High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Girdhar Lal v. Attar Singh & Ors. - CR-771-2005  RD-P&H 2992 (8 May 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT FOR THE STATES OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
Civil Revision No.771 of 2005 (O&M)
Date of decision: May 16, 2006.
Attar Singh & Ors.
Present: Shri Sandeep Sharma, Advocate for the petitioner.
Shri Rakesh Nehra, Advocate for the respondent.
Surya Kant, J. (Oral)
This revision petition has been preferred against an order dated 21.1.2005 passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Rohtak vide which the petitioner's application under Order 9 Rule 3 CPC for setting aside the exparte proceedings as well as the consequential award passed against him in MACT case No.77 of 1997, titled as "Attar Singh v. Girdhar Lal & Ors.".
An accident, which allegedly took place on 12.9.1996, led to filing of a claim petition by respondent No.1 before the MACT, Rohtak.
The petitioner, being the owner of the delinquent vehicle, was impleaded as respondent No.1 in the said claim petition. The petitioner was proceeded exparte vide order dated 12.11.1998 and thereafter an exparte award was made on 2.2.2001. It appears that the Insurance Co. was arrayed as respondent No.3, however, the Tribunal absolved it from the compensation liability and the payment of entire compensation amount was fastened upon Civil Revision No.771 of 2005 -: 2 :-
the petitioner. It was thereafter that the petitioner moved an application for setting aside the exparte proceedings against him. The learned Tribunal framed issue No.1 to the effect that, "whether there are sufficient grounds for setting aside the exparte order dated 12.11.1998 and the award dated 2.2.2001 passed against the petitioner or not?". On an appreciation of the material on record, the Tribunal has disbelieved the petitioner's stand that after re-organization of District Rohtak and consequential carving out of District Jhajjar, his counsel had informed him that the claim petition would stand transferred to Jhajjar and a fresh notice will be received by him from the Tribunal at Jhajjar. The Tribunal, after observing that though a litigant should not suffer on account of mistake of his counsel, has held that if the petitioner was misled by the counsel, he has been negligent in pursuing the pending proceedings as it was his duty to verify the fate of the pending claim petition. Aggrieved, the petitioner has approached this Court.
On April 28, 2005, the petitioner took up a stand before this Court that out of the total amount of Rs.1,80,000/- awarded by the Tribunal, the petitioner, in order to show his bona fide, was ready and willing to pay a substantial part thereof to the claimant so that he may be heard on merits in the claim petition. It was also brought on record that a cheque of Rs.50,000/- had already been handed over by the petitioner to the counsel for the decree holder. While issuing notice of motion, this Court further directed the petitioner to pay 25% more amount of the compensation to the decree holder. With this condition, the execution proceedings were stayed.
Learned Counsel for the parties do not dispute that in deference to the orders passed by this Court, the petitioner has already paid a total sum of Rs.90,000/- to the claimant. Learned Counsel for the petitioner further Civil Revision No.771 of 2005 -: 3 :-
undertakes that an additional amount of Rs.30,000/- shall be paid by the petitioner to the claimant within one month from today. In this manner, a total of Rs.1,25,000/- out of the awarded amount of Rs.1,80,000/- shall stand paid to the claimant.
After hearing Learned Counsel for the parties; having regard to the documents placed on record with C.M. No.3280-CII of 2005 and also keeping in view the settled principle that the courts' endeavour should be to hear the parties on merits before deciding a case, this revision petition is allowed. The order dated 12.11.1998, vide which the petitioner was proceeded against exparte, as also the award dated 2.2.2001 are set aside and the Tribunal is directed to decide the claim petition afresh in accordance with law.
It is, however, made clear that the petitioner shall not recover the amount of Rs.1,25,000/- paid by him to the claimant and the exparte proceedings are set aside primarily to facilitate the Tribunal to determine the liability of the Insurance Co., if any, and no prejudice, whatsoever, shall be caused to the claimant. Needless to say that in case the petitioner succeeds in proving the liability of the Insurance co. towards payment of the compensation amount, he shall be entitled to recover the said amount from the Insurance Co. only in accordance with law.
Copy of the order be given dasti on payment of usual charges.
The parties are directed to appear before the Tribunal on 9.6.2006.
May 16, 2006. [ Surya Kant ]
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