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R.S.R.T.C. Vs. Mohan Lal and ors. and Ram Swaroop and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1986)ACC334
AppellantR.S.R.T.C.
RespondentMohan Lal and ors. and Ram Swaroop and ors.
Excerpt:
- - p 3. the claimants as well as dw 2 satya swaroop and dw 3 kailash chandra. very clearly deposed that it was the corporation bus who was driving his bus rashly and negligently and the accident had taken place on account of his rashness and negligence. rjr 9515 which got badly damaged on account of this accident. p 3, it has been clearly mentioned that the accident took place near nanakpura. the approach of the tribunal is well based and does not appear to be perverse or wholly erroneous. there are no good and cogent reasons to take a view different from that taken by the tribunal......appearing for the corporation vehemently contended that the finding of the court below that the driver of the corporation bus was driving the vehicle rashly and negligently, is erroneous. it was argued that both the buses were running on the same road coming from opposite directions. it was the driver of bus no. 9515 who was driving it rashly. it was the rash and negligent driving of the driver of bus no. rjr 9515 which caused the accident. it was argued that the evidence adduced by the parties was not properly scrutinized and evaluated. it was also argued that the circumstances show that the driver of the corporation bus was not driving it rashly and negligently. in reply, it was submitted that the finding of the tribunal is based on proper appraisal of the evidence of the parties.....
Judgment:

S.S. Byas, J.

1. By his two Awards dated April 4, 1978, one passed in M.A.C. No. 39/74 and the other passed in M.A.C. No. 43/74, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal Bhilwara directed the appellant to pay a sum of Rs. 8000/- to respondent Ramswaroop and a sum of Rs. 6000/- to respondent Mohan Lal as compensation for the injuries sustained by them in one and the same accident. Since the questions of fact and law involved in both the appeals are common, they were heard together and are disposed of by a single judgment.

2. Briefly stated, the facts and circumstances leadings to these appeals are as follows.

3. The claimants Ramswaroop and Mohan Lal were travelling in bus No. R.J.R. 9515 on April 6. 1974 which was proceeding from Bhilwara to its destination to Ajmer. On its way at a place between mile-stone 13 and 14, the R S.R.T.C. bus No. 9761 came from the opposite direction. Both the buses were running at a fast speed and when they happened to pass by the side of each other, their sides got dashed with each other. The road was wide enough to provide space to both the running buses. But as the drivers of both the buses were driven, their vehicles rashly and negligently, the buses got collided with each other in their right sides. As a result of this collision Ramswaroop and Mohan Lal sustained injuries. The right humerous, ulna and radius bones of Mohan Lal got fractured. He also sustained injuries on his right shoulder. Ramswaroop sustained commutted fracture of numerous and scapular bones. Both of them presented separated claims before the Tribunal against the drivers of both the buses and their owners. Ramswaroop claimed a sum of Rs. 38016/- while Mohan Lal claimed a sum of Rs. 34,000/- as compensation. It was alleged that they sustained injuries on account of rash and negligent driving of the buses by their respective drivers. The claims were resisted by all the non-petitioners who were five in number. The owners of the buses denied that the accident had taken place due to the rash and negligent act of driving by their drivers. Later on the driver of bus No. RJR 9515 passed away during the pendency of the claim petition. His name was, therefore, deleted. So, also the name of the driver of the bus belonging to the R.S.R.T.C. was deleted. The contesting non-petioners also challenged the quantum of compensation claimed by the two injured claimants. Necessary issues were raised. Both the parties led evidence in the claim petitions. Though the evidence in both the claim petitions was same, it was recorded separately. On the conclusion of the trials of the petitions, the Tribunal held (1) it was the driver of the R.S.R.T.C. bus who was driving the bus rashly and negligently and thereby caused the accident, (2) the driver of bus No. RJR 9515 was not rash and negligent in driving the bus and (3) the owner and insurance company of bus No. RJR 9515 were consequently absolved from the liability to pay compensation. The claims were awarded in the amounts mentioned at the very out-set against the R.S.R.T.C. Aggrieved against the said Awards the R S.R.T.C. has come up in appeals.

4. I have heard the learned Counsel for the parties and gone through the case file carefully.

5. Mr. R.N. Munshi, the learned Counsel appearing for the Corporation vehemently contended that the finding of the Court below that the driver of the Corporation bus was driving the vehicle rashly and negligently, is erroneous. It was argued that both the buses were running on the same road coming from opposite directions. It was the driver of bus No. 9515 who was driving it rashly. It was the rash and negligent driving of the driver of bus No. RJR 9515 which caused the accident. It was argued that the evidence adduced by the parties was not properly scrutinized and evaluated. It was also argued that the circumstances show that the driver of the Corporation bus was not driving it rashly and negligently. In reply, it was submitted that the finding of the Tribunal is based on proper appraisal of the evidence of the parties and I should be slow in disturbing it unless there are cogent and convincing reasons to make the interference. It was urged that a question of fact should not be lightly disturbed unless and untill the finding is perverse and wholly unsustainable. I have taken the respective submissions into consideration.

6. On behalf of the claimants, they examined themselves and one witness Jamnalal H.C. Police while the owner of bus No. R.J.R. 9515 examined two witnesses DW Satyasworoop and DW 3 Kailash Chandra, who were travelling in this bus. On behalf of the Corporation, the driver of the bus Bhaguram (DW1) was examined. Jamnalal H.C. Police is the person who, as a police officer, visited the spot after the accident had taken place in connection with investigation. He prepared the site plan Ex. P2 and the site inspection memo Ex. P 3. The claimants as well as DW 2 Satya Swaroop and DW 3 Kailash Chandra. very clearly deposed that it was the Corporation bus who was driving his bus rashly and negligently and the accident had taken place on account of his rashness and negligence. They stated that bus No. RJR 9515 was running on the extreme left edge of the road i.e. on the correct side. It was Corporation bus which had practically covered the entire portion of the metalled road. It is also there in their evidence that it was bus No. RJR 9515 which got badly damaged on account of this accident. Their evidence could not be shattered or shaken in cross-examination. Jamna Lal H.C. Police deposed that he visited the spot and prepared site plan Ex. P 2 and site inspection memo EX. P 3. He found the glass-panes of bus No. RJR 9515 broken and lying in tne bus. He also found some marks of skidding on the road. It has also been in the evidence of Satya Swaroop and Kailash Chandra that bus RJR 9515 was just going to stop at the bus stand, Nanakpura, which was hardly half a farlong from the place of incident. That also suggests that the driver of the bus RJR 9515 was not driving the bus rashly and negligently. In site plan Ex. P 3, it has been clearly mentioned that the accident took place near Nanakpura. Bus RJR 9515 was a private bus and was naturally to stop at Nanakpura bus stand. The roadways bus was an express bus. Naturally, being an express bus, it must be presumed to be running at a fast speed. The way in which the accident has taken place strongly suggests that it was the driver of the Corporation bus who was driving it rashly and negligently.

7. In rebuttal, there is no evidence from the Corporation side except the solitary statement of its driver Bhaguram (DW 1). In his cross-examination he admitted that the police had submitted a challan against him in respect of this mishap. He is naturally interested in denying his liability arising out of his rash and negligent driving of the bus. No. other independent witness has been examined by the Corporation, so much so that even its conductor, who was travelling in that bus, has not been examined.

8. The learned Judge of the Tribunal, after carefully going through the entire evidence of the parties held that the accident had taken place due to the rash and negligent driving of the Corporation bus by its driver. The approach of the Tribunal is well based and does not appear to be perverse or wholly erroneous. A fact of finding, unless it is perverse, should not be lightly disturbed. There are no good and cogent reasons to take a view different from that taken by the Tribunal. It can be safely said that the accident had taken place due to the rash and negligent driving of the Corporation bus by its driver Bhaguram. The first contention of Mr. Munshi, thus, fails.

9. It was next contended that the compensation awarded is too liberal and should be reduced. The contention is not tenable. The claimant Mohan Lal sustained as many as three fractures. His humerous, ulna and radius bones were fractured. There is evidence to show that the fractures of humerous and ulna bones were commuted and resulted in many pieces. The Tribunal awarded a sum of Rs. 2000/- as the amount spent in the treatment a sum of Rs. 1000/- for the disability of the movement of the hand and Rs. 3000/- for physical and mental pain he sustained. This amount of special and general damages does not appear to be exhorbitant or excessive. Virtually the amount awarded is too low, looking to the injuries sustained by the claimant Mohan Lal. No reduction is, therefore, called for.

10. As regards the other claimant Ramswaroop, he sustained fractures of humerous and scapular bones. He was examined by Dr. Harshvardhan (PW 1). He was also operated upon. Dr. Harshvardhan deposed that his right shoulder had sustained some disability resulting in its permanent state write limited motion. This disability has been stated by him to be 35%. The Tribunal did not award any amount as special compensation. However looking to the permanent disability and the injuries sustained by Ramswaroop', the Tribunal awarded a sum of Rs. 8000/- to him. This amount, again, does not appear excessive. Rather, it appears conservative. No reduction is, therefore, called for.

11. No other contention was raised.

12. For the reasons stated above, the Awards passed in both the claim petitions are maintained. Appeals of the corroboration are consequently dismissed with costs.


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