S.S. Sodhi, J.
1. In an accident at the crossing of Sections 20, 21, 33 and 34, Chandigarh, Prem Nath Sahdev was run over by a frock HRA-9763. He was on his 'Luna' CHO-4426 at that time. The deceased died at the spot as result of the injuries sustained in this accident.
2. The Tribunal held this to be a case of contributory negligence which was apportioned to be two-third of the truck driver and one-third of the deceased. A sum of Rs. 44,800/- was awarded as compensation to the claimant, they being the widow and two minor children of the deceased.
3. The finding of negligence was sought to be assailed in appeal on the plea, that the accident had occurred when the deceased came on to this crossing and then turned on to the wrong side and thereby hit into the truck coming from that side. The argument being that the deceased had come on to this crossing from the road between Sectors 20 and 21 and had then turned to his right and hit into the truck which had come to this crossing from the road on his right, that is, the road between Sectors 21 and 34. it is pertinent to note that no such plea was put-forth by the truck driver in his written statement. There is also no suggestion that there was any occasion or reason for the deceased to have turned to his right on reaching this crossing. This version of the truck driver is thus clearly an after-thought and therefore, deserves no credence.
4. The Tribunal rightly relied upon the testimony of PW 4 Shiv Darshan Singh, who deposed to bring an eye witness of the occurrence. It was on his statement that the First Information Report was recorded in this case. His presence at the spot is also supported by RW 1 Ajmer Singh, who was examined by the truck driver. The testimony of this Ajmer Singh is, however, of no assistance to the truck driver. He too had deposed as per the version of the truck driver as discussed above. What deserves note with regard to his testimony is that he had twice been summoned to appear as a witness for the claimants, but had not appeared despite summons having been served upon him, but he came forth to depose in favour of the truck driver. He admitted that the truck driver was known to him. He cannot be treated as worthy of belief. Having regard to the evidence on record, and the circumstances of the case, particularly the photographs taken immediately after the accident, no exception can be taken to the finding recorded by the Tribunal and this finding is accordingly upheld and affirmed.
5. As regards the compensation payable to the claimants, the evidence on record shows that Prem Nath Sahdev was only 29 years of age at the time of his death. He was employed as Purchase Assistant with Khanna Industries, at a salary of Rs. 606/- per month. The claimants here are his young widow Smt. Parvaish Sahdev, who was only 27 years old when her husband died and their two minor children. Considered in the context of the principles laid down by the Full Bench in Lachhman Singh v. Gurmit Kaur 1979 PLR 1, the appropriate multiplier would clearly be 16. Taking the loss to the claimants to be to the tune of about Rs. 400/- per month, and after making a deduction on account of the contributory negligence of the deceased, they must be held entitled to a sum of Rs. 50,000/- as compensation.
6. The compensation payable to the claimants is accordingly enhanced to Rs. 50,000/- which they 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/- each shall be paid to the two minor claimants and the balance to the widow of the deceased. All the respondents shall be jointly and severally liable for the payment of the amount awarded.
7. Is the result, the appeal of the claimants is accepted while that of the truck owner and Insurance Company is dismissed. The claimants shall be entitled to their costs in both these appeals. Counsel's fee Rs. 300/- (one set only).