High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Dharam Vir v. Inderjit through Satya Vir Singh - FAO-1796-1996  RD-P&H 2695 (27 April 2006)
DATE OF DECISION: 3-05-2006
Dharam Vir APPELLANT
Inderjit through Satya Vir Singh RESPONDENT
CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE VINOD K.SHARMA
PRESENT:Mr.Sudhir Mittal, Advocate, and
Mr. Ashok Sharma, Advocate, for the appellant.
Mr. Jagat Singh, Advocate, for the respondent.
This appeal has been filed by the owner of Toka Engine/Jugar against the award of compensation granted to the injured - Inderjit, minor.
The facts of the case are that on 22-4-1994 at about 11 A.M. Dharam Vir, appellant, was driving a Toka/Jugar, an automobile locally prepared with a diesel engine and run with a belt. The claimant Inderjit, a boy aged about 10/11 years was passing by from the road in village Kasni, who was hit by the Jugar which was being driven in rash and negligent manner and as a result thereof, the right leg of the minor Inderjit was crushed and had to be amputated. The occurrence was stated to have been witnessed by his father Satyavir Singh PW-1 and his uncle, who was allegedly sitting on the Jugar.
FAO No.1796 of 1996
The claimant respondent on account of amputation of his right leg from the top claimed compensation for permanent disability, pain and suffering, agony and loss of earning, to the tune of Rs 3 lacs.
The appellant contested the said claim petition and challenged its maintainability primarily on the ground that no accident was caused by him. It was also stated that the material facts were concealed and this case was in fact brought due to political rivalary in the village because of the election of the Sarpanch. The appellant also claimed that because of he being handicap, he was not able to drive Jugar and, therefore, it was a false case.
On the pleadings of the parties, following issues were framed:-
"1. Whether claimant Inderjit sustained injuries because of being hit by the vehicle called Jugar driven by respondent Dharam Vir.?OPP
2. What amount of compensation the claimant's is entitled to ?OPP
3. Whether the petition is not maintainable.
4. Relief." The learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal on FAO No.1796 of 1996
issue No.1 came to the conclusion that accident had occurred due to rash and negligent driving of Jugar by Dharamvir, respondent and further claimant Inderjit sustained injuries because of the said accident. On issue No.2, by taking the dependency at Rs 1,000/- and by applying a multiplier of 20, a compensation to the tune of Rs 2,40,000/- was granted. The claimant was also held entitled to interest @ 12% P.A. from the date of claim petition till recovery. Costs of Rs. 500/- were also awarded.
Mr.Sudhir Mittal, learned counsel appearing for the appellant, vehemently argued that the findings of the learned Tribunal on issue No.1 cannot be sustained as the evidence brought on record did not connect the injured with the accident. His case was that in the present case the FIR was registered long after the accident which creates a doubt about the correctness of the allegations made against the respondent-appellant. He has further submitted that once a stand was taken that the uncle of the injured claimant was traveling in the Jugar and he having not been produced, an adverse inference was to be drawn. Therefore the evidence of the injured and his father, who were interested, should have been ignored.
I have considered the arguments of the learned FAO No.1796 of 1996
counsel and do not find any force in the same as the evidence brought on record has to be seen on its own probabilities. The learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has taken into consideration the evidence brought on record and has come to a positive conclusion that the accident had occurred due to rash and negligent driving of the driver of the Jugar. The learned Tribunal has rightly held that nobody would involve a co-villager in a false case for obtaining compensation for loss of leg if the same had taken place at his own place and, therefore, the said story could not be concocted. It was also rightly held that the version of the appellant-respondent before the Tribunal was improbable and accordingly the findings on issue No.1 are affirmed.
However, it may be noticed here that Mr.Ashok Sharma Nabhewala, also appeared on behalf of the appellant and argued that the present claim petition was not maintainable as according to him, Jugar could not fall within the definition of 'Motor vehicle' or 'vehicle' as defined under Section 2 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Section 2 (28) of this Act reads as under:-
" "motor vehicle" or "vehicle" means any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is FAO No.1796 of 1996
transmitted thereto from an external or internal source and includes a chassis to which a body has not been attached and a trailer; but does not include a vehicle running upon fixed rails or a vehicle of a special type adapted for use only in a factory or in any other enclosed premises or a vehicle having less than four wheels fitted with engine capacity of not exceeding twenty-five cubic centimetres."
The argument of the learned counsel is that in order to bring a vehicle under the definition of Motor vehicle, it has to have a chassis though body may not have been attached to it. However, I do not agree with the contention raised. A reading of the said section makes it clear that any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use on road whether the power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from any external or internal source, would be covered. The word "chassis" has been added to include those vehicles also where the body is yet to be put. The Jugar fits in the definition and, therefore, it cannot be held that the claim petition was not maintainable under the Motor Vehicles Act.
He reiterated the same arguments as raised by Mr.Sudhir Mittal with regard to the fact that on the basis of evidence FAO No.1796 of 1996
brought on record, it should be held that no accident had taken place, which already stands rejected.
Mr. Mittal thereafter argued that the compensation awarded to the claimant injured was highly excessive. It was submitted by him that as the injured was 11 years of age, the multiplier of 15 was to be applied and keeping in view the Schedule, the estimation was to be made by taking his annual income to be Rs. 15,000/- per annum and in view of the percentage of disability as defined under the Workmen's Compensation Act he could be awarded only 80% of the amount so calculated. Though no fault can be found with this argument, even if this is accepted, there is not going to be any material difference as on the basis of these calculations, the total amount payable would come to Rs.
1,80,000/- However, in addition to this amount, the claimant would also be entitled to the medical expenses which can be assessed to be 40 percent in view of the judgment of Hon'ble the Supreme Court in Lata Wadhwa and others Vs. State of Bihar and others, AIR 2001 S.C.3218. In order to examine the question of damages for personal injury non-pecuniary heads of damages are also required to be taken into account. In case of pecuniary damages, loss of earning or loss of earning capacity, FAO No.1796 of 1996
medical, hospital and nursing expenses, the loss of matrimonial prospects, are required to be considered and in case of non-pecuniary losses, loss of expectation of life, loss of amenities or capacity for enjoying life, loss or impairment of physiological functions, impairment or loss of anatomical structures or body tissue, pain and suffering are to be considered. Even though there is no evidence on record on these heads of damages, it would be reasonable to presume that the claimant would be entitled to some amount under these heads and even if moderate amounts under these heads are granted, the total compensation awarded would not be less than Rs 2,40,000/- i.e. the amount awarded by the learned Tribunal. I am, therefore, of the view that substantial justice has been done in this case, even though the basis may not be correct and, therefore, no interference is called for on these findings also.
Finding no merit in this appeal, the same is dismissed.
3-05-2006 ( VINOD K.SHARMA)
FAO No.1796 of 1996
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