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Yashwant Raj Vs. Mohan Lal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles;Civil
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. First Appeal Nos. 113 of 1972 and 7 of 1973
Judge
Reported inI(1985)ACC342; AIR1984Raj144
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110, 110(1), 110A, 110B and 110CC; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 34
AppellantYashwant Raj
RespondentMohan Lal and ors.
Appellant Advocate R.L. Jangid, Adv.; S.L. Mardia, Adv.
Respondent Advocate R.K. Mehta, Adv.
Cases ReferredSwarnalata Dutta Barua v. National Transport India Pvt. Ltd.
Excerpt:
- - 1. yaswant rai was go-ing on a motor-cycle from the rich court at jodhpur towards sojati gate on may 29, 1968 at about 10.30 a. in this view of the matter, both the driver of the truck vijaisingh as well as the owner thereof. dl clearly shows that mohanlal was the insured in respect of vehicle r. 11. on the question of medical treatment, including costs of medicines and payment to doctors and expenses incurred on better food, vitamins etc. 27, 1968 yaswantrai still complained of headache and giddiness and some medicines were again prescribed for him. 2,500/- has been claimed on this account, but looking to the fact that the claimant has failed to prove that any private doctors had treated him and in view of the fact that neither prescriptions except ex. the claimant was treated for.....dwarka prasad, j.1. yaswant rai was go-ing on a motor-cycle from the rich court at jodhpur towards sojati gate on may 29, 1968 at about 10.30 a. m. and ghewarchand was sitting behind him. as the motor-cycle of yeswant raj was going on the main road towards sojati gate, truck no. rjq 1688 driven by vijaysingh struck against the motorcycle of yaswant raj from behind. as a result of the aforesaid collision yaswant raj and ghewarchand were thrown off from the motor-cycle and lay unconscious at some distance, while the motor cycle itself was run over by the truck and was smashed. yashwantrai and ghewarchand were immediately taken in an ambulance to mahatma gandhi hospital and the condition of yeshwantrai continued to be serious for a number of days. yeshwantrai received six injuries as a.....
Judgment:

Dwarka Prasad, J.

1. Yaswant Rai was go-ing on a Motor-cycle from the Rich Court at Jodhpur towards Sojati Gate on May 29, 1968 at about 10.30 A. M. and Ghewarchand was sitting behind him. As the Motor-cycle of Yeswant Raj was going on the main road towards Sojati Gate, truck No. RJQ 1688 driven by Vijaysingh struck against the motorcycle of Yaswant Raj from behind. As a result of the aforesaid collision Yaswant Raj and Ghewarchand were thrown off from the motor-cycle and lay unconscious at some distance, while the motor cycle itself was run over by the truck and was smashed. Yashwantrai and Ghewarchand were immediately taken in an Ambulance to Mahatma Gandhi Hospital and the condition of Yeshwantrai continued to be serious for a number of days. Yeshwantrai received six injuries as a result of the accident, including an abrasion 9 cm. x 1 cm. on the forehead on the left-side, iust above the eye-brow. On medical examination, it was found that he was semi-conscious and mental irritation was present. The Medical Jurist. who examined Yashwant Rai, advised that a dying declaration may be recorded when he recoverd consciousness and advised X-ray of the skull. The X-ray report showed a doubtful fracture in the left front parietal region in the tangential view Yeshwantrai is alleged to have remained unconscious or semi-conscious for about 15 days. He remained as an indoor patient in the hospital from May 29, 1968 to June 10, 1968 on account of head injury involving multiple fractures. Thereafter he remained at home and was under medical treatment for almost 3 months before he recovered.

2. A claim petition was filed by Yashwant Rai on July 26, 1968 before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jodhpur (hereinafter referred to as 'the Tribunal'). A practice was in vogue with the Tribunal at that time that soon after a claim petition under Section 110A of the Motor Vehicles Act was filed the petitioner was examined by the Tribunal. It was represented on behalf of Yashwant on August 20, 1968 before the Tribunal that he was still suffering for head injury and was not in a position to appear before the Tribunal for a preliminary examination and on this ground an adjoumment was sought for recording his statement. Yashwant Rai appeared before the Tribunal on November 7, 1968 and his preliminary statement was recorded and then notices were issued to the respondents.

3. In the claim petition, Yashwant Rai claimed a sum of Rs. 60,500/- by way of compensation. The details of his claim are as under :--

1. Actual expenditure in- Rs. 2,500/-curred for treatment. 2. Loss of articles name- Rs. 3,000/-ly. motor-cycle watchand golden watchchain. 3. Mental shock ner- Rs. 15,000/-vousness. 4. Physical pain Rs. 10,000/- 5. Loss of earning due Rs. 5,000/-to discontinuance of business. 6. Mental shock and har- Rs. 5,000/-assment to parent andrelatives and expenditure incurred bythem. 7. Permanent disability Rs. 20,000/-due to reduction instrength of body andmind.Total Rs. 60,500/-

4. After a trial, the Tribunal awarded a sum of Rs. 1200/- on account of loss of earning and Rs. 1,500/- on account of mental shock, nervousness, physical pain and suffering, in all a sum of Rs. 2,700/- to the injured claimant. The remaining claim for compensation was not found proved. An award was passed by the Tribunal on February 25, 1972 for the aforesaid sum of Rs. 2,700/-. against the owner of the truck, Mohanlal, the driver thereof Viiaysingh and the Insurer Vanguard Insurance Company Ltd.

5. The claimant Yashwantrai has urged in this appeal that the Tribunal has awarded a very small amount to him by way of compensation. According to him the amount claimed by the injured in the claim petition should have been awarded. The owner of the Truck Mohanlal and the driver Vijaysingh have filed cross-objections and according to them the claimant was at fault and the accident occurred on account of his rash and negligent driving and as such the claimant was not entitled to any amount whatever. Another appeal has been filed by the Insurer, M/s. Vanguard Insurance Company Ltd., disputing their liability for payment of compensation, which has been allowed to the claimant.

6. I shall firstly take up the cross-objections preferred by the owner of the truck Mohanlal and the driver Vijaysingh, as they have disputed their liability for payment of any amount by way of compensation to the claimant and have asserted that no amount was payable to him. According to the owner of the truck and the driver, the claimant Yashwantraj, was driving the motor-cycle rashly and negligently and while crossing the road he struck against the rear wheel of the truck, which was coming from towards Mandore side and was going towards Soiati Gate. According to the claimant, as I have already referred to above, he was going from east to west on the High Court Road on his motor-cycle when the truck, which was driven rashly and negligently by Vijaisingh, struck against the motor-cycle from behind, and as a result of the accident, the claimant and another 'person Ghewarchand, who was sitting behind the claimant Yaswantraj on the motor-cycle were thrown off to a considerable distance on account of the impact of the collision. He also stated that the truck over ran the motor cycle although the claimant and Ghewarchand lay unconscious at some distance on the main road.

7. Claimant Yashwantrai stated as P. W. 1 that he was driving the motorcycle hardly at a speed of 8-10 miles per hour while the truck in question was coming at a very high speed from behind and struck against the motor-cycle on its rear. The impact of the collision was so much that the two persons who were riding over the motor-cycle were thrown at a distance of 15' to 20' and fell unconscious. P. W. 4 Ghewarchand, who was the other person sitting on the motor-cycle along with the claimant, supported the version of the claimant and said that the truck No. RJQ 1688 struck against the carrier of the motorcycle with considerable force, while 'the motor-cycle was driven by Yashwantraj on the left side of the road. Ghewarchand stated that some people took him and Yeswantrai in an ambulance to the Hospital and although he was in his senses until he was removed to the ambulance, but thereafter he also became unconscious: while Yaswantraj had become unconscious soon after the accident had taken place. P. W. 3 Virandraoath Gurtu has also supported the version of of the claimant. On the other hand, B. W. 2 Vijaysingh, who was the driver of the truck, stated that he was coming from Mandore Road and was fining towards Soiati gate, about 10-15ft. from the gate of the High Court towards Soiati gate, an accident took place with the rear wheel of the truck. When he stopped the vehicle and came down from the truck, he came to know that a motorcycle had struck against the truck and one of the persons ridinfi over the motor-cycle was unconsicious, while the other person was in his senses. Some persons who were present at the place of occurrence stopped an ambulance passing on the road and the two injured persons were taken to the Hospital. The version of Vi.iaysingh is supported by D. W. 5 Ridmalsingh, who stated that he was going to the Court for his case. Two other witnesses. D. W. 3 Mangilal and D. W. 4 Om Prakash. who are said to be present near the gate of the Public Park, also supported the version of Viiaysingh.

8. It may be observed that the Tribunal did not accept the version given by Vijayasingh that Yaswantrai came from behind and struck against the rear wheel of his truck. The accident had taken place on May 29, 1968 and during summer months the courts observe morning time. The version of Ridmalsingh that he was going to the court to attend his case at about 10.30 A. M. cannot be accepted, During the month of May 10.30 A. M. could not be the normal time for a person to go to the court for attending a case, as during those days the Court time begins at 7 or 7.30 A. M. Mangilal D. W 3 and Om-prakash D.W. 4 are proverbial chance witnesses, who have not been able to give any cogent reason for their just standing on the road, outside the public park. Normally, no person is expected to stand on a road-side, just in the hope that an accident may occur. The evidence of such chance witnesses can easily be made up and it would not be proper to rely upon the statements of such witnesses. The Tribunal rejected their testimony observing that it did not inspire confidence. As against the evidence of these persons, there is no plausible reason to disbelieve the statements of Yaswantrai who was admittedly injured as a result of the accident and Ghewarchand whose presence at the time of the occurrance cannot be disputed, as he was also injured as a result of the accident. It is clear from the statements of these witnesses that the motor cycle had already taken a turn and was going ahead towards Sojatigate when the truck driven by Vijaisingh negligently and at an excessive speed struck against the motor-cycle from behind. The Tribunal is right in observing that the accident could have been avoided if Vijaisingh, who was driving the truck at that time, would have been vigilant and would have slowed down his vehicle, when he found that a motor-cycle driven by Yaswantrai had taken a turn and was going ahead of his truck on the same road. Thus, it is fully established from the evidence on record that the accident, which took place on May 29, 1968, between the motor-cycle and the truck No. R. J. Q. 1688, was caused on account of the rash and negligent driving of the truck driver Vijaisingh. In this view of the matter, both the driver of the truck Vijaisingh as well as the owner thereof. Mohanlal are liable for payment of compensation to the iniured claimant, Yaswantraj.

9. I shall deal with the question of liability of the Insurer now. Mr. S. L. Mardia appearing for the Insurer. in Civil First Appeal No. 7 of 1973 argued that the vehicle No. R. J. Q. 1688. which was involved in the accident was not insured with M/s. Vanguard Insurance Co. Ltd. and as such the insurer is not liable for payment of any amount by way of compensation. The argument is devoid of any force. D. W. 1 Nirmalchand Jain, who is the agent of the Insurer has been produced as a witness on behalf of the respondents in the claim, petition has stated that he was the agent of M/s. Vanguard Insurance Co. Ltd. and that he issued a certificate of insurance, which has been produced on the record as Ex. D-l. The insurance of the vehicle RJQ 1688. which was a Dodge truck owned by Mohanlal, was valid 'upto Aug, 6, 1968. It appears from the certificate of Insurance Ex. D. 1 that the Vehicle RJQ 1688 earlier belonged to some other person, but during the year 1967-68. the ownership thereof was transferred in the name of Mohanlal and the transfer of the vehicle was recognised by the Insurance Company by issuing a certificate of insurance (Ex-D. 1). It was. suggested during the cross-examination of D. W. 1 Nirmal Chand Jain that the certificate of insurance Ex. D. 1 was a forged document and was subsequently prepared, but the ; suggestion was denied by the witness. The attempt on the part of the insurer was to get away from its liability merely by creating a suspicion, but the same cannot take the place of proof. The document Ex. Dl clearly shows that Mohanlal was the insured in respect of vehicle R. J. Q. 1688 and the insurance was effective from January 12, 1968 to August 6, 1968 and the said certificate of insurance was issued on account of the transfer of the vehicle, in replacement of the original insurance policy. Thus, it is clear from the record that the truck in question was insured with Vanguard Insurance Company Ltd. under the third party cover and, therefore, the insurance company could not be absolved from its liability for payment of compensation to the claimant, who was injured as a result of the accident caused by the aforesaid truck.

10. Now. coming to the question of quantum of compensation which the claimant Yaswantrai is entitled to receive, it is in evidence that Yaswantraj became unconscious immediately after the accident took place and he remained as an indoor patient at the M. G, Hospital at Jodhpur from May 29, 1968 to June 10, 1968. It is also in evidence that there was a doubtful fracture of the skur in the left fronto-parietal region. It is evident from the record that he remained unconscious for about 12 days during which he remained as an indoor patient in the hospital. Yaswantrai suffered a head injury as a result of the accident and although he was fortunate that no damage appears to have been caused to the brain and as such there was no permanent disability, yet at the time when he was examined by the Medical Jurist on May 29, 1968, a few hours after the accident his condition appears to be very serious in asmuch as the Medical Jurist advised that a dying declaration should be recorded. He was semi-conscious at the time and was having mental irritation. From the statements of P W. 1 Yaswantrai and P. W. 2 Sampatrai, it appears that even after regaining consciousness, Yaswantrai suffered considerable pain in his head and he used to cry. Even after the claim petition was filed and he was asked to appear before the Tribunal so that his preliminary statement could be recorded, his counsel stated before the Tribunal on August 20, 1968 that he was not in a fit condition to give a statement and the Tribunal accepted this submission of the counsel and adjourned the case for over one month to September 27, 1968. Thus, on the aforesaid facts and circumstances appearing in the case, it must be held that Yaswantraj suffered from physical disability and he was deprived of the enjoyment of life for a period of almost four months. Naturally he was unable to attend to his business during the aforesaid period of four months. The Tribunal also appears to have come to a similar conclusion as it awarded the claimant a sum of Rs. 1.200 for loss of income on account of his inability to attend to his business for a period of four months @ Rs. 300/- per month. In my view the tribunal was justified in arriving at the aforesaid finding in view of the circumstances which have been narrated above.

11. On the question of medical treatment, including costs of medicines and payment to doctors and expenses incurred on better food, vitamins etc., a sum of Rs. 2,500/- was claimed, but the Tribunal did not award any amount on the ground that no bills or vouchers have been produced and that the doctors who are alleged to have treated Yaswantrai have not been produced in evidence. The Tribunal observed that even the prescriptions written by the doctors have not been produced. However. Ex. 2 is a prescription slip of the hospital which appears to have been written at the time of discharge of the claimant from the hospital on June 10, 1968. Some medicines were prescribed by the doctor and then the patient was asked to appear again before the doctors for a checkup after 7 days. It appears from a perusal Of Ex, 2 that Yaswantrai again appeared before the doctor on June 17, 1968 and some other medicines were prescribed by him as specified on the back of Ex. 2. It appears that on June. 27, 1968 Yaswantrai still complained of headache and giddiness and some medicines were again prescribed for him. Thus, there can be no doubt that medicines were given to Yaswantrai for a period of 3 months after he was discharged from the Hospital, as stated by him as P. W. 1-P. W. 2 Sampatraj father of the claimant stated that medicines were purchased from shops namely, Bhandari Brothers and Kumbhat Brothers. Although it, is true that the claimant did not produce the bills relating to the purchase of medicines, nor a separate account was maintained by him or his father in respect of the expenses incurred on the purchase of medicines, tonics, vitamins etc. But it undoubtedly appears from the aforesaid facts that Yaswantrai was severely injured, as he suffered a head injury involving a doubtful fracture of the bones of the skull, which caused him considerable pain in the head and giddiness for a considerable period of time during which medicines were given to him. It may be observed that although his father and other persons attending upon the claimant did not keep a proper account regarding the purchase of medicines, tonics and vitamins given to him and the bills regarding purchase of medicines etc. were not kept or produced before the Tribunal, yet in the face of the above circumstances it cannot be held that no amount was spent on the purchase of medicines, tonics. vitamins etc. Of course, the claimant has not been able to prove that he had consulted any private doctors other than the doctors employed in the Government Hospital and as such no amount can be allowed to him on account of payment of fees to the doctors. However, a reasonable amount should be allowed to the claimant in respect of purchase of medicines and tonics etc. A sum of Rs. 2,500/- has been claimed on this account, but looking to the fact that the claimant has failed to prove that any private doctors had treated him and in view of the fact that neither prescriptions except Ex. 2 nor bills or vouchers regarding purchase of medicines etc. were produced by the claimant. I think it would be just and proper to allow a sum of Rs. 1,000/- to him on account of the cost of medicines, tonics, vitamins etc.

12. So far as the question of causing any permanent disability is concerned, the Tribunal has found that the existence of a permanent defect in the body or mind of Yaswantrai has not been proved. No medical evidence has been produced on the record by the claimant Yashwantrai to show that any injury was caused to his brain or that his brain or memory was adversely affected as a result of the accident. As Yashwantraj has not suffered any permanent disability. no amount could be awarded to him on this ground and the Tribunal has rightly disallowed the claim in this respect.

13. The claimant has also claimed a sum of Rs. 1,500/- on account at mental shock and nervousness and another sum of Rs. 10,000/- on account of physical pain and suffering. The Tribunal appears to have mixed up the claim in respect of the two items and has allowed Rs. 1,500/- only on account of mental shock, nervousness, physical pain and sufferings caused to the claimant on account of the accident. Learned counsel for the appellant contends that the amount awarded is extremely meagre and the Tribunal misread the evidence of the appellant in this respect. Dr. S. B. Mathur. who has been examined as a witness on behalf of the claimant, stated that Yaswantrai was semi-conscious and that six injuries when he was examined by him on May 29, 1968, a few hours after accident had taken place. He also stated that the injury on the left side of the forehead, lust above the eye brow was grievous because it caused fracture of the bones of the skull. However, he stated in his cross-examination that the injury was curable and he could not say as to whether the brain of Yaswant-rai has been adversely affected or any permanent damage was caused to the brain. In his opinion, a permanent defect could be caused to the brain only if an injury was caused to the brain. He also stated that he had advised that an x-ray may be taken, as the patient was then in a semi-conscious condition and was suffering from mental irritation. He had also advised that a dying declaration may be recorded. Thus, from the statement of Dr. S. B. Mathur, it appears that when the claimant was admitted in the hospital as a result of the accident, he was in a serious condition and that is why the doctor advised that a dying declaration may be recorded, but as the claimant was unconscious at that time and continued to remain as such for several days thereafter and so no statement appears to have been recorded. The claimant was treated for head injury for several days and he complained of headache and giddiness even a month after the accident had taken place, as is apparent from the prescription Ex. 2. The claimant himself stated that he re-mained as an indoor patient in the hospital for about two weeks and even thereafter he was unable to attend to his business and had to take regular treatment for a period of three months. He also stated that his memory has become weak on account of the head injury suffered by him as a result of the accident. The claimant also stated that after he regained consciousness, he used to cry, which apparently appears to be on account of pain in the head; Thus there is ample reason to hold that Yaswantrai underwent considerable physical pain and suffering and had to take medical treatment for a period of about 4 months. Although, no permanent disability appears to have been caused to him on account of the accident, yet there is no doubt that Yaswanraj remained unconscious or semiconscious for about two weeks and nervousness and loss of memory might have been caused for some time on account of the head injury as claimed by Yaswantrai. The Tribunal misread the statement of Yaswantrai in holding that he regained consciousness in a day or two. I have read the statement of Yaswantrai and what he stated was that he remained unconscious for 16 days. It was only about his companion Ghewarchand that Yaswantrai stated that he regained consciousness in a day or two but that was not what the claimant stated about himself. The evidence of other witnesses also discloses that Yaswantrai did not regain consciousness in a day or two but he remained unconscious for a period of about two weeks and even thereafter he used to cry on account of excessive pain in the head and was undergoing medical treatment for the same for a period of about 4 months. In such circumstances, the award of Rs. 1,500/- as compensation in this respect is wholly inadequate. It may be pointed out that mental shock and loss of enjoyment of life during the period of four months is one of the items in respect of which Yaswantrai was entitled to get compensation. He was also entitled to get compensation for the considerable physical pain and suffering undergone by him. In my view, these are two separate heads for grant of compensation: because a person may not have undergone considerable physical pain, yet the entire occurrence may cause a mental shock which may debar him from enjoyments of life. It may take considerable time for the patient to recover from the after effects of such a mental shock. The patient may feel scared and he may not be able to enjoy life on account of the feeling developed as a resuit of the mental shock caused to him on account of the impact of the accident. In the present case Yaswantrai appears to have suffered not only mental shock but he also suffered immense bodily pain in the head and that is why he complained of headache and faddiness. It would be proper to award a sum of Rs. 8,000/-in respect of both these items, namely mental shock and loss of enjoyment of life as well as physical pain and suffering considering the long period which Yaswantrai took in recovering and also taking into consideration the fact that he remained unconscious for about two weeks and was deprived of the enjoyment of life for a period of about four months, besides suffering immense physical pain during that period.

14. The injured also claimed a sum of Rs. 3,000/- on account of damages to the motor-cycle. Learned counsel for the respondents argued that in the first place the amount of loss suffered on account of damages to the motor-cycle has not been proved. In the second place it was argued that in accordance with the law then in force at the relevant time compensation for damage to property could not be claimed in a claim petition filed before the Tribunal. Thirdly, it was argued that it has not been proved that the motor-cycle on which Yaswantrai was riding at the time of the accident belonged to him, so as to entitle him to claim damages in respect thereof. It was stated by P. W. 1 Yaswantrai that the motor-cycle was badly smashed but he was unable to say as to which parts of the motor-cycle were broken. P. W. 5 Shankeraj, also stated that the motor-cycle was completely smashed. P. W. 7 Shudhrai Lodha also stated that the motor-cycle was lying at the spot in a totally broken condition. Thus, there appears to be no doubt that the motorcycle was completely smashed as a result of the accident and became unserviceable and the first contention fails.

15. So far as the second submission of the learned counsel for the respondents is concerned, the argument is based on the ground that Section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act at the relevant time did not include the matter relating to damage to property of a third person arising as a result of the accident within the ambit of the Jurisdiction of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, It was pointed out by the learned counsel that Section lie of the Motor Vehicles Act was amended by Act No. 56 of 1969. which came into force with effect from 2nd March, 1970 by addition of the words 'or damages to any property of a third party so arising, or both.' It was urged that the accident in the present case had taken place on May 29, 1961 and the claim petition was filed on July 26, 1968 and as the amendment in Section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act was introduced subsequently, the claim in respect of damages to property could not be included in the claim petition filed before the Tribunal. Reliance was placed on the decision of the Madras High Court in R. Selvarai v. Jaganathan, 1969 Ace CJ 1. in which it was held that the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal could only try claims for compensation in respect of accidents involving the death of or bodily injury to persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles and only in respect of such claims the jurisdiction of the civil courts was excluded in terms of Section 110-F of the Act. It was held by a learned Judge of the Madras High Court in that case that the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil courts could not be extended in respect of claims for damage to property as a result of the accident, because the Tribunal was a creature of the statute and its jurisdiction was strictly limited by the terms of such statute. The teamed Judge of the Madras High Court in the aforesaid case did not affree with the view taken by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Dr. Om Prakash Mishra v. National Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 1962 Madh Pra 19. in respect of the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to award compensation for damages to property. In Dr. Om Prakash Mishra's case a Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court after considering the entire scheme of the provisions of Section 110 and Sections 110-A to 110-F of the Act. formulated the following four propositions;--

'(1) If no death or personal injury results in an accident arising out of the use of Motor Vehicles, the claim for compensation for loss suffered in property alone is not tenable before a Claims Tribunal. Such a claim is to be made in a Civil Court.

(2) If death or personal injury results in an accident arising out of the use of motor vehicles, then on the basis of express wordings used in these ' Sections, the claim for compensation for such loss suffered has to be made before the Claims Tribunal arid cannot be tried in a Civil Court.

(3) Loss or damage of Property may be suffered by a person who has not been given a right to make an, application under the provisions of Section 110A of the Act to the Claims Tribunal. In such a case, obviously no application lies to the Claims Tribunal and the only remedy will be in a Civil Court.

(4) Lastly, there may be cases of composite injuries, in which in the accident arising out of the use of motor vehicles death or personal injury may have resulted and at the same time, there may be loss or damage suffered in the property by the person who has suffered personal injury or where death has resulted from the accident, loss may be sustained by the deceased or by his legal representative. If the claim for compensation is of such a composite nature for the injuries suffered bodily or on account of death together with the claim for compensation for loss or damage suffered in property, in our view, it is triable by the Claims Tribunal.'

16. It was observed by the learned Judges of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the aforesaid case that the claim for compensation would be required to be broken into two parts, if compensation in respect of death or bodily injury has to be claimed before the Tribunal because it has exclusive jurisdiction to try such matters, while the other parts of the claim with regard to damage to property will have to be tried by the Civil Court, if the view is taken that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to award compensation for damages caused to property as a result of the motor accident. It was held that multiplicity of proceedings and a conflict of adjudication in respect of the same questions which are likely to come up for consideration should be avoided. In case compensation for death or bodily injury is to be awarded by the Tribunal and comrjensa-tion for damages to property is to be awarded by the civil court, almost on the same material and in respect of the same occurrence, there is a danger of conflicting findings and decisions. 'Their lordships 'held that if a' different interpretation was taken' of the provisions of Section 110 (1) of the Act, then it would not only lead to absurd result but would also cause multiplicity of proceedings. The view taken by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the aforesaid case (2) in respect of a composite claim was followed by the Gujarat High Court in Joshi Ratansi Gopaji v. Guiarat State Road Transport Corporation, 1968 Ace CJ 338 and Farsubhai Altaobhai Saiyed v. Dullabhai Bhagabhai Patel, 1973 Ace CJ 149: (AIR 1972 Guj 244). In the last-mentioned case, it was held that Section 110 (1) should not be read in isolation but should be read with the provisions of Section 110-A.

17. The view taken by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Dr. Om Prakash Mishra's case (AIR 1962 Madh Pra 19) was also followed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Smt. Jaswant Kaur v. Ratti Ram, 1971 Ace CJ 31 : (1970) 72 Pun LR 932. The learned Judge of the Punjab & Harvana Hish Court, expressing his disagreement with the view taken by Veeraswami. J. in R. Selvaraj's case (1969 Ace CJ 1), observed as under:--

'The interpretation that I am placing on the terms of the statute does not in any way derogate from the principle that a Civil Court will have jurisdiction to try all civil causes unless this jurisdiction is expressly or impliedly barred by a competent legislation. Section 110, as already stated, has a specific purpose of providing a speedier remedy for settlement of claims for compensation arising out of a motor accident and any interpretation to the contrary requiring severance of claims leaving a part of the same to be set-tled by Civil Court and that for personal injuries only by the Tribunal will, to my mind, be a complete irregation of the very object of enacting this provision. With utmost respect. I am unable to persuade myself to agree with Veeraswami. J. who has in R. Selveraj v. Jagannathan (1969 Ace CJ 1) observed that there is no indication in Section 110 that any claim other than that for personal injury could fall within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.'

18. The Mysore High Court has alsotaken the same view which was taken inDr. Om prakash Mishra's case in Kri-shnappa v. Madras Motor & General Insurance Co., 1971 Ace CJ 240 (6) and(Observed as under:--

'The language used clearly indicates that compensation on all heads payable on account of an accident involving death or bodily injury can be enquired into by the Tribunal and awarded, What is necessary to give jurisdiction to the Tribunal is that the accident should be one involving for death or bodily injury to persons. This view of ours 'finds support in the decision in Om Prakash v. National Fire & General Insurance Co. Ltd.'

19. A bench of the Assam High Court has also taken the same view as was taken in Dr. Om Prakash Mishra's case (AIR 1962 Madh Pra 19) in State of Assam v. Urmila Datta, 1974 Ace CJ 414. Thus, it appears that the High Courts of Madhya Pradesh. Gujarat. Punjab & Haryaha, Mysore and Assam have taken the view that in case of a composite claim relating to compensation involving death or bodily injury and not damage to property the entire claim should be tried and disposed of by the Tribunal and should not be bifurcated so that the claim in respect of death or bodily injury may be tried by the Tribunal while the claim in respect of loss or damage to property involved in the same accident may be left to be tried by a Civil Court. If the interpretation based on the language of Section 110 (1) of the Act by the learned Judge of the Madras High Court is accepted then all cases of composite claims, involving both injury to person or death and damage to property would be required to have two separate trials on the question of negligence which may lead to two conflicting decisions. In fact, when as a result of the same accident Injury to person or death is caused and also damage to property is simultaneously caused then, in my view, the two matters are so inextricably mixed one relating to loss or damage to property and the other in respect of personal injury or death, that it would be difficult to envisage a separate trial in respect of those matters when the two claims are so bound together. It is the Tribunal alone which has the jurisdiction to try both the claims together. Of course if the claim is only in respect of damage to property as a result of the motor accident, the matter could not be tried by the Tribunal, inasmuch as under. Section 110-A the person suffering loss or damage to property alone will not be entitled to maintain a claim petition before the Tribunal but when theaccident has caused not only loss ordamage to property but has also resultedin death or bodily injury to a person, itcould not possibly be intended that theclaim should be bifurcated and a part ofthe claim relating to death or bodily injury should be tried and settled separately by the Tribunal, while the claim inrespect of loss or damage to propertyresulting from the very same accidentshould be tried separately in a CivilCourt, although almost both mattershave to be decided on the basis of samefacts and evidence.

20. As there was conflict of decisions in this respect, the legislature in its wisdom thought it fit to resolve the controversy and the provisions of Section 110 of the Act were amended so as to specie fically make a mention about loss or damage to property. From the amendment, which has been introduced in Section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act, it would not be proper to presume that the law was otherwise before the amendment was made, but the proper construction to place would be that the position of law was always, even before the amendment was introduced in Section 110 of the Act, was to include the claim in respect of loss or damage to property within the ambit of the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. However, as some discordant notes were struck in a few decisions, the legislature thought it proper to explain the position so as to make a specific mention of claim in respect of loss or damage to property in Section 110 and in this manner the decisions of the majority of the High Courts appear to be fully justified. It may be pointed out that from the language of Section 110 of the Act, as it stood prior to the amendment introduced therein by the' Amending Act of 1969, there appeared no bar to the entertainment of a composite claim by the Tribunal in respect of loss caused on account of death or bodily injury together with loss or damage to property. The Tribunal was entitled to entertain claims for compensation in respect of accidents 'involving the death of, or bodily injury to' persons, arising put of the use of motor vehicles. A bare reading of the provisions of Section 110 (1) of the Act as it then stood, shows that it was an enabling provision in respect of accidents which involved death or bodily injury, but the jurisdiction of the claims tribunal was not restricted to enterain claims merely for compensation relating to death or bodily injury. The legislature did not use the expression in respect of which would have restricted the jurisdiction of the claims tribunal, but the expression 'involving' was used which made it clear that death or bodily injury may be involved in the accident with damage to property or without any such claim. Thus, I find myself in agreement with the majority of the High Courts and agree to the view taken in Dr. Dm Prakash Mishra's case (AIR 1962 Madh Pra 19) by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which view has also been shared by the Guiarat, Mysore, Assam and a learned Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in 'Jaswant Kaur's case (1971 Ace CJ 31) and by a learned Judge of this Court in Dr. Achalmal Singhvi v. Chand Khan & Sons, 1977 Raj LW 84: (AIR 1977 Rai 213). Thus, although the present case relates to a period prior to the amendment of Section 130 (1) of the Act, yet in my view, the claimant was entitled to an award for damages to the motor-cycle as well, as this was composite claim petition fr which compensation was claimed in respect of bodily injury as well as for damage to property, namely, the motorcycle.

21. Now, coming to the third Question raised by the learned counsel for the respondents, the claimant himself has admitted as P. W. 1 that the motor-cycle which was involved in the accident and which was completely smashed was registered in the name of the firm of which the claimant was partner. Thus, it was admitted by Yaswantrai himself that the motor-cycle was not his personal property, but it was the property of the firm. Moreover, he was not able to state the price for which the motor-cycle was purchased by him second hand in the year 1965-66. The motor-cycle did not belong to the claimant Yashwantrai and on the basis of his own admission it was the property of the firm, of which he was a partner. Moreover, the amount for which the vehicle was purchased has not been disclosed either by the claimant Yaswantrai or any other witness produced by him. Even if it be held that Yaswantrai as a partner could have advanced a claim in respect of the damageto the motor-cycle which was completely smashed, yet in the face of the fact that the value of the motorcycle has not been proved by any evidence on behalf of the claimant, no compensation for loss or damage caused to the motor-cycle could be awarded in the present case.

22. Lastly, it was argued by the learned counsel for the appellant Yaswantrai that the Tribunal should have awarded interest to the claimant on the amount of compensation awarded to him. It was pointed out by the learned counsel for the respondents that Section 110CC. entitles the Tribunal to award interest in addition to the amount of compensation at such rate and from such date as the Tribunal may specify, was inserted by the amending Act No. 56 of 1969 with effect from 2nd Mar. -1969, It was urged by the learned counsel for the respondents that interest could not for awarded by the Tribunal in the present case on account of the fact that at the time when the claim petition was filed there was no provision in the Act for awarding interest by the Tribunal. It may be observed that the Tribunal, which had the power to award compensation under Section 110, also had the incidental power to award interest on the amount of compensation. Section 110-B of the Act authorises the Tribunal to determine the amount of compensation 'which appears to be just', after 'making an enquiry in respect of the claim arising out of a motor accident. While determining the amount of compensation to be awarded to the claimant under Section 110-B of the Act, the Tribunal could have also awarded interest at a reasonable rate, because the criteria which was laid down by the legislature for determination of compensation is that the same must be just. If the proceedings relating to award of compensation either before the Tribunal or in appeal takes a long time, it would be unjust to deprive the claimant interest on the amount which should be paid to him by way of compensation for the loss or damage resulting from death or bodily injury and from damage to property.

23. In Chandris v. Isbrandtsen Moller Co. Inc., (1951) 1 KB 240 it was held by the court in England that an arbitrator who exercised a power to give an award in respect of all matters in dispute between the parties also has the implied power to award interest. The same view was taken by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Bungo Steel Furniture Pvt Ltd. AIR 1967 SC 1032 and Firm Madan Lal Roshanlal Mahajan v. Huhumchand Mills Ltd., Indore AIR 1967 SC 1030 that although the proceedure prescribed in Section 34, CPC is not applicable to the arbitration proceedings but the arbitrator could award pendente lite and future interest from the date of the award.

24. In Vinod Kumar Shrivastava v. Ved Mitra Vohra, AIR 1970 Madh Pra 172 it was held that the amount of compensation was normally to be determined with reference to the date of the application, but if it appeared to the tribunal while making the award that the justice of the case so requires, the tribunal has implied powers to award interest an the amount of compensation from the date of the application up to the date of the award as well as up to the date of payment. Their Lordships of Madh'ya Pradesh High Court observed in the aforesaid case as under (at pp. 178-79) :--

'The obiect of Sections 110 to 110F of the Motor Vehicles Act is the substitution of Tribunals in place of Courts: the object is not to deprive the claimant of a substantive relief which he would have obtained had the matter been litigated in courts. If in the circumstances of a case a Court would have allowed interest to a claimant from the date of suit or from the date of decree, the Tribunal must necessarily possess the Power otherwise the claimant would be deprived of a relief which he would have obtained before the constitution of the Tribunal. On similar reasoning it has been held that the power exercisable by a court under the Law Reforms (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1934 to award interest on debt or damages can be exercised by an arbitrator appointed by the parties. See Chandris v. (Isbrandtsen Moller Co.. (1950) 2 All ER 618 (CAV We are therefore, of the view that although Section 34 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not in terms apply to a Claims Tribunal constituted under the Motor Vehicles Act, the principles of the Section apply and the Tribunal in a proper case has power to allow interest from the date of the application to the date of the award and/or from the date of the award to the date of payment.'

25. The same view was taken by the Orissa High Court in Oriental Fire & General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mrs. Kamal Kamini Das, AIR 1973 Orissa 33 and it was held that although there was no separate provision for grant of interest on delayed payment in respect of compensation, yet the claimant is entitled to interest on the amount of compensation for the loss caused to him when he is deprived of the amount of compensation for some time, as he is entitled to the same forthwith on the date of the award. The High Court of Assam also took the same view in Swarnalata Dutta Barua v. National Transport India Pvt. Ltd. AIR 1974 Gauhati 31 and it was held that on principles of natural justice, even in cases arising before the introduction of Section 110-CC. a claimant was entitled to award of interest on the amount of compensation in the same manner in which interest was awarded under the Arbitration Act and other statutes.

26. In my view, the power to award interest on the amount of compensation is an implied power of the Tribunal, while deciding the amount which appears to it to be just under Section 110-B of the Act. The power to award interest is incidental to the power to make an award in respect of compensation, because the claimant would have been entitled to the amount of compensation on the date of the application, although the amount is quantified on the date of the award. If a person is deprived of the amount of compensation for some time even after the award is delivered, then it would be just to compensate him for the loss caused to him on account of the delay in payment of the amount awarded to him by allowing interest on the amount of compensation. In case the amount would have been paid to the claimant on the date of the award, when it necessarily become due and if the claimant would have deposited the amount received by him as compensation in a bank on that day he would have obtained interest on such deposit. It would be. therefore, just and proper to allow interest if the amount awarded by the Tribunal is not paid as soon as the award was given and the claimant was deprived of the benefit of the amount until the payment is enforced. I, therefore, hold that the claimant is entitled to interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of the award of the tribunal i.e. 25-2-1972. The interest is not being awarded for the earlier period from the date of the application in the present case, because no claim for award of interest was made in the claim Petition. But in spite of the absence of a claim for interest, future interest must be awarded as the claimant was deprived of the use of the amount which he could have received on the basis of the award at least on the date when the award was passed;

27. As a result of the aforesaid discussion. I hold that the appellant Yaswantrai is entitled to obtain a sum of Rs. 10,200/- by way of compensation on account of personal iniury suffered by him as a result of the aforesaid accident, together with interest @ Rs. 6% per annum.

28. If any amount has already been paid to the claimant appellant Yaswantrai in pursuance of the award passed by the tribunal, the same shal] be adjusted towards the aforesaid amount of Rs. 10,200/-now awarded to him.29. In the result, the appeal filed by Yaswantrai is partly allowed and the amount of compensation awarded to him by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal. Jodhpur by its award dated February 25, 1972 is modified and is enhanced to Rs. 10,200/-. The appeal filed by the Insurer, M/s. Vanguard Insurance Co. Ltd. is dismissed.

30. The appellant shall be entitled to costs of both the appeals from the respondents.


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