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Buti @ Bunti Vs. Murti and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC11
AppellantButi @ Bunti
RespondentMurti and ors.
Excerpt:
- administrative law - government contract: [vijender jain, c.j., rajive bhalla & sury kant, jj] government contract rejection of highest bid challenge as to held, state has no dominus status to dictate unilateral terms and conditions when it enters into contract. its actions must be reasonable, fair and just in consonance with rule of law. as a necessary corollary thereto, state cannot refuse to confirm highest bid without assigning any valid reason and/or by giving erratic, irrational or irrelevant reasons. the state is free to enter into a contract just like any other individual and the contract shall not change its legal character merely because other party to contract is state. though no citizen possesses a legal right to compel state to enter into a contract, yet latter can..........tempo and a jeep. this happened on the dadri-loharu road at about 8.22 p.m. on november 14, 1976. prem singh, the driver of the tempo involved in this accident sustained injuries as a result of which he later died on november 21,1976.2. it was the finding of the tribunal that this accident had been caused entirely due to the rash and negligent driving by buti alias bunti, the driver of the jeep. a sum of rs. 19,500/- was awarded as compensation to the claimant, she being smt. murti, the widow of the deceased.3. the challenge in appeal was to the finding of negligence recorded against the driver of the jeep. the eye-witness account of the accident as per the version of the claimants was deposed to by a.w. 1 sis ram, who deposed that he was travelling in the tempo involved in the accident.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. The accident here was between a tempo and a jeep. This happened on the Dadri-Loharu Road at about 8.22 p.m. on November 14, 1976. Prem Singh, the driver of the tempo involved in this accident sustained injuries as a result of which he later died on November 21,1976.

2. It was the finding of the Tribunal that this accident had been caused entirely due to the rash and negligent driving by Buti alias Bunti, the driver of the jeep. A sum of Rs. 19,500/- was awarded as compensation to the claimant, she being Smt. Murti, the widow of the deceased.

3. The challenge in appeal was to the finding of negligence recorded against the driver of the jeep. The eye-witness account of the accident as per the version of the claimants was deposed to by A.W. 1 Sis Ram, who deposed that he was travelling in the tempo involved in the accident at the time of this occurrence. It was his testimony that seeing the jeep coming from the opposite direction at a very fast speed and that too without head lights, Prem Singh deceased took the tempo to the kutcha portion of the road on the left side but the jeep came and struck against it there. With this impact, the tempo fell down and caught fire. Prem Singh thereby received serious injuries and he (Sis Ram) too received burns on his left leg. He stated that there were four of five passengers in the tempo at that time and they all suffered injuries. Sis Ram estimated the speed of the jeep to be not less than 60 kilometers per hour while that of the tempo to 20 kilometers hour.

4. The appellant Buti, the driver of the jeep, appeared as R.W. 5 and sought to lay the blame for the accident wholly upon Prem Singh deceased. According to him, it was the tempo which was being driven without head-lights and that too in the middle of the road, whereas the jeep was partly on the kutcha and partly on the pucca portion of the left side of the road and it was the right side of the tempo which hit into the rear side of the jeep and then the tempo fell and caught fire. He went on to state that Prem Singh deceased was the first person to come out of the tempo but he then tried to take out some-thing from inside the burning tempo and as he was wearing terelyne clothes, they caught fire and he thereby suffered burns and it was on account of these burns that he died. To corroborate this testimony, three other witnesses were examined, namely, R.W. 2 Mahabir and R.W. 3 Dalip Singh who deposed that they were travelling in the jeep at that time and R.W. 4 Amar Chand who stated that he was one of the persons travelling in the tempo of Prem Singh deceased.

5. A reading of the evidence on record would show that no challenge was made to the presence of A.W. 1 Sis Ram. It will also be seen that no suggestion was made to him that R.W. 4 Amar Chand was also travelling in the tempo or that R.W. 2 Mahabir and R.W. 3 Dalip Singh were also there at that time. Further, the suggestion made to Sis Ram was that the tempo had fallen on its own when it swerved to its left on seeing the jeep. In other words, there was no collusion between the two vehicles. The evidence of the witnesses examined by Buti as also of the Buti himself was, on the other hand, to the effect that there was indeed a collusion between the two vehicles and this occurred because the tempo was being driven in the middle of the road.

6. There are also discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses examined Buti with regard to the manner in which Prem Singh deceased suffered burn injuries. According to R.W. 5 Buti, he suffered these injuries when he tried to get out something from the burning tempo. This was also the version given by R.W. 4 Amar Chand, but according to R.W. 2 Mahabir, he suffered these burns when he tried to enter the tempo to extinguish the fire. R.W. 3 Dalip Singh, on the other hand, stated that he suffered these burn injuries when the tempo caught fire.

7. It is significant to note that despite the fact that admittedly a criminal case had been registered against the appellant Buti in respect of this accident, the statement of the neither of the witnesses examined by him was recorded by the police. It is obvious that it was for the first time before the Tribunal that they came forth to depose in his favour.

8. Another significant aspect of this case is provided by the fact that no counter-version of the accident was put-forth by Buti in his written statement.

9. In the totality of the circumstances of the case and the evidence on record, no other conclusion was possible other than that recorded by the Tribunal, namely, that the accident here had been caused entirely due to the rash' and negligent driving by the appellant.

10. The amount awarded as compensation, i.e., Rs. 19,500/- can by no means justify any reduction. Prem Singh was only about 25 years of age at the time of his death. He died leaving behind his widow and parents. He was the owner and driver of the tempo involved in the accident and it has come on record that his income was nearly Rs. 750/- per month. In these circumstances, the Tribunal rightly awarded to the claimant the amount claimed.

11. This appeal is consequently hereby dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 300/-.


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