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Ronglu and ors. Vs. Behari Lal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC261
AppellantRonglu and ors.
RespondentBehari Lal and ors.
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
Excerpt:
.....entered the crossing and had gone past the centre of it when the bus came and hit into it and that too at a very fast speed without blowing any horn, no question of any contributory negligence of the deceased can arise......the bus driver.6. coming to the question of compensation, the evidence on record shows that amar singh, deceased, was only 19 years of age at the time of his death. he had passed his higher secondary examination. the deceased was unmairied and according to his mother smt. ronglu, she was being maintained by him. smt. ronglu was only about 43 years of age at the time of his death.7. amar singh, deceased, was employed as a peon in guru nanak public school. his emoluments as such were around rs. 200/- per month, but considering his qualifications and the fact that he was entitled to the benefit of reservation available to the members of the scheduled castes, it is reasonable to assume that he had before him bright prospects of advancement in life. it is no doubt also true that in due.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. On November 5, 1977 at about 3 P.M. Amar Singh, a peon of Guru Nanak Public School, Chandigarh, while travelling on his cycle was run-over and killed by a Punjab Roadways bus PUK-8118 at a crossing in Sector 35. The Tribunal found that the accident had been caused by the rash and negligent driving of the bus driver, but there was also contributory negli-gence on the part of the deceased to the extent of 20 per cent. The claimants here being widowed mother of the deceased and his two brothers were awarded a sum of Rs. 18,432/- as compensation, after making the requisite deduction on account of the contributory negligence of the deceased.

2. In seeking enhancement of the compensation, in appeal, Mr. S.D. Sharma, counsel for the claimants in the first instance challenged the finding of contributory negligence recorded against the deceased.

3. It is the common case of the parties that the accident took place at a road inter-Section. The evidence led by the claimants, which consists of the two eye witnesses thereto namsly, PW. 5 Ranjit Singh and PW. 6 Ramesh Kumar, show that it was the deceased, who had entered the crossing before the bus cams there and what is more the deceaased had gone past the centre of the crossing when the bus hit into him. It was the righit front side of the bus that hit into his cycle. Further, it was their testimony that the bus came on to this crossing at a very fast speed and entered it without even blowing any horn.

4. Turning to the evidence of the bus driver Bihari Lal, his version was that he came to know of the accident only when passengers sitting in the bus shouted that some cycle had struck into the bus. In other words, he had not even seen the cyclist. His testimony being that the bicycle had struck the hind portion of the bus. To a similar effect was the statement of RW. 2 Pritam Singh the bus conductor. The Tribunal rightly did not accept the statements of the bus driver and conductor in view of the eloquent testimony provided by the photographs taken by P.W. 3 Diley Singh which clearly point to the deceased having already crossed the centre of the road before the bus hit into him. Indeed they suggest that if the bus had been going on its correct side perhaps no accident would have taken place. What is of telling effect here is the damage visible on the front right side of the bus. There is no explanation forth-coming from the bus driver or conductor to account for it.

5. In a situation like the present where it stands established that the deceased had already entered the crossing and had gone past the centre of it when the bus came and hit into it and that too at a very fast speed without blowing any horn, no question of any contributory negligence of the deceased can arise. The finding of the Tribunal of contributory negligence of the deceased cannot, therefore, be substained and it must accordingly be held that the accident was caused wholly due to the rash and negligent driving of the bus driver.

6. Coming to the question of compensation, the evidence on record shows that Amar Singh, deceased, was only 19 years of age at the time of his death. He had passed his Higher Secondary Examination. The deceased was unmairied and according to his mother Smt. Ronglu, she was being maintained by him. Smt. Ronglu was only about 43 years of age at the time of his death.

7. Amar Singh, deceased, was employed as a peon in Guru Nanak Public School. His emoluments as such were around Rs. 200/- per month, but considering his qualifications and the fact that he was entitled to the benefit of reservation available to the members of the Scheduled Castes, it is reasonable to assume that he had before him bright prospects of advancement in life. It is no doubt also true that in due course he would be expected to have got married and to raise a family. Keeping in view however, the principles laid down by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur 1977 PLR 1, in the context of the circumstances of the deceased and his widowed mother, it would be reasonable and just to take 16 to be the appropriate multiplier here and to take the loss to the mother to be at the rate of Rs. 150/- per month. This would work out to Rs. 28,800/- which may be rounded off to Rs. 30,000/-.

8. The Tribunal fell in error in awarding compensation to the brothers of the deceased, a position which counsel for the appellants conceded as correct. Accordingly the entire compensation payable in this case would be payable only to the claimant Smt. Ronglu the widowed mother of the deceased.

9. In the result, the amount awarded as compensation to the claimant Smt. Ronglu is hereby enhanced to Rs. 30,000/- which she shall be entitled to along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date or the application to the date of the payment of the amount awarded.

10. This appeal is consequently accepted with costs to the extent indicated. Counsel's fee Rs. 300/-.


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