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Raj. State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Vidhya Sharma and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1986)ACC17
AppellantRaj. State Road Transport Corporation;vidhya Sharma
RespondentVidhya Sharma and ors.;damodar Prasad and anr.
Cases ReferredSatyawati Pathak v. Hari Ram
Excerpt:
- - 4. the tribunal has held that both driver of the bus as well as the deceased were responsible for this accident. the tribunal was the opinion that both the parties have not come with reliable evidence. it is true that in a situation like this the bus driver was not obliged to take the passengers but at the same time he should have slowed down the vehicles and stopped it in time to avoid the accident. the fact that the deceased was dragged for 58 feet clearly goes to show that the bus driver drove not only rashly but in inhuman and barbaric manner. 5,000/- for loss of love and affection......stop on the spot and continued to be driven. the tribunal then found that since there was no bus stop and the deceased tried to stop the bus therefore, he is liable and responsible for the accident.8. at the same time there was no horn in the bus and the driver saw the 4 to 5 persons standing on the road from 50 to 60 kadam and therefore, he should have stopped it or in any case slowed down its speed but he did not do so. the tribunal therefore, held both the parties guilty.9. after hearing mr. munshi, learned counsel for the claimants i am of the opinion that assuming that deceased had no legal right to try to stop the bus, a bus driver cannot be allowed a licence injure or kill persons making such an attempt. under the rule of law justification for causing injury or killing a person.....
Judgment:

G.M. Lodha, J.

1. These two cross appeals have been filed by the R.S.R.T.C. and Smt. Vidhya Sharma, against the award of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal dated 17-12-1980.

2. One Kailash Sharma, now deceased was milk seller. On 3rd September, 1978, at 4.00 a.m. Kailash Sharma, with Suresh and Narendra wanted to go to Jaipur from Village Gidani. They stood in the Katcha' near the road and gave signal to bus No. RSM 961 to stop and pick them up. The bus driver was driving the vehicle rashly and he struck Kailash on account of which he died on the spot. The bus was being driven by Damodar Prasad.

3. The defence of the Corporation is that the accident happened due to negligence of Kailash Sharma. Near Gidani, stand 5 and 6 persons were standing. When the bus came nearer they came on road and raised their hands to stop the bus when the bus did not stop then they started running hither and thither and 4 to 5 persons ran away on the left side and one on the right side which was wrong side. This person was heavily drunk and therefore, he struck the bus and collided with it and resulted in death.

4. The tribunal has held that both driver of the bus as well as the deceased were responsible for this accident. The tribunal discussed the evidence of AW 2, Suresh Chandra, AW 4, Hanuman Singh, who have stated that deceased was standing on the right side in katcha and raised the hands. The Tribunal found that the deceased was dragged from point A to B for 58 feet. The tribunal was the opinion that both the parties have not come with reliable evidence.

5. According to tribunal when the bus was at a distance of 50 to 60 Kadam the deceased and other persons came on the road and stood in between the road. According to tribunal since the deceased was dragged for 50 feet and there were signs of dragging of bus on the road, it is proved that bus was being driven at the very high speed which cannot be less than 40 to 50 miles per hour as stated by PW 5, Narain Lal.

6. The tribunal has also found that the bus was not stopped and it was taken to the police station Bagaru. The tribunal has also found that the allegations that deceased have taken liquor is totally false. According to tribunal the bus struck the deceased when he was 5 feet away from the road on the right side the road was 24 feet wide.

7. The bus did not stop on the spot and continued to be driven. The tribunal then found that since there was no bus stop and the deceased tried to stop the bus therefore, he is liable and responsible for the accident.

8. At the same time there was no horn in the bus and the driver saw the 4 to 5 persons standing on the road from 50 to 60 kadam and therefore, he should have stopped it or in any case slowed down its speed but he did not do so. The tribunal therefore, held both the parties guilty.

9. After hearing Mr. Munshi, learned Counsel for the claimants I am of the opinion that assuming that deceased had no legal right to try to stop the bus, a bus driver cannot be allowed a licence injure or kill persons making such an attempt. Under the rule of law justification for causing injury or killing a person can only be justified within the executions of IPC. It is true that in a situation like this the bus driver was not obliged to take the passengers but at the same time he should have slowed down the vehicles and stopped it in time to avoid the accident. No law or rule having force of law has been shown to me that if the driver of a bus or a train is confronted with such a situation he can drive the vehicle over the living bodies of the persons even though the latter may be liable for certain offences.

10. In the instant case, as per the version of the Corporation itself that driver knew in advance from some distance that some one we standing on the road and therefore, he should have been careful and cautious enough to avoid any accident. The fact that the deceased was dragged for 58 feet clearly goes to show that the bus driver drove not only rashly but in inhuman and barbaric manner. I am not inclined to accept the finding of the tribunal that the deceased committed any act of contributory negligence, when he found that the bus was not to stop and not slow down without any stop, he tried, to stop it and ran away as per the version. Thus there was no negligence and rashness on his part.

11. The theory that the deceased was drunken has not been proved.

12. Mr. Munshi, learned Counsel for the Corporation submitted while awarding compensation in Bhagchand Panju Ram and Anr. v. Snehlata and Anr. WLN 1974 P 36 DB of the court has applied the principles of lesser multiplier. The deceased was 26 years old in that case. A reading of para Number 47 shows that this Court held that the annual value of dependency was Rs. 2,400/- and expected living life would be 35 years more and this made it 84,000/-. Thus the multiplier is of 35 years and not less. In the present case the deceased was of 30 years age at the time of accident and multiplier of 25 years has been applied, which is just and fair.

13. The result is that the appeal of the Corporation fails and is hereby dismissed with the costs, of Rs. 500/-. The appeal of the claimants is accepted. The compensation calculated by the tribunal is Rs. 1,20,000/- loss of expected benefit to the dependents and Rs. 5,000/- for loss of love and affection. Mr. Shrivastava, has submitted that he would not press for this amount of Rs. 5,000/-.

14. The tribunal has reduced the amount of 50 on account of lump sum payment and further 50% on account of contributory and composite negligence. Both these deduction are not permissible. I have already held in a series of case that even when lump sum amount is paid as per the latest decision and judicial trends deduction should not be made because of rises of prices and delay disposal of cases and increase of future prospects of income of deceased. The interest factor on lump sum has lost all relevance now. I have found support of my above views in the following decisions:

Bhagchand Panju Ram v. Smt. Snehlata ACJ 1975 P 9 para 48. Bhagwanti Devi v. Ish Kumar 1975 ACJ P 56 (Delhi). Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Shanti Devi 1975 ACJ P 568 (Delhi). Delhi Transport Corporation v. Pushpa Chopra 1981 ACJ P 203. Mohinder Kaur v. Manphool Singh 1981 ACJ P 231. Srisailam Devstan v. Bhavani Pramillama 1983 ACJ P 580, Andhra Pradesh National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pushpa Kanwar 1983 ACJ P 629, (Madhya Pradesh) Sundershan Puri v. Raj. State Road Transport Corporation 1983 P 489. Satyawati Pathak v. Hari Ram 1983 ACJ (Delhi) P 424.

15. The result of the above discussion is that the award would be now for Rs. 1,20,000/-+Rs. 500/- costs of the tribunal and Rs. 500/- of this Court. The proportionate amount would be adjusted with Vidhya Sharma and other minors as follows:

Vidhya Sharma would get Rs. 40,500/- and the balance amount would be deposited for 5 minor childrens in equal proportion as per the directions of the tribunal.

16. In view of the above I do not and any reason to alter the amount of Rs. 1,20,000/-. The appeal of the claimants accepted as indicated above and the award is modified. The Corporation should pay the amount along with 6% interest within three months from today failing which they will pay interest at the rate of 12% per annum instead of 6% interest from the date of the application till the date of realisation.


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