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The Calcutta State Transport Corporation Vs. Lakshmi Rani Pal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.R. No. 857 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Cal249
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Section 110C; ;Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) - Order 18; ;Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantThe Calcutta State Transport Corporation
RespondentLakshmi Rani Pal and ors.
Appellant AdvocateSomen Bose, ;Mukul Ghose and ;S. Pal, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateA.N. Roy Choudhury and ;Sadhan Chandra Pal, Advs.
DispositionApplication dismissed
Cases ReferredShyamapada Neogy v. Asoke Kumar Biswas
Excerpt:
- .....the entirety of the evidence adduced before it by the parties in arriving to its finding while making his award under section 110-b of the act.5. in this case, in the context of the admitted accident and involvement of the corporation's vehicle therein leading to the death of the husband and lather of the petitioners, the tribunal deemed it fit in interest of justice to allow the petitioners another opportunity to examine the witnesses already examined as also the mechanical expert who examined the vehicle after the accident. like opportunity was also given to the corporation to examine its witness already examined as also the driver who then drove the vehicle and any other witness as the corporation would think necessary. needless to mention, witnesses of one party will be subject to.....
Judgment:

S.K. Datta, J.

1. In this Rule the Calcutta State Transport Corporation has challenged an order dated 5-2-1968 passed in motor accident claim case No. 127 of 1963.

2'. It appears that there was admittedly a collision between Car No. WBC 7862 and State Bus No. WBS 1675 at the junction of Raja Dinendra Street and Ulta-danga Road at about 12 noon on 13-8-1963. As a result of this collision one of the passengers died and several passengers were injured. The person who died was the husband of the opposite party No. 1 and the father of the other opposite parties. The learned Judge was of the opinion that on the evidence adduced by the parties it was very difficult to decide either way. Accordingly, for ends of justice, by the impugned order he directed that an opportunity should be given to the claimants to examine further the P. Ws. 1, 2 and 3 and also to examine E. C. D'Souza, mechanical expert, who examined the Bus after the accident in connection with the criminal case arising out of the said accident, with like opportunity to the Corporation to examine its witnesses. The learned Judge relied on AIR 1964 Punj 235, New India Assurance v. Punjab Roadways wherein it was held that in the absence of a restraining provision a tribunal is at liberty to follow any procedure which it may choose to evolve for itself so long as such procedure is orderly and consistent with the rules of natural justice and does not contravene any provision of law. This order has been impugned in this Rule.

3. It has been contended that since Order 18, Rule 17 has been excluded in such trial, there is no scope for allowing further evidence to be adduced in re-examination in particular to patch up a lacuna in the evidence. He has also relied on the decision in Shyamapada Neogy v. Asoke Kumar Biswas reported in (1967) 71 Cal WN 747 in which it was held that the recall of witness after closure of evidence would cause surprise and gravest of prejudice to the other side and it was further held in that case that it was really to fill up the lacuna in the case, the pretext of re-examination was taken.

4. As was held in the Punjab case, no procedure has been laid down for trial of claims by the Tribunal. It may also be mentioned that the entirety of Order 18 of the C. P. C. has been excluded in such trial by the Rules framed bv this State under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. In absence of restraint, the Tribunal is en-titled to follow its own procedure for ends of justice in the context of circumstances of a case. Such procedure however will have to be consistent with the principles of fair play and natural justice and should not cause any prejudice to any parly. Further in respect of claims for compensation arising from accident, where the involvement of a particular vehicle is not in dispute, the question of onus becomes immaterial. In such case it is only proper for the person liable to answer the claim for compensation to establish that his vehicle was not responsible for the accident or it was due to any contributory negligence of fine injured person or the other vehicle or to any other relevant cause. The Tribunal will take into consideration the entirety of the evidence adduced before it by the parties in arriving to its finding while making his award under Section 110-B of the Act.

5. In this case, in the context of the admitted accident and involvement of the Corporation's vehicle therein leading to the death of the husband and lather of the petitioners, the Tribunal deemed it fit in interest of justice to allow the petitioners another opportunity to examine the witnesses already examined as also the mechanical expert who examined the vehicle after the accident. Like opportunity was also given to the Corporation to examine its witness already examined as also the driver who then drove the vehicle and any other witness as the Corporation would think necessary. Needless to mention, witnesses of one party will be subject to cross-examination by the other party. Such procedure, in our opinion, does not offend any provision of law while it is consistent with naturaljustice and fair-play and will not cause any prejudice to the Corporation.

6. In the circumstances, the Rule fails and is discharged. There will be no order for costs. Let the case be disposed with utmost expedition.

H.N. Sen, J.

7. I agree.


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