High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Hardev Singh v. Rajinder Kaur & Ors - FAO-58-1986  RD-P&H 2697 (28 April 2006)
DATE OF DECISION:3-5-2006
Hardev Singh APPELLANT
Rajinder Kaur and others RESPONDENTS
CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE VINOD K.SHARMA
PRESENT:Mr.Ramesh Kumar, Advocate, for the appellant.
None for the respondents.
VINOD K. SHARMA,J: (ORAL)
This judgment will dispose of FAO Nos.58 and 59 of 1986 as they arise out of the same accident. FAO No.58 of 1986 has been filed by Hardev Singh, owner of the tractor against the grant of compensation to the family of deceased Balwant Singh to the tune of Rs. 28,000/- whereas FAO No.59 of 1986 has been been filed against the grant of compensation of Rs.2,000/- to the injured Jangir Singh.
The facts of the case as brought out in claim petition are that on 18-4-1984 Balwant Singh son of Ajmer Singh, resident of village Khatrawan, was going on his motor-cycle from Baragudha to village Khatrawan one Jangir Singh son of Bhag Singh, resident of village Tilokewala was sitting on the pillion seat of the same. When at about 7/8 PM they reached at a distance of 2 Kms. from village FAO No.58 of 1986
Kurangawali on way to village Dogranwali, a tractor bearing registration No. PUT- 4783 driven by the appellant Hardev Singh in a rash and negligent manner came from the opposite side at a very high speed in a zig zag manner and abruptly dashed into the said motor-cycle. On account of the impact of this accident, Sarvshri Balwant Singh and Jangir Singh received multiple injuries. Balwant Singh died on account of the injuries suffered by him in the accident . The driver of the said tractor ran way from the spot with his vehicle and later on the dead-body of Balwant Singh was removed to Civil Hospital, Sirsa, where post-mortem examination was conducted and report of accident was lodged with the police. Rajinder Kaur, claimant, further stated that Balwant Singh was 55 years of age and was agriculturist and thereby used to earn Rs 1500/- per month.
Since he died on account of rash and negligent driving of respondent Hardev Singh, driver-cum-owner of the tractor, she claimed a sum of Rs. 40,000/- as compensation.
In the written statement respondent Hardev Singhs resisted the claim and denied the accident having taken place. He pleaded that his tractor was not involved in the accident. He also asserted that the claim petition was not maintainable being time barred. The plea of estoppel was also taken. It is also the case of the respondent that at FAO No.58 of 1986
the time of death of Balwant Singh, he was 60 years of age and leading a retired life, therefore, he was not earning anything. He also pleaded that on this ground, the claim petition deserved to be rejected. It has already come in the evidence that the tractor was not insured with any insurance company on the date of accident.
On the pleadings of the parties, following issues were framed:-
"1. Whether Balwant Singh son of Ajmer Singh resident of Khatrawan, died in this accident on 18-4-1984, at village Dogranwala ? OPP.
2. Whether the accident in question took place on account of rash and negligent driving of respondent No.1.? OPPP
3. Whether the petitioner is entitled to compensation on account of the death of her husband Balwant Singh, if so, to which
extent and from whom ?PP
4. Whether this petition is not maintainable in the present form? OPR
5. Whether this petition is barred by limitation?OPR.
6. Whether the petitioner is estopped from filing this petition ? OPR
7. Relief." Learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal came to the conclusion on issue No.1 that Shri Balwant Singh died in FAO No.58 of 1986
the accident which had taken place on 18-4-1984, whereas on issue No.2 it was held that accident in question took place on account of rash and negligent driving of respondent No.1 Hardev Singh, now appellant in these appeals.
On quantum of compensation, the legal heirs of the deceased were granted Rs. 28,000/- as compensation along with interest @ 12% P.A. from the date of filing of the claim petition till realization, whereas in FAO No. 59 of 1986, an amount of Rs. 2,000/- was granted as compensation to the injured Jangir Singh. The other issues were also decided against the appellant.
Learned counsel appearing for the appellant vehemently argued that the finding recorded on issue No.1 by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal is not sustainable as, there was sufficient evidence on record to show that no accident had taken place with the tractor of Hardev Singh.
He referred to the statement of Ajmer Singh PW-3 to contend that the story narrated by him was improbable and cannot be believed as in case he was traveling in the tractor as stated by him, he would have been the first person to lodge the FIR, whereas in the present case FIR was lodged by Shri Sukhpal Singh, Panch. Further according to him, from the reading of evidence of PW-2, it cannot be said that accident had occurred with the tractor and he was a pillion FAO No.58 of 1986
rider on the motor-cycle of the deceased and that Ajmer Singh was boarding the said tractor of Hardev Singh.
According to the learned counsel, their conduct was totally un-natural.
I have considered the arguments raised by the counsel for the appellant and do not find any force in the same. Ajmer Singh, father of the deceased, while appearing as PW-3, has sated that he was traveling in the tractor-trolly of Hardev Singh which met with an accident. He also stated that the tractor was being driven in rash and negligent manner by Hardev Saingh, who was under the influence of liquor. PW-2, who is an injured person, whose presence at the place of occurrence at that time cannot be doubted as he was a pillion rider on the motor-cycle of the son of Ajmer Singh PW-3. He has made a categorical statement that the accident had occurred due to rash and negligent driving of the driver of the tractor. The contention of the learned counsel cannot be accepted in view of the version of ASI Risal Singh, PW-4, who was the Investigating Officer in the criminal case registered on account of this accident.
According to him, on investigation he found that the accident had occurred due to rash and negligent driving of Hardev Singh, appellant and even report under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was filed against him FAO No.58 of 1986
after investigation of the case.
In view of the evidence on record, I do not find anything wrong in the findings recorded by the learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal on issue No.2, and affirm the same. In my opinion, the compensation awarded to the family of deceased and the injured is not in any way excessive to call for any interference.
Finding no merit in these appeals, the same are dismissed.
3-05-2006 ( VINOD K.SHARMA)
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