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National Insurance Co. Ltd. and anr. Vs. Jaswinder Kaur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC402
AppellantNational Insurance Co. Ltd. and anr.
RespondentJaswinder Kaur and ors.
Cases ReferredLachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur
Excerpt:
.....with law - the appropriate multiplier to be applied in this case would clearly be 16 keeping in view the principles laid down 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......issue is modified accordingly.7. the next question arises with regard to the amount payable to the claimants as compensation for the loss suffered by them on account of the death of the deceased. it was the finding of the tribunal that the income of the deceased was rs. 700/- per month. the loss to the dependents was computed at rs. 500/- per month. the deceased was only 39 years of age at the time of his death. he died leaving behind his widow jaswinder kaur, aged 37 years, and three minor children, besides his mother. it has come in evidence that they were all dependant upon the deceased. the appropriate multiplier to be applied in this case would clearly be 16 keeping in view the principles laid down by the full bench in lachhman singh v. gurmit kaur 1979 p.l.r. 1. the loss to the.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. The accident here was between a car USB 4012 and a scooter CHU 9771. This happened at Chandigarh on September 10,1977, at about 9 a.m. on the road between Sectors 17 and 22. Hardev Singh, the driver of the scooter sustained injuries as a result of which he died two months later on November 19, 1977.

2. The Tribunal held this to be a case of contributory negligence, which was apportioned to be 80 per cent that of the car driver and 20 per cent of the deceased. After makiDg an allowance for the contributory negligence of the deceased, a sum of Rs. 48,200/- was awarded as compensation to the claimants, they being the mother of the deceased, his widow and three minor children.

3. Assailed in appeal,now, in the first instance, was the finding recorded by the Tribunal on the issue of negligence. According to the claimants, the accident occurred when the car .going in front of the scooter suddenly turned to its right without giving any indication to this effect resulting in the scooter coming from behind hitting into it despite the utmost effort of the deceased to avoid the accident.

4. The owner of the car and the Insurance Company, with which it was insured, on the other hand, took the plea that the car had not been involved in the accident. It was said that the deceased had been driving the scooter rashly and negligently and had received the injuries on account of a fall from his scooter. The car driver was proceeded against ex-parte. No written statement was filed by him, nor was he examined as a witness.

5. The only evidence on record with regard to this occurrence is the testmony of P.W. 11 Rajeswari Parshad. It was on his statement that the first information report regarding this incident came to be recorded. Rajeswari Parshad was not shown to be in any manner interested in the claimants or to have any motive to falsely depose in their favour. No contradictions or discrepancies could be pointed out in his testimony to create any doubt therein. In a simple and straight forward manner, he deposed to the accident as per the version of the claimants. He was categoric in stating that the car had suddenly turned to its right side without giving any signal and the driver of the scooter tried to avoid the accident by taking his scooter further to his right, but he could not save himself. This statement finds ample corroboration from the first information report recorded at the spot soon after the occurrence.

6. The circumstances in which the accident occurred, leave no manner of doubt that the blame for it lay wholly upon the car driver and there was no warrant for imputing any contributory negligence to the deceased. The finding of the Tribunal on this issue is modified accordingly.

7. The next question arises with regard to the amount payable to the claimants as compensation for the loss suffered by them on account of the death of the deceased. It was the finding of the Tribunal that the income of the deceased was Rs. 700/- per month. The loss to the dependents was computed at Rs. 500/- per month. The deceased was only 39 years of age at the time of his death. He died leaving behind his widow Jaswinder Kaur, aged 37 years, and three minor children, besides his mother. It has come in evidence that they were all dependant upon the deceased. The appropriate multiplier to be applied in this case would clearly be 16 keeping in view the principles laid down by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur 1979 P.L.R. 1. The loss to the dependents being at the rate of Rs. 500/- per month, the compensation payable to them at this rate would work out to Rs. 96,000/-.

8. There is an additional claim for compensation in this case, namely, that for the expenses incurred in the treatment of the deceased following this accident. The accident had taken place on September 10, 1977, and the deceased died on November 19, 1977. During this period it has come on record that the deceased was treated at Chandigarh and also at Patiala. On the basis of vouchers of actual expenses, the Tribunal allowed the claimants a sum of Rs. 4497/- as medical expenses and Rs. 503/- as expenses of an attendant. Mr. V.P. Gandhi, counsel for the claimants, rightly contended that these amounts do not cover all the expenses that had to be incurred in the treatment of the deceased following this accident. Specific reference was here made to the cost of stay of the widow of the deceased at Chandigarh and Patiala during the period when her deceased husband was under treatment, the transportation costs, special diet and other incidental charges, including the costs of medicines, for which no vouchers may have been obtained. These aspects do provide ample justification for award of the further compensation. Taking an overall view of the expenses under the various heads that must have been incurred in the treatment of deceased, a sum of Rs. 9000/- is awarded to the claimants.

9. The compensation payable to the claimants is accordingly hereby enhanced to Rs. 1,05,000/- 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. Out of the amount awarded, a sum of Rs. 10,000/- shall be paid to the mother of the deceased and Rs. 15,000/- each to his children while the balance shall be paid 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. All the respondents shall be jointly and severally liable for the payment of the amount awarded.

10. In the result, the appeal filed by the owner of the car and the Insurance Company is hereby dismissed while that of the claimants is accepted. The claimants shall be entitled to their costs in both these appeals. Counsel's fee Rs. 500/- (One set only).


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