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Dr. Achalmal Singhvi Vs. Chano Khan and Sons and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Appeal No. 52 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Raj213; 1977()WLN57
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110(1); Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1969
AppellantDr. Achalmal Singhvi
RespondentChano Khan and Sons and anr.
Appellant Advocate J.R. Tatia, Adv.
Respondent Advocate B.L. Maheshwari, Adv. for Respondent No. 3
DispositionAppeal allowed
Cases ReferredSethi v. Musafir Transport Co. Ltd.
Excerpt:
.....under section 110(1), as it stood before the amendment, was comprehensive enough to include a claim for loss of or damage to the property also.;appeal allowed - - a composite claim was filed before the claims tribunal in which claim for damages to the car as well as for bodily injury to the applicant was made......by him that he also received a great mental shock. a composite claim was filed before the claims tribunal in which claim for damages to the car as well as for bodily injury to the applicant was made. the learned claims tribunal awarded rs. 500 as damages for the injuries received on the person of the applicant, but dismissed the claim with regard to the damages to the car holding that the claims tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain a claim with regard to the damages caused to the car. the applicant, dr. singhvi, feeling aggrieved has filed the present appeal.3. the learned counsel for the appellant has contended that the learned claims tribunal seriously erred in law in holding that the claims tribunal had no jurisdiction to award compensation in respect of the damage to.....
Judgment:

P.D. Kudal, J.

1. This is a Civil Misc. First Appeal under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act against the award of the learned Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Jodhpur dated October 28, 1971.

2. The facts of the case, in brief, are that on January 15, 1969, Dr. Achal Mal Singhvi was driving his own car bearing No. RJQ 7513 on the Chowpasni Road, Jodhpur. He was coming from 4-A Road. He took a turn towards Sanishcharji-ka-than on the main Chowpasni Road. He had hardly driven the car a few feet after taking the turn when a truck No. RJS 359 dashed against the applicant's car. It was stated that the driver of the truck was driving it at a high speed and in a rash and negligent manner. The mud-guard and the hood of the car on the left side were damaged. The applicant, Dr. Singhvi, also received simple injuries on his body, and it was contended by him that he also received a great mental shock. A composite claim was filed before the Claims Tribunal in which claim for damages to the car as well as for bodily injury to the applicant was made. The learned Claims Tribunal awarded Rs. 500 as damages for the injuries received on the person of the applicant, but dismissed the claim with regard to the damages to the car holding that the Claims Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain a claim with regard to the damages caused to the car. The applicant, Dr. Singhvi, feeling aggrieved has filed the present appeal.

3. The learned counsel for the appellant has contended that the learned Claims Tribunal seriously erred in law in holding that the Claims Tribunal had no jurisdiction to award compensation in respect of the damage to the car where a composite claim has been made before the Claims Tribunal with regard to the damage to the car and also with regard to the injuries received on the person of the applicant. The learned counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on Dr. Om Prakash Mishra v. National Fire and General insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 1962 Madh Pra 19. Reliance was also placed on Joshi Ratansi Gopaji v. Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, 1968 ACJ 338 (Guj), Farsubhai Altaphbhai v. Dul-labhbhai Bhagabhai, 1973 ACJ 149 : (AIR 1972 Guj 244) and State of Assam v. Urmila Datta, 1973 ACJ 414 (Assam). Onthe strength of these rulings, the learned counsel for the appellant contended that the view taken by the Claims Tribunal would lead to multiplicity of proceedings, and that in such a contingency if a claim pertaining to the injury on the person of the applicant was to be adjudicated upon by the Claims Tribunal and the claim regarding the damages to the car was to be adjudicated upon by a Civil Court the possibility of conflict of decisions could not be ruled out. It was also contended that the intention of the Legislature is to avoid multiplicity of proceedings as far as possible.

4. The learned counsel for the respondent No. 2 has seriously contested that the Claims Tribunal has jurisdiction to adjudicate upon a claim regarding the damage to the car. His contention is that the Claims Tribunal has rightly held that it had no jurisdiction to entertain a claim pertaining to damage to car. Reliance was placed on R. Selvaraj v. Jagan-nathan, 1969 ACJ 1 (Mad). B. S. Nat v. Bachan Singh, 1971 ACJ 37 : (AIR 1971 Punj 144) and Ved Prakash Sethi v. M/s. Musafir Transport Co. Ltd., Mansa, 1974 ACJ 367 (Punj). It was also contended by the learned counsel for the respondent No. 2 that the accident took place on January 15, 1969 and the claim was also adjuidcated upon by the Claims Tribunal on October 28, 1971, and as such the amendment in Section 110 (1) could not be availed of.

5. The respective contentions of the learned counsel for the parties have been considered and the record of the case carefully perused. Section 110 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act as it stood before the amendment by Act No. 56 of 1969 read as under:--

''A State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, constitute one or more Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals (hereinafter referred to as Claims Tribunals) for such area as may be specified in the notifications for the purpose of adjudicating upon claims for compensation in respect of accidents involving the death of, or bodily injury to, persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles.'

6. Section 110 (1) after the Amendment by Act No. 56 of 1969, which came into effect from 2nd of March, 1970 reads ,as under:--

'110. Claims Tribunals -- (1) A State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, constitute one or moreMotor Accidents Claims Tribunals (hereinafter referred to as Claims Tribunals) for such area as may be specified in the notification for the purpose of adjudicating upon claims for compensation in respect of accidents involving the death of, or bodily injury to, persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles, or damages to any property of a third party so arising or both: Provided that where such claim includes a claim for compensation in respect of damage to property exceeding rupees two thousand, the claimant may, at his option, refer the claim to a civil court for adjudication, and where a reference is so made, the Claims Tribunal shall have no jurisdiction to entertain any question relating to such claim.'

7. Section 110-A provides that an application for compensation arising out of an accident may be made: (a) by the person who has sustained the injury; or (b) where death has resulted from the accident; by the legal representatives of the deceased; or (c) by any agent duly authorised by the person injured or the legal representatives of the deceased, as the case may be.

8. Section 110-F lays down that where any Claims Tribunal has been constituted for any area, no Civil Court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any question relating to any claim for compensation which may be adjudicated upon by the Claims Tribunal for that area, and no injunction in respect of any action taken or to be taken by or before the Claims Tribunal in respect of the claim for compensation shall be granted by the Civil Courts,

9. In Dr. Om Prakash Mishra v. National Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. (AIR 19-62 Madh Pra 19), it was held that in 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 representatives. If the claim for compensation 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. It was further held that the only reasonable view having re-gard to the provisions of Section 100-F of the Act and the general policy of law is to avoid multiplicity of proceedings and a conflict of adjudication on the same point. It is clear that if it be held that the claim with regard to compensation for damage to the car is competent only before a Civil Court and the claim for compensation for bodily injury suffered is to be tried before the Claims Tribunal, the danger of conflicting findings would automatically be created. It would further be seen that the claim for compensation is not required to be broken into two parts by any requirement of Section 110 of the Act. The section nowhere provides that part of the compensation, that is to say, in respect of death or bodily injury, is to be claimed before the Claims Tribunal and the other part with regard to damage to property has to be claimed before a Civil Court.

10. In Joshi Ratansi Gopaji v. Guja-rat State Road Transport Corporation, 1968 ACJ 338 (Guj), the view taken in the ruling in Dr. Om Prakash Mishra v. National Fire and General Insurance Co. Ltd. (AIR 1962 Madh Pra 19) by the Ma-dhya Pradesh High Court was followed. In Farsubhai Altapbhai v. Dullabhbhai (AIR 1972 Guj 244) it was held that the Tribunal has jurisdiction to adjudicate upon claims in respect of loss or damage to property, if there is a composite claim for loss or damage to property and for personal injuries or death, arising out of the same motor accident.

11. In State of Assam v. Urmila Datta (1973 ACJ 414) (Assam), it was held that the reading of Sections 110 (1) and 110-A makes it quite clear that once it is shown that death or bodily injury has resulted to a person out of the use of a motor vehicle, a Claims Tribunal would have the jurisdiction to adjudicate up-on all claims set out on behalf of the deceased or injured person, for compensation in respect of such accident, whether it be for injury to the person or damage to the property of such claimant. It was further held that there is no warrant, in our respectful opinion, for taking the view that compensation may be awarded only in respect of personal injuries and not damages to properties of the injured.

12. In R. Selvaraj v. Jagannathan, (1969 ACJ 1 ) (Mad), it was held that a Claims Tribunal was a tribunal of special jurisdiction constituted to adjudicate claims in respect of personal inju-ries and death only, and not in respect of loss of or damage to property. It was further held that the claim in respect of property is maintainable only before the Civil Court.

13. In B. S. Nat v. Bachan Singh, (AIR 1971 Punj 144), it was held that a Claims Tribunal has jurisdiction to award compensation for loss of or damage to property. In this case a suit before a Civil Court was filed claiming compensation for the damage suffered by the car in an accident. The Civil Court returned the plaint for presentation before the Claims Tribunal. Their Lordships in this set of circumstances were pleased to hold that a Claims Tribunal has no jurisdiction to award compensation for loss of or damage to property. It thus follows that it was not a composite claim for compensation for death or bodily injury and damage to the car, but a civil suit exclusively for damages, to the property was filed. In this case, an application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act was filed for the recovery of Rs. 65,250 alleging that the occurrence took place due to rash and negligent driving of the bus by the driver, and that the applicant suffered injuries and spent a lot of money on his treatment and incurred damages in the management of the property. Following B. S. Nat v. Bachan Singh (AIR 1971 Punj 144), it was held in Ved Pra-kash Sethi v. Musafir Transport Co. Ltd., Mansa, 1974 ACJ 367 (Punj) that the Claims Tribunal had no jurisdiction to award compensation for loss of or damage to the property.

14. By the Amending Act No. 56 of 1969, the Claims Tribunals have been given jurisdiction specifically to try claims for damage to the car which has been involved in an accident. The learned counsel for the appellant has contended that this Amending Act which came into force from the 2nd of March, 1970, lends support to his contention that the word compensation in Sub-section (1) of Section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act before the amendment was comprehensive enough to include compensation for the damage to the property also. The learned counsel for the respondent, however, contended that if such an interpretation could logically follow then there was no necessity of bringing in the Amending Act No. 56 of 1969. His contention is that as per Section 110 as it stood before the amendment, a claim for compensation for lossof or damage to the property could only be sustained by a civil court.

15. Having given my most anxious consideration to the respective contentions of the learned counsel for the parties, I have no hesitation in holding that if the unamended Section 110 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act is to be interpreted to mean that the claim for the loss of or damage to the property would be triable only by a Civil Court, then it is likely to result in multiplicity of proceedings and conflict of decisions. The basic canon of jurisprudence is to avoid multiplicity of proceedings. In my considered opinion, the word 'compensation' under Section 110 (1), as it stood before the amendment, was comprehensive enough to include a claim for loss of or damage to the property also. Under such circumstances, if an application for composite claim is filed before a Claims Tribunal, the Claims Tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain it and adjudicate upon a claim pertaining to the loss of or damage to the property. The Claims Tribunal has, in the instance case, held that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the claim pertaining to the loss of or damage to the property. In view of the opinion expressed above, the decision of the Tribunal that it had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the claim for loss of or damage to the property has to be set aside.

16. For the reasons stated above, the appeal filed by the appellant is hereby allowed. The order of the Tribunal refusing to adjudicate upon in respect of the damage caused to the property is hereby set aside, the case is sent back to Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Jodhpur for deciding the claim for com-pensation with respect to the property.

17. Looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.


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