High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Ram Phal @ Ram Phool v. State of Haryana & Ors - FAO-481-1986  RD-P&H 3089 (12 May 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH.
FAO No. 481 of 1986
Date of Decision : 18-5-2006
Ram Phal @ Ram Phool v. State of Haryana & others
CORAM:- HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ARVIND KUMAR
Present: Mr. Amit Jaiswal, Advocate,
for the appellant.
Mr. S.S.Kharb, AAG Haryana
Mr. Parminder Singh,Advocate,
for respondent No.5
In this appeal, challenge is to award dated 16.1.1986 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jind, awarding a sum of Rs.20,000/- as compensation to the claimant(appellant herein) along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of claim petition till payment, for the injuries sustained in motor vehicle accident that took place on 21.7.1982.
In brief, the facts of the case are that on 21.7.1982, claimant, Ram Phal, had boarded Haryana Roadways bus bearing registration No.HRJ-3228 from Rohtak. The driver of the bus, namely Kidar Singh (respondent No.3) was driving the bus rashly and negligently when it struck against truck bearing registration No.PBL-5588 driven by Dalip Singh, respondent No.4. As a result of the accident, the claimant along with few other passengers received injuries. Claimant got fractured both his legs which affected his working capacity. Claimant then filed petition before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jind, for the grant of compensation for the injuries suffered in the said accident.
FAO No. 481 of 1986 2
Upon notice of the claim petition, respondent No.1, Haryana Roadways, in their written statement took up the plea that the accident took place when truck being driven rashly and negligently came from opposite direction and hit against the stationary bus and that there was no fault on the part of driver of Haryana Roadways bus. Respondent No.3, Kidar Singh, i.e. driver of the bus, in his reply stated that he had stopped the bus at Bus Stand Brahmanwas as some passengers were to get down and thereafter, had hardly covered a distance of 1 km. when the truck came from the opposite direction at a very high speed on wrong side of the road, and caused the accident as a result of which he suffered multiple injuries. Respondent No.4, i.e. driver of the truck in his written statement stated that the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of bus driver. Respondent No.5, New India Assurance Company, chose not to file any reply.
Parties led evidence in support of their respective contentions. On appreciation of evidence adduced by the parties, the learned Tribunal passed the award in the manner indicated above.
Feeling dissatisfied with the same, the appellant has approached this Court by way of present appeal.
Learned counsel for the appellant has sought enhancement in compensation. The very basis of the argument is that only a consolidated sum of Rs.20,000/- has been awarded which is meager keeping in view the nature of the injuries. On the contrary, learned State counsel has argued that the award is adequate in view of the value of money in the year 1986.
Arguments have been scanned. Claimant-appellant had suffered fracture in both his legs. He remained confined in Post Graduate Institute Medical College Hospital, Rohtak, from 21.7.1982 to 30.7.1982.
He was treated by PW-3 Dr. Sukhbir Singh Sangwan. His statement which was recorded after about 2-1/2 years of the disability, suggests that the fracture of the left leg had still not united. He in his statement approved he shortening of the leg on the right side, stiffness of the knee joint and both ankles, causing permanent disability to the extent of 30 per cent. He also opined that he cannot walk without support of a stick and cannot do strenuous work. Every disability does not affect the earning capacity of a person. Admittedly, the appellant had not suffered any loss in income on FAO No. 481 of 1986 3
account of said disability. He admitted that there was no reduction in his salary and he had received his salary even during the period he remained under treatment. Even though there is no loss of income for human suffering resulting from any serious bodily injury, it cannot from its very nature be valued in terms of money. No amount of compensation can restore the physical frame of the appellant. No doubt, PW-3 Dr. S.S.
Sangwan has admitted in cross-examination that stiffness of joints can be removed or decresed by way of doing exercise. However, it cannot be ignored that the appellant suffered 30 per cent permanent disability besides shortening of the leg. In my view, the consolidated sum of Rs.20,000/- awarded is certainly meager. Keeping in view the afore-stated facts, the claimant is awarded a sum of Rs.35,000/- on account of disability, pain and suffering and mental shock. Claimant Ram Phal in his statement as PW-4 has stated that he spent Rs.10/12,000/- on his treatment. There is no evidence to authenticate the same as there are neither any bills or cash memos. He was merely treated at Post Graduate Institute Medical College Hospital, Rohtak, which is a government hospital where expenses are much less in comparison to private hospital. Accordingly, a consolidated sum of Rs.5,000/- would be adequate on account of medical expenses, special diet and transportation. Claimant is thus, held entitled to total compensation of Rs.40,000/-, i.e. Rs.20,000/- over and above the amount already awarded by the Tribunal.
Coming to the rate of interest, previously it used to be 12 per cent, however, in the recent years the bank rates have been considerably reduced and the rate of interest is being awarded at the rate of 7-1/2 per cent in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Limited v. S.Rajapriya and others, (2005-2) P.L.R.
650. Therefore, in that back-drop of the situation, the enhanced compensation in this case shall carry interest at the flat rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till its payment.
In view of the above, the impugned award stands modified in the manner indicated above. Appeal stands disposed of accordingly. No costs.
( ARVIND KUMAR )
May 18, 2006 JUDGE
FAO No. 481 of 1986 4
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