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Roopchand Vs. NaraIn Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Misc Appeal Nos. 150, 151 and 152 of 1974
Judge
Reported in1977WLN(UC)70
AppellantRoopchand
RespondentNaraIn Singh and anr.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredMst. Khoob Koonwar v. Baboo Moodnaran Singh
Excerpt:
.....consideration in order to come to a conclusion that ratan chand was the owner of the truck and not roop chand on the dale of the accident. it is true that on 20-4-1970 ratar chand deposited the tax of the vehicle dlk 1175 but from this entry it cannot be inferred that on the date of accident which took place on 8-3-1970 raian chand and not roop chand was the owner of the truck: from ex. a2, the possibility cannot be overruled that on the date of the accident, roop chand was the owner of the truck dlk 1175.;it is significant to note that neither the deed nor the tax receipts were produced in respect of the truck by ratan chand. not only that ratan chand himself has kept away from the witness box lo say on oath that on the date of the accident he was the owner of the truck. taking overall..........aw2 narayan has very emphatically stated that the truck involved in the accident belonged to roopchand, and his son mangilal. not a single question was put to him in cross-examination to discredit his above testimony. naw 2 mangilal has no doubt deposed that the truck dlk 1175 was purchased by ratan chand in 1968 and fn m that year it continued to be in the name of ratan chard but his evidence is not at all convincing. in his cross examination he has admitted that a deed was written in respect of the purchase of this truck. he has further admitted in his cross examination that tax was deposited in respect of this truck by ratan chand. but it is singh scant to note that neither the deed nor the tax receipts were produced in respect of the truck by ratan chand. not only that.....
Judgment:

S.N. Modi, J.

1. These three appeals are directed against the judgment of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal Jodhpur Civil Misc. cases Nos. 33A, 34A and 35A of 1970. As these three appeals arise out of a single accident, they ate being disposed of together by this judgment.

2. The facts giving rise to these appeals are like this. On 8-3-1970 at about 8.30 p.m. three children Gopal, Karan Singh and Ram Deo along with others were playing far away from the road. Motor Truck No. DLK 1176 (Pick up) came from the side of the 5th Road Sardarpura, Jodhpur and when it reached the crossing of 3rd Road Sardarpura and Umaid Hospital Road, it deflected towards left where the boys were playing. The truck first struck against a sign post on which Baldeo Marg was written and thereafter injured Gopal, Karan Singh and Ram Deo. The latter (Ramdeo) succumbed to the injuries. At the time of the accident the truck was being driven by driver Sagat Singh rashly and negligently. The owner of the truck on the date of the accident were said to be Roop Chand and his minor son Mangilal. Karati Singh claimed Rs. 5,000/- as compensation from Roop Chand and Mangilal in his claim petition which was registered as 33A of 1970 Gopal also claimed the same amount and his claim petition was registered as 34A of 1970. Parents of Ramdeo namely Narain Singh (father) and Mst. Madi (mother) claimed compensation worth Rs. 25,000/- and their claim petition was registered as 35A/70. All the three petitions were consolidated by the learned Judge who tried them together.

3. Roop Chand and Mangi Lal denied their liabilities to pay compensation. They denied that they were the owners of the truck on the date of accident. They also denied that the driver of the truck namely Sagat Singh was their employee. They also denied that the accident was caused due to rash and negligent driving of the driver Sagat Singh. The pleaded that the owner of the truck was one Ratan Chand as per registration certificate. They also pleaded that the claim petition was liable to be dismissed as the Insurance Company and the driver who caused the accident were not made parties to the claim petitions.

4. The learned Judge on consideration of the evidence led by the parties by a single judgment allowed compensation from Roop Chand to the rune of Rs. 500/- each to Gopal and Karan Singh and Rs. 2500/- to the parents of Ramdeo. It is against this judgment that these three separate appeals have been preferred by Roop Chand. No decree was passed against Mangilal as he was minor on the date of accident.

5. Arguing the appeals, Mr. Mehta raised the following points:

(1) That the claimants have failed to prove that the accident was caused due to rash and negligent act of the driver of the truck DLK 1175.

(2) That the claimants have failed to prove injuries sustained by Gopal, Karan Singh and Ram Deo.

(3) That the claimants have failed to prove that truck No. DLK 1175 was owned by Roop Chand on the date of accident.

(4) The various amounts awarded to the claimants are excessive.

6. It will be convenient to deal with each point separately.

7. So far as the first point is concerned the learned Counsel for the appellant was not able to satisfy me that the cause of the accident was not rash and negligent act of the driver. It is common ground between the patties that all the three victims were placing on 'Kacha' land on the left side far away from the road. It is also common ground between the parties that the truck dashed against the sign post on which Baldeo Marg was inscribed and broke it into piece}. The above facts stand proved from the evidence of A.W. 3 Gopal (one of the injured) and AW4 Dalpat Raj. The above circumstances clearly go to show that the driver was running the vehicle at a very high speed. Again the facts that the vehicle turned towards the left, proceeded on the 'Kacha' side of the road and injured the boys fully justify that the driver was driving the truck negligently. In my opinion the learned Judge has rightly held that the accident took place on account of rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by the driver.

8. Coming to the second point, it is urged that the injuries said to have been sustained by the victims were not got proved from the doctor. It appears that the victims were examined by Dr. S.B. Mathur that but he was not produced in evidence. But simply because the doctor was not examined, it cannot be said that the victims did not receive injuries. A. W. 3 Gopal who is one of the victims has appeared in the witness box and has deposed that he received injuries on his leg and hand. He has further stated that Karansingh and Ramdeo also received injuries at the same time. AW4 Dalpat Raj has corroborated the testimony of A.W. 3 Gopal. He has further deposed that all these three injured persons were taken to the Mahatrna Gandhi hospital. None of these witnesses was cross examined on the point of injuries sustained by these three witnesses. There is also no rebuttal showing that no injuries were sustained by these witnesses. The defence witness Mangi lal even admitted that on account of the accident one person expired. On a careful perusal of the entire evidence it can safely be said that the parties were not all at issue on the porat of injuries sustained by the victims. At any rate there is sufficient evidence on the record to show that Gopal and Karan Singh were injured and Ramdeo expired on account of injuries sustained be him at the time of accident.

9. Coming to third point it is strenuously urged that there is ho satisfactory evidence to show that the truck bearing No. 1175 belonged to Roop Chand. The learned Counsel laid considerable emphasis on Ex. A2 which is the registration certificate of truck DLK 1175. On the back of this registration certificate there is an entry to the effect that this truck was transferred on 3-10-1968 in favour of Ratan Chand son of Kishan Chand. Ii is contended that since there is no other entry showing that the truck was transferred in the name of Roop Ghand it cannot be said that on the date of accident Roop Chand was the owner of the truck. It this contention, the learned Counsel has also drawn my attention to Ex. Al which is the copy of the tax ledger maintained by the Regional Transport Officer. A perusal of Ex. A. I shows that Ratan Chand paid tax of the vehicle DLK on 20-4-70. From the above documentary evidence the learned Counsel for the appellant wants me to inter that on the date of the accident it was Ratan Chand who was the owner of the truck and not Roop Chand. in my opinion no such inference can be drawn from the documents Ex. A1 and A2. Ex. A 2 which is the registration terminate of the vehicle DLK 1.1.75 cannot be acted upon as it is not a complete document. It no doubt contains an entry to the effect that on 30-10-1968 this vehicle was transferred in the name of Ratan Chand son of Kishan Chand, but a portion of this document is missing. As stated by their Lordships of the Privy Council as early as in Mst. Khoob Koonwar v. Baboo Moodnaran Singh, 9 Moo Ind App 1 at p. 17 (PC):

in an ordinary case, the party who presents an instrument, which is an essential part of his case, in an apparent altered and suspicious state must fail, from the mere infirmity or doubtful complexion of his proof, unless he can satisfactorily explain the existing state of the document.

Considering the present case from the point of view implied in these observation was of the Privy Council it is perfectly clear that in absence of evidence to explain how a part of the document is missing, Ex. A.2 cannot be relied upon. It may be that the appellant produced the document after removing part of the document which contained an entry injurious to the case set up by the appellant, lam therefore, clearly of the opinion that such a document cannot be taken into consideration in order to come to a conclusion that Ratan chand was the owner of the truck and not Roop Chand on tow date other accident. It is true that on 20-4-1970 Ratan Chand deposited the tax of the vehicle DLK 1175 but from this entry it cannot be inferred that on the date of accident which took place on 8-3-1 & 70 Ratan Chand and not Roop Chand was the owner of the truck. From Ex. A2, the possibility cannot be overruled that on the date of the accident. Roop Chand was the owner of the truck DLK 1175.

10. That apart, the claimants have produced Ex.2 which is a certified copy of an application dated 17-3-1970 presented by the appellant Rooprhand in a criminal case under Section 336 IPC. This application was presented before the Magistrate by Roop Chand on 18-3-1970 i.e. about 10 days after the accident with a view to obtain custody of the truck DLK 1175 from the police. This application was submitted by Poop Chand because Mangilal at that time was a minor. This application clearly shows that the truck DLK 1175 belonged to Mangilal son of Roop Chand on the date of the accident. It is significant to note that Roop Chand has not appeared in the witness box to explain the conditions under which he admitted his son to be the owner of the truck on the date of the accident It is urged that Roop Chand was not given any opportunity to explain under what circumstance he made this application. This document was produced during the course of explanation of NAVV 2 Mangilal who was examined on 11-1-1974. A perusal of the order sheets shows that it is on 11 1-1974 that the evidence on behalf of Roop Chand was voluntarily closed by his counsel. Had a request been made to adjourn the case for explaining the admission of Roop Chand in Ex. 2, the court minor have afforded an opportunity to do so. But no such effort was made, That shows that Roop Chand illiterately did not enter into the witness box to explain his admission. In face of clear admission of Poop Chand in Ex. 2 that his minor son was the owner of the truck DLK 1175, much reliance cannot be placed on Ex A2 and Ex A1 specially when part of Ex A2 is missing.

11. I row turn to the oral evidence adduced by the parties to prove the ownership of the truck. AW2 Narayan has very emphatically stated that the truck involved in the accident belonged to Roopchand, and his son Mangilal. Not a single question was put to him in cross-examination to discredit his above testimony. NAW 2 Mangilal has no doubt deposed that the truck DLK 1175 was purchased by Ratan Chand in 1968 and fn m that year it continued to be in the name of Ratan Chard but his evidence is not at all convincing. In his cross examination he has admitted that a deed was written in respect of the purchase of this truck. He has further admitted in his cross examination that tax was deposited in respect of this truck by Ratan Chand. But it is Singh Scant to note that neither the deed nor the tax receipts were produced in respect of the truck by Ratan Chand. Not only that Ratanchand himself has kept, away from the witness box to say on oath that on the date of the accident he was the owner of the truck. Taking overall picture of the entire evidence on the record it can safely be said that on the date of accident Roop Chand was the owner of the truck.

12. I now take up the last point relating to quantum of compensation. In the present case Gopal and Karan Singh were injured and Ramdco lost his life. The learned Judge has awarded Rs. 500/- as compensation to each ore of the injured persons and Rs. 2500/- to the parents of the dead person. It is well settled that an appellate court seldom interfere in the matter of quantum of compensation unless it is highly excessive. Looking to the circumstances of the case the compensation awarded to the claimants does not appear to be unjust or excessive.

13. Learned Counsel for the appellant also drew my attention to 1970 RLW page 489 and 1975 WLN page 442. Both these cases are distinguishable on facts.

14. The appeals fail and they are dismissed. I make no order as to costs in this Court in these appeals.


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