. Sher Singh, who lives in the house near the place of accident.

6. Keeping in view the totality of the circumstances of the case, in the light of the evidence on record, there can be no manner of doubt that it was the truck-driver who was wholly to blame for the accident. The Tribunal thus rightly attributed it to his negligence.

7. The important question that now arises is with regard to quantum of compensation payable to the claimant Flt. Lt. G.C.S. Rajwar for the injuries sustained by him in this accident. A.W. 3 Dr. H.L. Monga, examined him at the civil hospital, Karnal soon after the accident. Dr. Monga deposed that he found a crushed injury on his left fore-arm, left hand besides multiple fractures on his left hand and left fore-arm. There was also a lacerated wound on his left elbow and on the scalp.

8. The claimant was removed to the Army Hospital, Delhi a day after the accident. A.W. 1 Capt. Dr. R.C. Yadav who treated him there deposed that the claimant was kept in the Intensive Care Unit for over a month before he was shifted to the surgical Ward. He was discharged on sick leave on August 1, 1973 and re-admitted on August 30, 1973 and he remained hospitalised till the middle of September, 1973. Four operations had been performed on the claimant before August, 1973. After his re-admission in the hospital in September, 1973, an operation was performed on his left arm when nailing of the radius ulna open reduction was done. He was then discharged from the hospital on November 1, 1973. He was again re-admitted in the hospital on December 28, 1973 and remained there as an indoor patient till January 9, 1974 when his plaster was removed and he had to be given physiotherapy. Again, he was admitted in the hospital on March 4, 1974 till May 3, 1974. During this period three operations were performed upon him. He was placed in the lowest medical category, that is, he was found fit for sedentary duty only. Another operation was performed upon him during his next spell of hospitalizatioa which was from September 19, 1974 to September 27, 1974.

9. AW. 1 Dr. Yadav went on to depose that the shape of the claimant's fingers of his left hand had become deformed and were curved on account of his injuries. His forearm was also deformed. An important part of the evidence of this witness consists of his statement that the claimant would remain permanently in a low medical category on account of his deformity and his career would undoubtedly be adversely affected thereby.

10 Next to note is the testimony of the claimant himself A.W. 5 G.C.S. Rajwar, who stated that he had already undergone 12 operations and had spent several months in hospital. It was also his testimony that be had been placed in a low medical category permanently on account of the disabilities he is now left with on account of this accident, which would adversely affect his career prospects in the Armed Forces.

11. The claimant being permanently in a low medical category, was also deposed to by A.W. 7, Lt. Col. N.K. Seth Advisor, Orthopaedic at the Army Hospital, Delhi. He too deposed that this would adversely affect his career prospects. It is also brought out on record that the claimant Flt. Lt, G.C.S. Rajwar was a very competent and good officer and could on that account look forward to a bright future in the Air Force. A.W. 8 Wing Commander Srivastava, the Commanding Officer of the claimant specifically deposed to this effect and also referred to the decorations already earned by the claimant in the Air Force.

12. It will be seen that the claimant had to undergo several operations on account of his injuries and he spent long periods in hospital in the course of his treatment. He must indeed have had to bear a great deal of pain and suffering. What is more, his career prospects now stand adversely affected by the permanent disabilities which he is now left with and the consequent low medical category he has been placed in. Besides this: the claimant must undoubtedly have spent some amounts on his treatment and other incidental expenses like transport and attendants, particularly during his long period of hospitalization. In such cases, medical re-imbursement, as is provided to officers of the Armed Forces, does not always cover all the expenses that they actually incur.

13. Considered in the total situation of the claimant, his disabilities, the pain and suffering undergone by him, the impairment of his future prospects as also the expenses incurred, the amount claimed namely Rs. One lac. can by no means be said to be excessive or unreasonable.

14. The compensation payable to the claimants is accordingly hereby enhanced to Rs. One lac, which he shall be entidled to along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of the application to the date of the payment of the amount awarded. The truck-driver, the Haryana State Electricity Board as also the Insurance Company, with which this truck was insured, shall be jointly and severally liable for the compensation awarded.

15. In the result, the Cross-objections filed by the claimant are hereby accepted while the Appeal is dismissed with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 500/-.


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