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Gurmit Kaur Vs. Bhim Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 99 of 1972
Judge
Reported in28(1985)DLT62
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110A
AppellantGurmit Kaur
RespondentBhim Singh and ors.
Advocates: Rekha Sharma, Adv
Excerpt:
- - he had clearly opined that cerebral compression could be produced by the road side vehicular accident due to impact. considering the fact that the parties come from a very low and poor strata of the society i want to ensure that the benefit of the compensation is directly received by the claimants i, thereforee, direct the respondents to draw up a cheque for rs 80,000.00 and the interest in the name of gurmeet kaur, widow of late shri ajmer singh......i, thereforee, hold that due to rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by its driver bhim singh the accident was caused resulting into death of ajmer singh. the accident was caused in the course of the employment of respondents 2, 3 and 4. they are, thereforee, liable for the rash and negligent driving of respondent no. 1 resulting into death of ajmer singh. (5) the next question is regarding the compensation. the tribunal had found that ajmer singh was working as a carpenter. the claimants had claimed that he was earning rs. 350.00 per month. he was doing private work. as no documentary evidence could be produced in regard to the income, the tribunal took it at rs. 200.00 per month. there was no reason for the tribunal to treat rs. 350.00 as an exaggerated amount. even an.....
Judgment:

S.B. Wad, J.

(1) This is an appeal filed by the wife of the victim Ajmer Singh on her behalf and on behalf of two minor daughters challenging the award of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal dated 3.8.1972. The Tribunal had dismissed the claim petition as in its opinion no positive finding as regards the rash and negligent driving of vehicle No. U.D. 41863 could be established. The accident took place on 18.1.1968. The present appeal was admitted in 1972. The appeal is on the daily list for the last three days. None is present on behalf of the appellants. The counsel for the Respondents has taken me through the judgment and the evidence.

(2) On 18.1.1968 at about 12.45 P.M. Ajmer Singh was going on his bicycle and on the crossing of Willingdon Crescent Road and Sardar Patel Marg he was knocked down by a Military Truck No. U.D. 41863. The bicycle and the truck were going in the same direction. Ajmer Singh died on the spot. He was taken to All India Medical institute where Dr. Jagdish Chander performed the post mortem. The following injuries were noted :

(1)Abraison right side forehead 6 cms X 4 cms Along with contusion 2 cms X 5 cms.

(2)Abrasion right side chest upper part near clavicle 7 cms X 2 cms.

(3)Abrasion right side leg upper part front 3 cms X 2 cms.

(4)Fracture of skull base Along with subdural and subarchaoid haemorrhage both side was present.

(3) Dr. Jagdish Chander opined that the death was caused by cerebral compression as a result of fracture skull and interracial haemorrhage. Injuries were likely to be produced by roadside vehicular accident due to impact against hard surface or object. In his evidence be further stated that the injuries were likely to be produced when falling with force from the fast moving vehicle or being knocked down by the vehicle. In his cross-examination he further explained that the skull injuries could not be caused unless the head strikes with a hard surface with great force. On behalf of the claimant Shri Uttam Prakash Bansal (Public Witness -1) gave the evidence. He was going in his own car and was coming from the opposite direction. He saw that the truck was at a very high speed and had taken a sudden turn without blowing horn. He had denied the suggestion in his cross-examination that the Driver of the truck had given a signal before turning or that the Constable on the crossing had allowed the truck to pass. He also denied the suggestion that the head of the deceased was normal after the accident. He submitted that the head was compressed after the accident. This witness found an admission card of the deceased lying at the spot of the accident. That card was for admission to Talkatora Garden. The witness went to Talkatora Garden and contacted the colleagues of the deceased. There he came to know that the deceased was going to Talkatora Gardens to work as a Carpenter for Punjab State for the 26th January celebrations. The Driver of the truck Bhim Singh appeared in RW-4. He stated that on the crossing of the said two roads there was a Policeman who had given him sign to cross the road. In his examination-in- Chief he stated that he only saw the cyclist lying on the road. He did not see either the cyclist striking the truck or the truck striking the cyclist. He stated that he was driving at a speed of 15 miles per hour. In his crossexamination he admitted that the cyclist, that is, the deceased was ahead of the truck and that he had seen him. He had seen the cyclist from the distance of 150 yards. He claimed that he blew the horn before turning. Constable Ved Prakash was on the beat and was examined by the respondent. He claimed that the truck driver gave the signal and he allowed him to turn. He also claimed that he did not see the accident but he later on found the cyclist lying and the truck was ten paces away. He gave the whistle and the truck stopped.

(4) The Accident Claims Tribunal on this finding held that nobody had stated actually how the accident had taken place and, thereforee, held that it was not proved that the driver of the vehicle in question caused the death by rash and negligent driving. The reasoning of the Tribunal is difficult to understand. The evidence of Uttam Prakash Bansal is quite trustworthy. He had no connection with the deceased and happened to be passing by from the opposite side in his own car. He saw that the truck was coming at a speed and it took sudden turn without blowing the horn. His evidence is not shaken by the cross-examination. He stood firm by his version. As he was to take a turn towards Sardar Patel Marg, he closed the engine to observe as to which side the truck was going. It may be remembered that the crossing of Willingdon Crescent Road and Sardar Patel Marg has usually a heavy traffic, and a Police Constable stands there to control the traffic. The Police Constable, on the one hand stated that he did not see the actual accident but on the other hand stated that the truck gave the signal before turning and that he allowed the truck to move. The accident had obviously taken place while taking the turn. The deceased was going on the cycle on the left side of the truck. In these circumstances it is hard to believe the evidence of the Constable, Ved Prakash. The Driver of the vehicle Bhim Singh had admitted that he had seen the cyclist from the distance and that the cyclist was ahead of him, but it is difficult to believe that he only saw the cyclist lying on the road without knowing that he had fallen down because of the accident. The evidence of the Doctor and the post-mortem report shows that the skull was crushed and there were serious injuries on the right side of the forehead and upper front of the body on the right side. The truck was on the right side of the cycle. There were serious abrasions on the chest and upper part of the right side. He had clearly opined that cerebral compression could be produced by the road side vehicular accident due to impact. He has also stated that the injuries could be caused if the head was struck with great force. The injuries speak for themselves. It is only because of the hitting of the cyclist by a heavy truck that the injuries were caused resulting into death. The impact also establishes that the truck must have been in a great speed. It is not a head long collusion. The cycle and the truck were on the same side. The serious injuries to the chest and head cannot be explained on any other hypothesis. I, thereforee, hold that due to rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by its Driver Bhim Singh the accident was caused resulting into death of Ajmer Singh. The accident was caused in the course of the employment of respondents 2, 3 and 4. They are, thereforee, liable for the rash and negligent driving of Respondent No. 1 resulting into death of Ajmer Singh.

(5) The next question is regarding the compensation. The Tribunal had found that Ajmer Singh was working as a Carpenter. The claimants had claimed that he was earning Rs. 350.00 per month. He was doing private work. As no documentary evidence could be produced in regard to the income, the Tribunal took it at Rs. 200.00 per month. There was no reason for the Tribunal to treat Rs. 350.00 as an exaggerated amount. Even an ordinary Carpenter was earning this amount at the time of the accident. The carpenters are skilled persons. To take his income as Rs. 200.00 per month is to treat him as an unskilled labourer. The Tribunal has then accepted the statement of the wife of the deceased Smt. Gurmeet Kaur (Public Witness -4) that the deceased was spending Rs. 100.00 on himself. The Tribunal, thereforee, held that the deceased was contributing Rs. 100.00 per month for the maintenance of his family. This is rather a strange logic. Even assuming what the wife had stated was correct it only meant that out of Rs. 350.00 per month the deceased was spending Rs. 100.00 on himself. A person getting an amount of Rs. 350.00 with wife and two minor daughters to support is not likely to spend one-third of his earning on himself. I have no hesitation in holding that the monthly income of the deceased was Rs. 350.00 and he was contributing Rs. 250.00 towards his family expenses. At the time of the accident the deceased was only 28 years old. Taking the normal expectancy of life it can certainly be presumed that he would have lived thirty years more. The total loss suffered by the family would be Rs. 90.000.00 . However, the appellant had claimed only Rs. 80,000.00 . His wife was only of 25 years and the daughters were of the age of 9 and 6. Their education and marriages was the responsibility of the deceased which had now be fallen on the young widow. Further considering the fact that the income of the deceased would have gone up substantially as the carpenters are in great demand and also considering the fact of the high inflation during the last 15 years, I am of the opinion that the compensation of Rs. 80,000.00 is just and proper.

(6) I thereforee, award Rs. 80,000.00 as a compensation to the claimants. They will also be entitled to interest @ 9 per cent from March, 1970 when the amendment in regard to payment of interest was incorporated in the Act. Considering the fact that the parties come from a very low and poor strata of the society I want to ensure that the benefit of the compensation is directly received by the claimants I, thereforee, direct the respondents to draw up a cheque for Rs 80,000.00 and the interest in the name of Gurmeet Kaur, widow of late Shri Ajmer Singh. resident of WZ-283/282, Vishnu Garden Extension, New Delhi, and deposit the same with the Registrar of this Court within three months from today. Gurmeet Kaur and her two daughters would be entitled to one-third share in the said compensation. After receiving the cheque the Registrar shall send the notice to Gurmeet Kaur and make the payment of the cheque in her presence.

(7) For the reasons stated above, the appeal is allowed. Since the counsel for the appellants was not present, the appellants are not entitled to any costs.


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