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Sheilawati Vs. Sukhdev Kaur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC50
AppellantSheilawati
RespondentSukhdev Kaur and ors.
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
Excerpt:
.....as laid down by the full bench in lachhman singh v. 1, the appropriate multiplier to be adopted in this case would clearly be 16. the loss considering the age and circumstances of the deceased and the claimants deserves to be taken to be at the rate of rs......between a truck and a motor-cycle. this happened in ambala on december 16, 1977 at about 11 p.m. karam singh who was on the motor-cycle at that time was killed in this accident.2. on the finding that the accident here had been caused by the negligence of the truck driver, the claimants, they being the widow, two minor children and parents of karam singh, deceased, were awarded a sum of rs. 72,000/- as compensation.3. the award here has now been challenged in two appeals, one by the owner and the insurance company, with which the truck had been insured questioning their liability for payment of compensation awarded while the claimants on the other hand, in their appeal, seek enhanced compensation.according to the claimants the motor-cycle was following the truck when the truck suddenly.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. The matter here arises from an accident between a truck and a motor-cycle. This happened in Ambala on December 16, 1977 at about 11 P.M. Karam Singh who was on the motor-cycle at that time was killed in this accident.

2. On the finding that the accident here had been caused by the negligence of the truck driver, the claimants, they being the widow, two minor children and parents of Karam Singh, deceased, were awarded a sum of Rs. 72,000/- as compensation.

3. The award here has now been challenged in two appeals, one by the owner and the Insurance Company, with which the truck had been insured questioning their liability for payment of compensation awarded while the claimants on the other hand, in their appeal, seek enhanced compensation.

According to the claimants the motor-cycle was following the truck when the truck suddenly turned to its right, resulting in an accident between the two vehicles. Karam Singh, deceased, who was on the motor-cycle at that time was killed at the spot. The opposite party, that is, the driver, owner and Insurance Company of the truck took the stand that the truck had not been involved in any accident.

4. The Tribunal found in favour of the claimants on the issue of negligence relying upon the testimony of A.W, 6 lsher and A.W. 7 Bachana, who deposed to being the eye witnesses of the occurrence. Another important piece of evidence in this case is the statement of the truck driver, which he made in the criminal court. This being exhibit AW, 13/1. He admitted therein that the truck HRA-9344 had been involved in this accident and that the accident had been caused by his rash and negligence driving. It is pertinent to note that the driver of the truck did not appear in the witness box. The version of the accident as given by A.W. 6 Isher and A.W. 3 Bachana was a consistant and a straight forward one with no contradictions or discrepancies to create any doubt therein. No occasion is thus provided warranting any interference in appeal with the finding that the accident here had been caused by the negligence of the truck driver.

5. The main contest in these appeals was with regard to the amount payable to the claimants as compensation. There is no dispute that Karam Singh, deceased, was only about 30 years of age at the time of his death and be died leaving behind his widow Smt. Sukhdev Kaur, aged 27 years, two minor sons and parents. It is also on record that Karam Singh was employed as a Secretary of the Cooperative Society at a salary of Rs. 300/- per month. Counsel for the claimants, however, sought to contend that the deceased also had an agricultural income of Rs. 600/- per month and this income also deserved to be taken into account in computing the compensation payable to the claimants. A reading of the evidence of A.W. 12 Smt. Sukhdev Kaur and A.W. 13 Jhanda Singh, the father of the deceased, would show that the deceased owned no land. There is only the bald statement of Smt. Sukhdev Kaur to the effect that he got Rs. 600/- per month as income from land. A.W. 13 Jhanda Singh stated that the deceased used to look after the agricultural work through servants. In a situation like the present, where the land was owned by some one else and it was being cultivated through servants, no loss of agricultural income can be spelt out for the claimants. The Tribunal, thus, rightly did not take this into reckoning.

6. Next, the claimants claimed funeral expenses and cost of repairs of the motor-cycle involved in the accident. There is, however, no evidence to show, what amount, if any, was spent as funeral expenses and therefore, no amount can be granted under this head. As regards the damage to the motorcycle A.W. 4 Kanwal Krishan, the motor-mechanic, who repaired it stated that the motor-cycle belonged to the Society and he had to take the cost of the repairs thereof from Tara Singh and what is more, no amount had so far been paid to him. Counsel could not show how the claimants could claim any amount under this head with this being the evidence.

7. The compensation payable to the claimants has thus to be computed on the basis of the employment of the deceased Karam Singh as Secretary of the Society at a salary of Rs. 300/- per month. According to the well settled principles governing computation of compensation as laid down by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur 1979 P.L.R. 1, the appropriate multiplier to be adopted in this case would clearly be 16. The loss considering the age and circumstances of the deceased and the claimants deserves to be taken to be at the rate of Rs. 3,000/- per annum. In other words, the compensation payable to the claimants would be Rs. 48,000/-.

8. For the fore-going reasons, the amount awarded as compensation to the claimants is hereby reduced to Rs. 48,000/-, which the claimants 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 the payment of the amount awarded.

9. In the result the appeal filed by the owner and Insurance Company of the truck involved in the accident is hereby accepted to the extent indicated above while that filed by the claimants is dismissed. There will, however, be no order as to costs.


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