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Ganesan and anr. Vs. K.V. Pandurangan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1982)1MLJ313
AppellantGanesan and anr.
RespondentK.V. Pandurangan and ors.
Cases Referred and Sandhya Rani v. Sudha Rani
Excerpt:
- - provided that the claims tribunal may entertain the application after the expiry of the said period of six months if it is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time. 2. a reading of section 110-a, clause (3) of the said act shows that no petition by the aggrieved person for compensation relating to an accident and its impact on the person of himself or the dependant or the person for whom he is entitled to compensation under this section 110-a, shall be entertained unless it is made within six months of the occurrence of the accident, provided the tribunal was satisfied that the claimant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time......by way of matters which are forming part of the affidavit accompanying the petitions relating to excusing delay which will show the reasons, so as to excuse the delay occurred in the case or not. in the instant case, the only, reason that is offered for excusing the clelay is that the parents of the deceased were so much overwhelmed with grave mental distress that they were unable to even think any way in terms of judicial proceedings in a tribunal or court so as to get some benefit on the basis of the death of their only son. in this view, while taking into consideration the contents of the affidavit sworn to and accompanying this petition and the contents of the counter and the contentions raised therein, this court has got no other alternative than to allow this appeal and excuse.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S. Swamikkannu, J.

1. The important point that arises for consideration in this case is, whether there are sufficient and adequate reasons to excuse the delay of one year and six days in filing the claim petition under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act (IV of 1937) before the Tribunal. The main argument that is advanced on behalf of the appellants herein is that due to the mental shock that had actually influenced the mind of the parents of the deceased who was their eldest son, they were unable to prepare for instituting a claim in the Tribunal concerned, and as such, the strict rules of limitation contemplated by Section 5 of the Limitation Act, should not be applied to this case, especially when that plea has been put forward as a ground for excusing the delay of one year and six days. In support of this contention raised on behalf of the appellants, the decision in Samuthalamina v. State (1937) 2 M. L.J. 537 : 1974 A.C.J. 24 : A.I.R. 1974 Karn. 22, is relied on by the learned Counsel, Mr. K. Surendranath. In a most persuasive way he submits that Section 110-A, Clause (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act and the concept underlying the same tends towards approaching the question relating to excusing the delay in a more liberal and humane way than in the way contemplated under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, which is more rigorous in its nature. I have gone through the ratio deddendi in Sannahakimmd's case (1937) 2 M. L.J. 537 : 1974 A.C.J. 24 : A.I.R. 1974 Karn. 22 and Sandhya Rani v. Sudha Rani : [1978]2SCR839 . The decision of the Supreme Court is purely under Section 5 of the Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963) and this decision does not touch the concept underlying Section 110-A, Clause (3), which reads as followes:

No application for compensation under this section shall be entertained unless it is made within six months of the occurrence of the accident:

Provided that the Claims Tribunal may entertain the application after the expiry of the said period of six months if it is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time.

2. A reading of Section 110-A, Clause (3) of the said Act shows that no petition by the aggrieved person for compensation relating to an accident and its impact on the person of himself or the dependant or the person for whom he is entitled to compensation under this Section 110-A, shall be entertained unless it is made within six months of the occurrence of the accident, provided the Tribunal was satisfied that the claimant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time. Thus, a reading of the section as mentioned above shows that there must be certain materials available so as to satisfy the judicial conscience of the Tribunal or the Court dealing with the application for excusing the delay so as to hold that there were certain circumstances actually present and which prevented the petitioner or the claimant from making the application and that the cause shown by the applicant or claimant is sufficient and adequate. Each case has to be approached with facts that are available in it by way of evidence or by way of matters which are forming part of the affidavit accompanying the petitions relating to excusing delay which will show the reasons, so as to excuse the delay occurred in the case or not. In the instant case, the only, reason that is offered for excusing the clelay is that the parents of the deceased were so much overwhelmed with grave mental distress that they were unable to even think any way in terms of judicial proceedings in a Tribunal or Court so as to get some benefit on the basis of the death of their only son. In this view, while taking into consideration the contents of the affidavit sworn to and accompanying this petition and the contents of the counter and the contentions raised therein, this Court has got no other alternative than to allow this appeal and excuse the delay of one year and six days, i.e., 371 days though it is very much stressed on the other side that each day ought to have been explained as per the concept of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. It has to be made clear that this concept is entirely different when read together with the Motor Vehicles Act. Of course, on merits any number of contentions may be raised by the respondent to the claim petition and they have to be gone into by the Court while recording the evidence. But this aspect has to be deal with by the judicial forum intended for dealing with the claim for compensation, and decided whether the claimant is entitled or not, from the point of view of judicial discretion and in my view, this discretion has to be exercised properly. It should never come in the way of capricious or arbitrary approach. It must be orie which must be judicial in every iota of it. That is how this Court lays down the law relating to appreciation of the submissions relating to excusing the delay that arose under the provisions of Section 110-A, I Clause (3) together with the proviso to that section while dealing with the application for excusing the delay. It is not the length of time that matters. But, it is the concept of mental feeling with which an aggrieved party which had lost its one and only son that has to be actually entertained in the mind of a judicial forum, which, no doubt has to be guided only by the legal principles. But legal principles are emanating only from moral principles. When that is the concept, this provision under Section 110-A, Clause (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, has to be interpreted only in the above way and in that view, this appeal is allowed. The delay is excused. The Tribunal is directed to take the petition on file and dispose of it on merits after giving opportunities to both sides to let in evidence, both oral and documentary and come to a correct conclusion on the basis of the evidence placed before it. Under these circumstances, there is no order as to costs.


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