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Haryana State Through Secretary Transport Deptt. and anr. Vs. Shanti Devi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1985)ACC195
AppellantHaryana State Through Secretary Transport Deptt. and anr.
RespondentShanti Devi and ors.
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
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 - 4. the bus driver, on the other hand, took the plea that the accident occurred when the deceased suddenly came on to the main road from the link road and then on seeing the bus failed to control his cycle on account of rain and wind and his having an umbrella in his one hand. as for his own testimony, it was obviously that of the most interested person and would, as such undoubtedly be unsafe to accept without corroboration which mr. gurmit kaur 1979 plr 1, 16 would clearly..........as it was raining at that time. there was also fast wind blowing.3. the claimants blamed the bus driver for the accident attributing it to his rash and negligent driving. no details of how the accident occurred were, however, mentioned in the claim application.4. the bus driver, on the other hand, took the plea that the accident occurred when the deceased suddenly came on to the main road from the link road and then on seeing the bus failed to control his cycle on account of rain and wind and his having an umbrella in his one hand. it was said that as a result thereof his umbrella got entangled with the rear glass of the bus and then the accident took piece. in other words, it was the deceased himself who was responsible for the accident.5. the case of the claimants is founded upon the.....
Judgment:

S. S. Sodhi, J.

1. The challenge here is to the award of compensation to the widow and children of Roora Ram deceased who was killed in an accident with the Haryana Roadways Bus HRA 9953. A sum of Rs. 39,200/- had been awarded to them as compensation on the finding that the accident had been caused by the rash and negligent driving of the bus driver. This is the finding now assailed in appeal.

2. The occurrence here is of March 2, 1978, and it happened at about 6 p.m. near Kakrali on the Ambala-Raipur Rani road. Roora Ram deceased had come on to the main road from the link road coming on to it from village Todawali. He was on his cycle with an umbrella in one hand as it was raining at that time. There was also fast wind blowing.

3. The claimants blamed the bus driver for the accident attributing it to his rash and negligent driving. No details of how the accident occurred were, however, mentioned in the claim application.

4. The bus driver, on the other hand, took the plea that the accident occurred when the deceased suddenly came on to the main road from the link road and then on seeing the bus failed to control his cycle on account of rain and wind and his having an umbrella in his one hand. It was said that as a result thereof his umbrella got entangled with the rear glass of the bus and then the accident took piece. In other words, it was the deceased himself who was responsible for the accident.

5. The case of the claimants is founded upon the testimony of PW 5 Kundan Lal, a passenger travelling in the bus involved in the accident. According to him, the deceased was on the extreme left side of the road when the bus went on to its wrong side on to the kutcha track and then hit into the deceased. It was also said that the bus was being driven at a fast speed and no horn had been blown.

6. The first information report relating to this accident was recorded on the statement of PW 2 Gurmel Singh who was the other witness examined by the claimants. He did not see the actual impact between the bus and the deceased as he merely deposed that he saw the deceased on a cycle going towards Fatehgarh and he then saw the bus driver and the conductor putting the injured Roora Ram in the bus.

7. The only evidence from the other side is that of the bus driver RW 1 Zile Singh, who deposed that the deceased came on to the main road from a link road carrying an umbrella in his left hand and holding the cycle with the other hand. It was raining and there was heavy pressure of wind. The deceased could not cross the road and, therefore, suddenly turned his cycle towards the right and then on account of the pressure of the wind, the umbrella in his left hand got bent and got entangled in the left-hand window-pane of the bus and then the accident occurred.

8. The testimony of PW 5 Kundan Lal was sought to be doubted on the ground that he had not been named as one of the witnesses in the first information report, nor had it come in evidence that he had been examined by the police during the investigation of the case registered with regard to this accident.

9. Admittedly, there were passengers travelling in the bus at the time of the accident. PW 5 Kundan Lal is the only person examined in this case, who claimed to be one such passenger. A reading of his testimony would show that no suggestion even was put to him that he was in any manner interested in the claimants or had any other motive to seek to falsely depose in their favour and against the bus driver. Further, it would be seen that no question had had been put to him whether or not he had been examined by the police. It cannot, therefore, be taken that he had not been so examined. It is true that the name of Kundan Lal does not find mention in the first information report, but it must be noted that this report was recorded on the statement of Gurmel Singh, who was not a passenger travelling in the bus, but one who had happened to reach there soon after the occurrence. Omission on his part to name any of the passengers travelling in the bus cannot be treated as a circumstance to doubt the credibility of Kundan Lal. It must, therefore, be taken that Kundan Lal was an entirely disinterested witness and the Tribunal rightly considered and assessed his evidence as such.

10. Turning to the case of the bus driver, it must be remarked that there is his statement alone in support of his version. When there were passengers travelling in the bus, it should have been possible for him to have examined one or more of them, if indeed the accident had taken place as deposed to by him. As for his own testimony, it was obviously that of the most interested person and would, as such undoubtedly be unsafe to accept without corroboration which Mr. B.S. Pawar, Assistant Advocate General, Haryana, could not pinpoint from the record.

11. Considered in their totality therefore, the circumstances of the case in the light of the evidence on record amply justify the finding of negligence recorded against the bus driver.

12. The other matter which falls for consideration in this appeal is that relating to the quantum of compensation payable to the claimants. Roora Ram deceased was 45 years of age at the time of his death. He was employed as a Gram Sewak at a salary of Rs. 468/- per month. He died leaving behind his widow, who was two years younger than him and three minor children who were all dependent upon him. Applying here the principles laid down by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur 1979 PLR 1, 16 would clearly be the appropriate multiplier to be applied in this case and the loss deserves to be taken at Rs. 300/- per month. This would work out to Rs. 57,600/- which may be rounded off to Rs. 60,000/-.

13. The compensation payable to the claimants is accordingly hereby enhanced to Rs. 60,000/- which they shall be entitled to 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. Out of the amount awarded, a sum of Rs. 10,000/- each shall be payable to the children of the deceased and the balance to his widow. The compensation payable to the minor claimants shall be paid to them in such manner as the Tribunal may deem to be in their best interest. The State of Haryana and the Manager, Haryana Roadways, Ambala, shall be jointly and severally liable for payment of the amount awarded.

14. In the result, this appeal is hereby dismissed while the cross objections filed by the claimants are accepted. The claimants shall be entitled to their costs in these proceedings. Counsel's fee Rs. 300/-.


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