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The Oriental Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. and ors. Vs. Swarna Rani and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC256
AppellantThe Oriental Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. and ors.
RespondentSwarna Rani and ors.
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
Excerpt:
.....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 - in this earliest version of the incident, it was clearly mentioned that the accident had been caused by the rash and negligent driving of the motor cycle by ramesh kumar and that the deceased had been standing on the kacha portion of the road at that time. it is now well settled that in such cases the normal multiplier is 16, taking into account the various relevant factors as set out by the full bench in lachhman singh v. the amount payable to the minor claimants shall be paid to them in such manner as the tribunal may deem to be in their best interest......was standing outside his shop on the kacha portion of the road, when ramesh kumar driving his motor cycle h.r.f. 438 in a rash and negligent manner came and knocked him down.3. ramesh kumar, on the other hand, pleaded that he had been falsely implicated in this case. he denied his involvement in the accident or even that the deceased had received the injuries in a road accident. a similar plea was put-forth by the owner of the motor-cycle b.r. singla and the insu-rance company with which this motor cycle stood insured.4. the tribunal accepted the claimants' version holding that the accident had been caused by the rash and negligent driving of the motor cycle by ramesh kumar.5. the finding of negligence warrants no interference in appeal.6. the eye witness account of the occurence as.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. The challenge in appeal here is to the award of Rs. 1,07,500/- as compensation to the claimants, they being the widow and children of Des Raj, deceased, who was killed in an accident with a motor vehicle at Dabwali on December 16, 1976.

2. It was the case of the claimants that Des Raj deceased was standing outside his shop on the kacha portion of the road, when Ramesh Kumar driving his motor cycle H.R.F. 438 in a rash and negligent manner came and knocked him down.

3. Ramesh Kumar, on the other hand, pleaded that he had been falsely implicated in this case. He denied his involvement in the accident or even that the deceased had received the injuries in a road accident. A similar plea was put-forth by the owner of the motor-cycle B.R. Singla and the Insu-rance Company with which this motor cycle stood insured.

4. The Tribunal accepted the claimants' version holding that the accident had been caused by the rash and negligent driving of the motor cycle by Ramesh Kumar.

5. The finding of negligence warrants no interference in appeal.

6. The eye witness account of the occurence as per the claimants was deposed to by P.W. 9 Budh Ram, a nearby shopkeeper. It was on his statement that the First Information Report, regarding this incident, came to be recorded, and that too within 15 minutes of the occurence, as the Police Station was only 50 Karams away. In this earliest version of the incident, it was clearly mentioned that the accident had been caused by the rash and negligent driving of the motor cycle by Ramesh Kumar and that the deceased had been standing on the kacha portion of the road at that time. This provides valuable corroboration to the statement to this effect made before the Tribunal by this witness. The other witness examined was P.W. 8 Lekh Raj the brother of the deceased. It appears that in his testimony he had made some improvement in this behalf in that he had earlier stated to the police in his statement Exhibit R/1 that he had heard that the accident had been caused by Ramesh Kumar. He is, however, consistent on this fact that the deceased had died in an accident with a motor-cycle.

7. Turning to the evidence led on behalf of Ramesh Kumar and the owner of the motor-cycle, it will be seen that what RW. 2 Gauri Shankar and RW. 4 Thakur Dass deposed to was a totally new version, namely that the deceased was crossing the road when he was knocked down by a truck. No such plea had been put-forth in the written statement made by RW. 5 Ramesh Kumar. RW. 2 Gauri Shankar, who had deposed to the story of the deceased being run over by truck was one of the eye witnesses mentioned in the First Information Report Exhibit PC. It deserves note that in his statement to the police Exhibit PW/1 what he had stated was in consonance with the claimants' case, namely that the deceased had been knocked down by the motor-cycle of Ramesh Kumar. In this situation, the Tribunal rightly did not rely upon the statement of Gauri Shankar. As regards Thakur Dass, it is pertinent to note that he could give no particulars of the truck which according to him had caused this accident. He could not even tell whether the driver thereof was a man with a turben or clean shaven or what its number or colour was or any o ther particular about that truck to create confidence in bis presence at the t ime of the accident.

8. Such being the evidence on record, considered also in the context of the circumstances in which the accident occurred, there can be no manner of doubt that the accident here had been caused by Ramesh Kumar while driving the motor cycle HRF-438 and that too it was his rash and negligent driving that was responsible for it.

9. Turning to the issue of compensation, the evidence on record shows that Des Raj, deceased, was only 33 years of age at the time of his death and he died leaving behind his yound widow and three minor children, who were all dependent upon him. The Tribunal taking into account also the income-tax returns relating to the deceased came to the finding that the income of the deceased was Rs. 660/- per month. Where the Tribunal fell in error was in taking 25 to be the appropriate multiplier in this case. It is now well settled that in such cases the normal multiplier is 16, Taking into account the various relevant factors as set out by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur 1979 P.L.R. 1, the loss to the claimants deserves to be computed at Rs. 500/- per month. On this basis, the compensation that the claimants would be entitled to work out to Rs. 96, 000/-.

10. The compensation payable to the claimants is accordingly reduced to Rs. 96,000/-. The claimants shall, however, be entitled to this amount 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. Out of the amount awarded, a sum of Rs. 18,000/- each shall be payable to the children of the deceased and the balance to his widow. The amount payable to the minor claimants shall be paid to them in such manner as the Tribunal may deem to be in their best interest. The respondents shall be jointly and severally liable for the entire amount awarded as compensation.

11. In the result, the appeal is accepted; while the cross-objections filed by the claimants are dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.


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