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Ganga and ors. Vs. Hanuman Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in2(1985)ACC396
AppellantGanga and ors.
RespondentHanuman Singh and ors.
Excerpt:
- - when ganpat was produced in the witness box, i was influenced by the trustworthiness of the witness and his straight forward demean our in the witness box that, he was a person who had love for truth and was trying to mention true facts. 15. ganpat (pw 5) has clearly stated that the fault was of the truck driver who struck the cycle by going into rough (kucha) side of the road where the deceased were driving the cycle. the evidence of the three eye witnesses clearly goes to show that the accident took place on account of the rash and negligent driving of the truck which had come in a waving manner which shows that it was out of control of the truck driver and it struck the cycle of the deceased by going extreme side in rough (kucha) side......that ganpat saw the truck also finds mention and corroboration in the original statement and the truck number is mentioned in the f.i.r. in my opinion, when an illiterate person coming from a small village in india for giving evidence and gives details of reading truck number himself in his statement, which he can never do because of the illiteracy normally, it would be artificial manner of giving the statement. the truthfulness by the said illiterate person is that whatever he, himself, observed, he stated and then whether was done on the spot, he has further stated. the mention of the number rrl 2737 in the f.i.r. immediately after the occurrence which bears the thumb impression of this witness and the statement of the witness that, the f.i.r. contains the true facts, leads to the.....
Judgment:

Guman Mal Lodha, J.

1. This judgment will dispose of the appeal filed by the claimsants, against the impugned Award dated the 28th March, 1980 passed by the Motor Accident claims Tribunal, Tonk, dismissing the claims petition of the claimsants for compensation.

2. Briefly stated the facts giving rise to this appeal are that, Chhotu and Ralu were father and son. While going on cycle to their fields on 7th November, 1977 at about 6.30 a.m. on Jaipur Tonk Road, near garden of Ishaq Khan, which is 2 kms away from Tonk, they were hit by truck No. RRL 2737, which was being driven by Hanuman Singh, rashly and negligently.The cycle was going by in Kacha of the left side of the road but, the speed of the truck was to much and was being driven so negligently with the result, Chhotu died on the spot on the hit of the truck to the cycle and Kalu because unconscious who also died in the hospital. The truck did not stop then and there and its number came to be known at the Municipal Barrier of Tonk. On account of the injured sustained in the accident, Chhotu and Kalu died.

3. It is alleged that Chhotu, the deceased, was a healthy and young person and was the only number to bread his family and Kalu, the deceased was working with his father, as helper. The dependants of the deceased have claimed the compensation and expectancy of the income benefit from the deceased in the following manner.1. Bheru, Father of Chhotu, Rs. 50 p.m. for 10 years Rs. 6,000/-2.Mst. Lali, Mother of Chhotu Rs. 40/- p.m. for 15 Years Rs. 7,200/-3. Mst. Ganga, w/o Chhotu Rs. 100/- p m. for 40 years 48,000/-4. Prabhu, s/o Chhotu claimsed Rs. 10,400/-5. Mst. Meera d/o Chhotu Rs. 18,500/-6. Sita d/o Chhotu Rs. 21,600/-In all, a sum of Rs. 2,78,700/- was claimsed as compensation.

4. The respondent Nos. 1 and 2 filed their joint reply denying the accident so also the income of the deceased Chootu as Rs. 100/-per month. The respondents also denied that the truck was being driven fastly, rashly and negligently. On the pleadings of the parties, the issues were framed and in support of their case, the claimsants examined Bheru (PW 1), Pyarelal (PW 2), Jamna Lal (PW 3), Dr. Beni Prasad (PW 4) and Ganpat (PW 5) in additional to the documentary evidence produced and the non-claimsants examined Hanuman Singh (DW 1), Satyanarain(DW 2) and Kazi Afajallul Islma (DW 3). The Tribunal decided issue No. 1 against the claimsants holding that it is not proved that this accident took place with the truck No. RRL 2737 driven by Hanuman Singh. While deciding issue No. 2, the Tribunal came to the conclusion that the compLalnants are entitled to get Rs. 20,000/- as compensation for the death of Chootu and Rs. 5,000/- as compensation for the death of Kalu. The Tribunal, as the issue No. 1 was being decided against he claimsants, dismissed the claims petition of the complainants for compensation.

5. Hence this appeal.

6. After the arguments were heard in the case, it was thought that it would be in the interest of justice to further examine Ganpat consequently he was examined on 26th September, 1984 by this Court.

7. The first and foremost question, which requires consideration by this Court is, whether the identity of truck No. RRL 2737 is established or not. It would not be pertinent to notice that Ganpat (PW 5), in his statement, had stated that he lodged an F.I.R. in the police station, of this accident, after observing it. The F.I.R. undoubtedly mentions the number of truck as RRL 2737.

8. Tribunal has disbelieved this version of Ganpat (PW 5) and held that since he was not in a position to mention the number of the vehicle in his statement and he confessed that he did not note the number and he cannot in any way, have identity of the truck after this accident.

9. Now, analysing the statement of Ganpat (PW 5), the first thing to be noticed is that according to him, he was goit g to river on his cycle and a little ahead, Chhotu and Kalu were going on cycle also. The truck came at that time and it was of yellow colour and it hit Chhotu who was driving the cycle on rough (Kucha) side. Chhotu died at the spot and Kalu became unconscious and died in the hospital and the cycle was completely crushed. He also stated that the truck was going in waving manner. He filed F.I.R. (Ex. P.3) and it bears his thumb impression. According to him, Chhotu used to earn Rs. 200/-, per month and Kalu used to earn Rs. 100/- Rs. 150/-. The accident was caused on account of the fault of the truck driver. The accident took place at a distance of 11/2 away from the octroi post. The suggestion was given in cross-examination that Chhotu was drunken but, this suggestion was repelled. The witness said that when they tried to stop the truck, the truck driver tried to over run them and therefore, he ran after the truck upto the octroi post.

10. The witness also stated that he was not aware of the number of the truck. The entire theme of rejection of the claims was based on the last line of the statement

11. Ganpat (PW 5) was examined, yesterday, by this Court and he stated that F.I.R. (Ex. P. 3) has been read over and it is correct and it bears his thumb impression. He stated that the number of the truck was not read by him because he was illiterate but the persons who were standing near the octroi post when he chased the truck and asked them to stop the truck, those persons noted the number and gave it to me which he took and went to the police and shown it to the police, on which the police people said him to go out and get the written report. According to Ganpat, he then gave slip (Parchi) having number to the man who wrote the written report and noted that number in the report. He also stated that thereafter he got the slip (Parchi) turn. He identified the truck as the same which managed to escape from the spot after the accident and so, also the driver. Ganpat also stated that, when the accident took place the light of the truck was damaged and the truck which was standing in the Kotwali was the same having damaged light.

12. The important question which requires consideration is, whether the version of Ganpat should be believed so far as the identity of the truck is concerned. When Ganpat was produced in the witness box, I was influenced by the trustworthiness of the witness and his straight forward demean our in the witness box that, he was a person who had love for truth and was trying to mention true facts.

13. Ganpat did not take that he read it and not it but straight forward stated that he was illiterate and he could not read it. The fact that Ganpat saw the truck also finds mention and corroboration in the original statement and the truck number is mentioned in the F.I.R. In my opinion, when an illiterate person coming from a small village in India for giving evidence and gives details of reading truck number himself in his statement, which he can never do because of the illiteracy normally, it would be artificial manner of giving the statement. The truthfulness by the said illiterate person is that whatever he, himself, observed, he stated and then whether was done on the spot, he has further stated. The mention of the number RRL 2737 in the F.I.R. immediately after the occurrence which bears the thumb impression of this witness and the statement of the witness that, the F.I.R. contains the true facts, leads to the conclusion that it was truck number RRL 2737 which was involved in the accident. It is not without significance that no reason has been shown by either side, as to why this witness who is an independent witness, would involve falsely the non-applicants. It is not without significance that he saw the truck driver in the police station thereafter and they were the same parsons who were involved in the accident. In this view of the matter, merely because in the earlier statement he stated that he cannot mention the number of the truck or did not know aad note the number of the same, it is not sufficient to discard this evidence because the statement is to be read as a whole. In my opinion, Ganpat wanted to state and actually stated that he could not be able to read the number of the truck and this is obvious because, he could not read it himself on the spot as he was an illiterate person and rustic villager.

14. I am convinced that Ganpat is a truthful witness and the truck number was noted by the person at the octroi post and Ganpat carried the slip which was given to the scribe who mentioned in the report the number mentioned in the slip. Apart from that, Ganpat has identified the truck, otherwise also. In my opinion, the statement of Ganpat is enough to connect this truck and the non-applicants with the accident and the finding of the Tribunal on this score deserves to be set aside.

15. Ganpat (PW 5) has clearly stated that the fault was of the truck driver who struck the cycle by going into rough (Kucha) side of the road where the deceased were driving the cycle. This is corroborated by the evidence of Pyarelal (PW 2) and Gaman Lal (PW 3). It is also not without significance that the truck was seized on the same day vide Ex.P.4 and the seizure memo which has been duly proved by Hanuman Singh shows that it was damaged. The evidence of the three eye witnesses clearly goes to show that the accident took place on account of the rash and negligent driving of the truck which had come in a waving manner which shows that it was out of control of the truck driver and it struck the cycle of the deceased by going extreme side in rough (Kucha) side. I am, therefore, convinced that the death of the two, father and son, namely, Chhotu and Kalu, respectively, was caused due to rashness and negligence on the part of the non-applicant,-driver, Hanuman Singh while driving the truck.

16. Now, coming to the question of compensation. The Tribunal has come to the conclusion that compensation of Rs. 20,000/- should be allowed for the death of Chhotu as he was of 30 years at the time of the accident. So far as Kalu is concerned, he was of 9 years. It has come in evidence on record that he used to take chattel and earn Rs. 100-150/-. It would not be improper to hold that claimsants would have got financial assistance be of Rs. 100/- per month from him also towards life time and in view of his young and teen age, the compensation should be allowed for 30 years atleast assuming that he would have started earning sufficient after attaining the maturity of the age. The same amount of Rs. 20,000/- has been allowed for the death of Chhotu and in all. compensation of Rs. 25,000/- (20,000/- for the death of Chhotu and Rs. 5,000/- for the death of Kalu) has been allowed. The expectancy of income from Chhotu should have been Rs. 150/-in view of the statement as he used to earn Rs. 500/- per month thus, in all Rs. 50,000/- as compensation is allowed and all the three respondents would be jointly and severally liable for the payment of this Compensation.

17. An objection was taken that jointly the application cannot be filed. This objection is untanable firstly because the claimsants are the same and the relief is sought by the legal representatives of the deceased. I do not express may opinion as to whether joint application can be filed or not, in this case, because, prima facie, I am of the opinion that the claims cases in accident matters, whenever arrives from the same accident may be tried together as to procedures are of summary nature and it would be just and proper to avoid multiplicity of the litigation and recording of the separate evidence.

18. In the result, this appeal is, therefore, accepted and the compensation of Rs. 50,000/- is allowed to the claimsants-appellants from all the non-applicants respondents jointly and severally. The claimsants are further entitled to get interest at the rate of 12% from the date of application till the date of realisation of the compensation. The claimsants would further entitled to get costs of Rs. 500/- from the respondents.


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