S.S. Sodhi, J.
1. The controversy in appeal is with regard to the ownership of the car involved in the accident, namely DLJ-2680 and the liability imposed in respect thereof for the compensation awarded to the claimants.
2. In an accident between the car DLJ-2680 and a scooter, two persons in the scooter Surinder Singh and Tarsem Lal were killed; while the Third Gurnam Singh sustained injuries. This happened on December 15, 1971 at about 8.30 P.M. near Doraha on the road to Ludhiana.
3. It was the finding of the Tribunal that the accident had been caused by the rash and negligent driving of the car by respondent Jaspal Singh. A sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- was awarded as compensation to the claimants, they being the mother, widow and children of Surinder Singh, deceased.
4. What is now challenged in appeal is the liability fastened upon M/s Bayer India Limited for payment of the compensation awarded, taking it to by the owner of the car that caused the accident and the consequent liability also of New India Assurance Company being the Insurance Company with which this car had been insured.
5. When the car DLJ-2680 met with the accident it was admittedly Jaspal Singh who had been driving it. There is no material on record to establish any connection between him and M/s Bayer India Limited to render them vicariously liable even if it be taken that ownerships of the car vested in Bayer India Limited on the date of the accident. This was indeed conceded to be so by Mr. O.P. Goyal counsel for the claimants.
6. The evidence on record, however, further establishes that the car was not owned by M/s Bayer India Limited when the accident occurred. The car was no doubt originally owned by M/s Bayer India Limited, but it has come on record that it had been sold and stood transferred in the name of respondent Jaspal Singh on September 16, 1971 which is a couple of months before the accident. A specific plea was raised by the present appellants regarding the transfer of ownership of the car before this accident. To support this there is the evidence of P.D. Sharma, the Regional Administrative Manager of M/s Bayer India Limited, who brought the record pertaining to this car and deposed that the car DLJ: 2680 had been sold by M/s Bayer India Limited to R.K. Kapur on September 3, 197t for Rs. 11,000/-. In this behalf he placed on record the receipts Exhibits R/l, R/2, and R/3 regarding the price of the car and the receipt of the car by the purchaser. There is then the testimony of R.P. Sharma, from the Motor Licencing Officer, Delhi, who deposed that the car stood registered in the name of Jaspal Singh from September 16, 1971. Earlier intimation had been received that the car had been sold to R.K. Kapur and R.K. Kapur had later informed by his letter dated September 13, 1971 that the car had been sold to Jaspal Singh.
7. There is no suggestion that the registration of the car BLJ-2680 in the name of Jaspal Singh on September 16, 1971 was in any manner suspicious or doubtful. The only criticism levelled by Mr. O.P. Goyal, counsel for the claimants was with regard to the non-examination of R.K. Kapur and respondent Jaspal Singh. The fact that these two persons were not produced as witnesses cannot be taken as a circumstances to be used against the appellants, keeping in view the fact that it was equally open to the claimants to have examined them if they at all entertained any doubt regarding the genuineness of the plea raised by the appellants regarding the transfer of this car before the accident.
8. Considering the circumstances of this case in the context of the evidence on record there can be no manner of doubt that M/s Bayer India Limited were not the owners of the car at the date of the accident and had no connection with it to in any manner render them liable for the consequences of the accident that had occurred. This being so, no liability can be fastened upon the Insurance Company either. The liability for the amount awarded must fall wholly upon the respondent Jaspal Singh.
9. This appeal is accordingly hereby accepted. There will, however, be no order as to costs.