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INDERJIT KAUR & ORS versus SOM NATH & ORS

High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh

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Inderjit Kaur & Ors v. Som Nath & Ors - FAO-547-1987 [2006] RD-P&H 3878 (7 July 2006)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYANA, CHANDIGARH

F.A.O. No. 547 of 1987

Date of Decision: July 12,2006

Inderjit Kaur and others .................................. Appellants Versus

Som Nath and others .................................... Respondents CORAM
Hon'ble Mr.Justice Ashutosh Mohunta

Present: Mr. C.S.Pasricha, Advocate

for the appellants.

None for respondent Nos. 1 and 2.

Mr. Inderjit Sharma, Advocate

for respondent No.3

.....

ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA, J.(Oral)

The appellants-claimants have filed the present appeal against the judgment of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Ropar, dated 27.2.1987 by which the appellants were awarded a compensation of Rs.51,000/- along with interest at the rate of 12% per annum on account of the death of Jaswinder Singh.

Briefly the facts of the case are that Jaswinder Singh was driving jeep No.

DBB-8590 and one Tejinder Singh Sidhu was also sitting in the said jeep. They were going from Ropar to Patiala on 19.5.1986 and when they reached near village Charheri, they crossed a matador bearing registration No. PAT-9357 which was being driven by Som Nath. Thereafter the driver of the matador tried to overtake the jeep being driven by Jaswinder Singh from the left hand side and the accident occurred as a result of which the left side of the jeep was smashed and Jaswinder Singh died in the accident.

Tejinder Singh Sidhu received injuries. An FIR No.37 dated 19.5.1986 was lodged by one Arjan Singh who had taken the deceased and the injured to the hospital. The appellants who are the widow, two minor children and aged parents of Jaswinder Singh filed a petition under Section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act claiming compensation of F.A.O. No. 547 of 1987 [ 2 ]

Rs. 5 lacs on account of the death of Jaswinder Singh. Replies were filed by the owner, driver and the Insurance Company of the offending vehicle wherein the stand was that the vehicles were coming from the opposite direction and the accident occurred due to the negligence of the deceased who was driving the jeep. Thus, before the Tribunal there were two conflicting versions with regard to the manner in which the accident had taken place. According to the claimants, the accident had taken place as the driver of the matador was trying to overtake the jeep being driven by the deceased whereas according to the respondents, both the vehicles were coming from the opposite direction and the accident had taken place because of the negligence of the driver of the jeep. The Tribunal after going through the rival pleas of both the parties, discarded the version given by the respondent driver and found that both the vehicles were going in the same direction and while the driver of the matador was trying to overtake the jeep the accident took place. It was found that it was a rainy day and the accident could have taken place because of the jeep's skidding.

Accordingly, the Tribunal held that the accident had taken place because of the contributory negligence of the drivers of both the vehicles. Thus, the compensation awarded was reduced by 50%.

Mr. Pasricha, counsel for the claimants, has vehemently argued that the accident had taken place because the driver of the matador was trying to overtake the jeep from the left hand side. There are accident marks on the front left hand side of the jeep. He has placed reliance on the photographs Exs. R1, R2 and R3 which clearly shows that the matador had hit the jeep on its left hand side and, thus, according to the learned counsel it was the driver of the matador who was at fault.

I have perused the photographs Exs. R1 to R3 and the photographs clearly depict that the left front side of the jeep has been smashed by the matador. In fact the matador is stationed on the left hand side of the jeep which clearly shows that the driver of the matador was trying to overtake the jeep from the wrong side.

In view of the above, I set aside the findings of the Tribunal with regard to the manner in which the accident occurred and hold that the accident occurred not because of the contributory negligence of the drivers of both the vehicles but because of the rash and negligent driving by the F.A.O. No. 547 of 1987 [ 3 ]

driver of the matador.

The next question that arises is - What is the amount of compensation that the appellants are entitled to receive? It has come in the evidence of Inderjit Kaur PW3 that her husband was a dealer in scrap of old machinery and he also used to earn by plying a truck. She has stated that her husband Jaswinder Singh used to earn a sum of Rs.3,000/- per month. However, in cross-examination, this witness has stated that "Jaswinder Singh never maintained any account of his earnings. He was not income tax assessee." Beant Singh PW4, who is the father of the deceased, has stated that Jaswinder Singh was a scrap dealer and was paying the instalments of a truck which had been purchased by Jaswinder Singh. An agreement with regard to the purchase of truck No. HPS-4768 was also produced in evidence. This witness has also stated that the deceased was earning a sum of Rs.3,000/- per month.

The Tribunal has assessed the income of the deceased to be Rs.800/- per month and the dependency has been assessed at Rs.500/- per month.

However, the aforementioned findings cannot be sustained because of the fact that not only the deceased was a scrap dealer but was also paying the instalments of a truck purchased by him. This itself shows that the deceased was earning handsomely although he was not an income tax assessee. The statements of the witnesses have gone unrebutted.

Taking all these facts into consideration, I determine the income of the deceased to be Rs.2100/- per month. If 1/3rd amount is

deducted from the aforesaid amount for personal expenses then the dependency of the deceased comes to Rs.1400/- per month and Rs.16,800/- per annum. The deceased was a young man of 25 years of age, therefore, it would be appropriate to apply a multiplier of 16 and, thus, the amount comes to Rs.2,68,800/-. Apart from the above, the appellants are also held entitled to a sum of Rs.3,000/- for funeral expenses and another sum of Rs.20,000/- for loss of consortium. Thus, the total compensation that the appellants are entitled to receive is determined at Rs.2,91,800/-.

In view of the above, the claimants are held entitled to a compensation of Rs.2,91,800/- along with interest at the rate of 12% per F.A.O. No. 547 of 1987 [ 4 ]

annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till the date of realisation.

The appeal is allowed in the above terms.

12.7.2006 ( ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA )

Rupi JUDGE


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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