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Bhagwant Kaur and ors. Vs. Pepsu Road Transport Corp. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC138
AppellantBhagwant Kaur and ors.
RespondentPepsu Road Transport Corp. and ors.
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
Excerpt:
.....to establish his allegations as state action shall always be presumed to be in accordance with law - the appropriate multiplier to be applied her is clearly 16. this figure would work out to rs. the amounts payable to the minors shall be paid to them in the such manner as the tribunal may deem to be in their best interest......awarded as compensation to the claimants, they being the widow and two minor children of bakhtawar singh, deceased.3. the claim in appeal now is for enhancement of the amount awarded as compensation.4. the evidence on record shows that bakhtawar singh, deceased, was only 32 years of age at the time of his death. his widow smt. bhagwant kaur was about 29 years old at that time. bakhtawar singh, deceased, was an agriculturist. according to his widow, pw. 5 smt. bhagwant kaur, he owned 6 acres of land and he cultivated the land of others too on contract. he was also a tractor driver and used to cultivate land by tractor. her testimony was that she used to be given rs. 500/- to rs. 600/- per month for her maintenance and that of her children.5. the other witness examined by the claimants,.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. On October 12, 1977 the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation bus, PUV-2124, struck against the railing of the bridge over the Bhakra Canal near the floating restaurant, Sirhind and fell into the canal, resulting in a number of passengers travelling in the bus being killed. Amongst those, who died in this accident, was Bakhtawar Singh.

2. The Tribunal held this to be a case of rash and negligent driving on the part of the bus driver. A sum of Rs. 40,000/- was awarded as compensation to the claimants, they being the widow and two minor children of Bakhtawar Singh, deceased.

3. The claim in appeal now is for enhancement of the amount awarded as compensation.

4. The evidence on record shows that Bakhtawar Singh, deceased, was only 32 years of age at the time of his death. His widow Smt. Bhagwant Kaur was about 29 years old at that time. Bakhtawar Singh, deceased, was an agriculturist. According to his widow, PW. 5 Smt. Bhagwant Kaur, he owned 6 acres of land and he cultivated the land of others too on contract. He was also a tractor driver and used to cultivate land by tractor. Her testimony was that she used to be given Rs. 500/- to Rs. 600/- per month for her maintenance and that of her children.

5. The other witness examined by the claimants, with regard to the loss suffered by them was PW. 4 Karam Singh, Sarpanch, who corroborated the statement of the widow by deposing that the deceased used to earn Rs. 500/- to Rs. 700/- per month.

6. The compensation payable to claimants in such cases has to be assessed in keeping with the principles laid down by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur 1979 P.L.R. 1. The claimants here must indeed be treated as having been wholly dependent upon the deceased. Considering the circumstances of the deceased, namely that he owned land, cultivated land of others too on contract besides being a tractor driver, no exaggeration can be imputed to his widow when she deposed to a loss of Rs. 500/- per month. The earnings of the claimants now from the six acres of land that they have inherited has of course be off set against this loss. Such earnings may be taken to be at the rate of Rs. 200/- per month. On the basis, the loss to toe claimants would be to the tune of Rs. 300/- per month. The appropriate multiplier to be applied her is clearly 16. This figure would work out to Rs. 57,600/- which may be rounded off to Rs. 60,000/-.

7. The compensation payable to the claimants is consequently hereby enhanced to Rs. 60,000/- 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 award. Out of the amount awarded, a sum of Rs. 15,000/. each shall be payable to the minor children of the deceased and the balance to his widow. The amounts payable to the minors shall be paid to them in the such manner as the Tribunal may deem to be in their best interest.

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


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