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G.L. Nagpal Vs. M.P. Raizada and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1985)ACC281
AppellantG.L. Nagpal
RespondentM.P. Raizada and ors.
Cases ReferredJoti Ram and Ors. v. Chaman Lal 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 - a reading of the statements of the occupants of the car and jeep and the photographs brought on the record clearly go to show that it was the driver of the jeep who was negligent and the driver of the car was not at all at fault. the statement of raizada mohinder pal does not appear to be reliable in view of the photographs and the site plan prepared by the police while investigating the case on the basis of the first information report got registered by one of the claimants..........singh driver. all the occupants of the car filed claim applications before the motor accident claims tribunal, karnal (hereinafter referred to as the tribunal).2. on the context of the parties, several issues were framed by the tribunal. on the evidence led in the case, the tribunal by award dated 7-4-1980 came to the conclusion that sangat singh was driving the jeep and even if it is held that raizada mohinder pal was driving the jeep, it did not make any material difference in deciding the matter in as much as the driver of the jeep was not negligent and the driver of the car was negligent. consequently, all the claim applications were dismissed. all the four claimants have filed f.a.o. nos. 476 to 479 of 1980 in this court. since all these appeals arise out of one and the same.....
Judgment:

G.C. Mital, J.

1. On 22-6-1975 at about 3.00 p.m. G.T. Road between Karnal and Gharaunda, an accident took place between Fiat Car No. HRR-3719 and Jeep No. HRK-1606 belonging to Haryana Agro Industrial Corporation Ltd., Chandigarh. The car was being driven by Vipin Nagpal, Advocate aged 29 years and his father Shri G.L. Nagpal aged 57 years, mother aged 47 years and younger brother Vijay Nagpal aged 27 years, were the other occupants of the car. The driver of the car received minor injuries whereas the other occupants sustained serious injuries. According to the occupants of the car, the jeep was being driven by Raizada Mohinder Pal who was S.D.O. in the Corporation and similar was the stand of Sangat Singh, driver incharge of the jeep ; whereas according to Raizada Mohinder Pal, the jeep was being driven by Sangat Singh driver. All the occupants of the car filed claim applications before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Karnal (hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal).

2. On the context of the parties, several issues were framed by the Tribunal. On the evidence led in the case, the Tribunal by award dated 7-4-1980 came to the conclusion that Sangat Singh was driving the jeep and even if it is held that Raizada Mohinder Pal was driving the jeep, it did not make any material difference in deciding the matter in as much as the driver of the jeep was not negligent and the driver of the car was negligent. Consequently, all the claim applications were dismissed. All the four claimants have filed F.A.O. Nos. 476 to 479 of 1980 in this Court. Since all these appeals arise out of one and the same award of the Tribunal, they are being disposed of by this common judgment.

3. After hearing the learned Counsel for the parties and on perusal of the record, I am of the considered view that the Tribunal below erred in exonerating the driver of the jeep. A reading of the statements of the occupants of the car and jeep and the photographs brought on the record clearly go to show that it was the driver of the jeep who was negligent and the driver of the car was not at all at fault. Both the vehicles were coming from opposite direction on the G.T. Road. The jeep struck the left side of the car near the junction of the front mudguard and front door. If both the vehicles were coming from the opposite direction, one is left to guess as to how did the jeep landed towards the left of the car because in the ordinary course, it had to be on the right side of the car. It is also proved on the record that it is the left front side of the jeep which hit the left side of the car. This could happen only if the jeep had gone to its wrong side, i.e., towards its extreme right and in this process, the left side of the jeep hit the left side of the car. The aforesaid view is fully, supported from the photographs and it is a case of res ipsa loquitur, Sangat Singh driver has not stated that the car driver was negligent. His simple case is that he was merely an occupant and does, not know as to how the accident had occurred. On the other hand, Raizada Mohinder Pal's statement is that it was the car driver who was negligent. The statement of Raizada Mohinder Pal does not appear to be reliable in view of the photographs and the site plan prepared by the police while investigating the case on the basis of the first information report got registered by one of the claimants coupled with the oral statements of the claimants.

4. It was nobody's case in the pleadings that there was drizzling due to which the car skidded and bit the jeep. For the first time in evidence, this new case was sought to be set up which cannot be relied upon. It is clearly an after-thought. Accordingly, I reverse the finding of the Tribunal and hold that it was the driver of the jeep who was negligent and the driver of the car was not to blame.

5. This brings me to the consideration of the point as to whether Raizada Mohinder Pal was driving the jeep or Sangat Singh driver was driving it. In this behalf, there is conflicting evidence on the record. On consideration of that evidence, I have not been able to persuade myself to come to any definite conclusion particularly when it does not matter one way or the other so far as the claimants are concerned because they are entitled to compensation from the Haryana Agro Industrial Ltd., Chandigarh. Therefore, this matter is left as it is.

6. Adverting to the claim in the appeal of Shri G.L. Nagpal (F.A.O. No. 476 of 1980), who was Under Secretary in the Government of Haryana getting Rs. 1,500/- as basic pay at the time of accident, I am of the view that he is entitled to Rs. 15,000/- as general damages besides special damages which would be detailed a little later. According to the medical report Exhibit P. 5, he suffered fracture or left fibula, lower 1/3rd above ankle ; fracture of 5th lumber vertebra and six other injuries. He remained for one day in Karnal hospital, six days in P.G.I., Chandigarh and for six weeks under plaster. For so many injuries, I am of the opinion that the award of Rs. 15,000/- as general damages is not at all excessive.

7. Adverting to the special damages in addition to Rs. 8,00/- as found by the Tribunal below towards repairs of the car, is entitled to Rs. 250/-for expenses of transportation of the damages vehicle by towing ; Rs. 5/- per day for the transportation charges for 40 days during which he had to hire a vehicle for going to his office as he could not drive him own car which comes to Rs. 200/- and Rs. 600/- for special diet for a period of about two months at the rate of Rs. 10/- per day. In this manner, I award a total compensation of Rs. 16,850/- to Shri G.L. Nagpal.

8. Adverting to the claim in the appeal filed by Vijay Nagpal (F.A.O. No. 478 of 1980), who was a young man of 27 years at the time of accident, and a partner in a warehouse he suffered eight injuries which included fracture of right scapula and bad lost his two teeth. He had to remain in hospital at Karnal for one day and for eight days in P.G.I. Chandigarh. Although in the original claim petition he had claimed much higher amount, but before the Tribunal he restricted his claim to Rs. 10,000/- only. This restricted claim of Rs. 10,000/- for the grant of general and special damages, cannot be said to be in any way excessive. Accordingly, I award Rs. 10,000/- to Shri Vijay Nagpal.

9. As regards Vipin Nagpal's claim in F.A.O. No. 479 of 1980, he had suffered some minor injuries and was discharged after first-aid. The Tribunal below had opined that he was entitled to a compensation of Rs. 500/- and I am of the view that this amount has been rightly fixed. Accordingly, I award Rs, 500/- as compensation to Vipin Nagpal.

10. This brings me to consideration of the claim in the appeal filed by Smt. Parmeshwari Devi (F.A.O. No. 477 of 1980). Regarding her claim, there has been slight development during the pendency of the appeal. She died on 29-10-1983 and in view of the decisions reported in Smt. Maharani Dev and Ors. v. Debabrata Bardhan and Anr. AIR 1983 (Gauhati) 84, Piriska Rozario and Ors. v. The Ford Foundation and Anr. : AIR1969Cal394 , Narinder Kaur and Ors. v. State of Himachal Pradesh and Ors. 1983 ACJ 34 and a Division Bench Judgment of this Court in Joti Ram and Ors. v. Chaman Lal and Ors. 1984 PLR 723 the matter regarding her deserves to be remanded to the Tribunal under Order 41. Rule 25 read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, for calling a report from the Tribunal for the determination of the matter qua her as to whether her legal representatives are entitled to any compensation and if so, how much. The accident took place near Karnal in the jurisdiction of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Karnal, but the evidence, which will have to be recorded, would be of the Doctors and other persons of Chandigarh. Therefore, it would be appropriate that instead of calling a report from the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Karnal, the report be called from the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Chandigarh and the case be remitted to it for doing the needful.

11. For the reasons recorded above, F.A.O. Nos. 476, 478 and 479 of 1980 are allowed with costs, the award of the Tribunal dated 7-4-1980 is quashed and the claimants in these appeals are awarded compensation as indicated above.

12. As regards F.A.O. No. 477 of 1980, the matter is remitted to the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Chandigarh, under Order 41, Rule 25, read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, for the determination of the matter whether the legal heirs of Smt. Parmeshwari Devi deceased arc entitled to any compensation and if so, how much. The Tribunal is directed to send its report within six months. The parties, through their counsel, are directed to appear before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Chandigarh on 2-12-1984. Adjourned to 20-7-1985, to await the report of the Tribunal.


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