High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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R.K.Gupta v. Ranjit Singh & Ors. - FAO-122-1989  RD-P&H 4605 (21 July 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH.
FAO No. 122 of 1989
Date of Decision : 4 -8-2006
R.K.Gupta ... Appellant.
Ranjit Singh and others. ... Respondents.
CORAM:- HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ARVIND KUMAR
Present: Mr. Pritam Saini, Advocate
for the appellant
Mr. Jaswinder Kumar, Advocate
for Mr. Pardeep Bedi, Advocate,
for respondent No.2
Mr. S.S.Aulakh, Advocate,
for respondent No.5
This appeal is by claimant, R.K.Gupta, directed against award dated 1.12.1988 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Karnal.
In brief, the facts of the case are that on 9.12.1986, deceased Lachhman @ Richha was going from Panipat to village Nizampur. At about 9 PM when he on G.T. Road, Panipat, towards Karnal side near Octroi post, a car bearing registration No. RSC-6078 driven by respondent Ranjit Singh, came from Panipat side and dashed against him. As a result thereof, he died at the spot. After knocking down the said Lachhman, this car further struck against another car bearing No.DBA-2344 due to FAO No.122 of 1989 2
which its occupant R.K.Gupta sustained multiple injuries including compound fracture on his right leg. R.K.Gupta was then taken to Civil Hospital, Panipat, for medical treatment. Thereafter, he got treatment in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. On account of the accident, the dependents of Lachhman deceased, namely, his widow, two minor daughters and two sons, filed claim petition claiming compensation for the death of Lachhman deceased. Injured R.K.Gupta also filed claim petition claiming compensation. Since both the claim petitions related to one accident, the same were consolidated together for decision.
Upon notice of the claim petitions, written statement was filed by respondent No.1 Ranjit Singh, who was driver-cum-owner of the offending car. He denied that the accident as caused due to his rashness and negligence. He pleaded that his car had been stolen from Ghaziabad(UP) on 29.12.1986 and after searching for the same, he lodged a report regarding its theft to the police and thereafter, on receiving information from the Police Station Panipat that his stolen car had been recovered, he went to the police station for taking it on Sapurdari when he was falsely implicated in criminal case arising out of this accident. Respondent no.2, namely, National Insurance Company, denied its liability on the basis of stand taken by respondent No.1 Ranjit Singh. Insurance company pleaded that the amount claimed in both the claim petitions was excessive. Similarly, respondents No.3, 4 and 5 denied their liability on the ground that no negligence was attributed to them in the claim petitions.
On pleadings of the parties, issues were framed whereafter the parties led evidence in support of their case.
The learned Tribunal on appreciation of evidence adduced on record, held the accident proved and accordingly, granted compensation of Rs.48,000/- to the claimants in the case of death of Lachhman, while a sum of Rs.91270/- was allowed as compensation to claimant R.K.Gupta qua the injuries received by him in the accident. Feeling dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation, claimant R.K.Gupta has filed the instant appeal.
There is no cross-appeal by the respondents.
Learned counsel for the parties have been heard.
Appellant, R.K.Gupta, has sought enhancement in compensation. He had four injuries on his person which is evident from the FAO No.122 of 1989 3
statement of PW-1 Dr. O.P.Gogia of Civil Hospital, Panipat, coupled with copy of M.L.R. Exhibit P-1. X-ray report, Exhibit P-3 proved by him suggests that the appellant had a fracture of both bones in the upper end of the right leg. He was mainly treated at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, by Dr. P.S.Maini and PW-6 Dr. K.L.Kalra. His statement coupled with certificate Exhibit P-11 suggests that he was admitted on 31.12.1986 for Condylar fracture right tibia and was operated upon on 1.1.1987 and then discharged on 7.1.1987. He was also examined to assess the percentage of disability. The said certificate, Exhibit P-11, so proved by him shows that the fracture had united but it had caused stiffness of the kneeand shortening of the limb by 1 cm and pain and thus, assessed disability to the extent of 27 per cent. An opinion has been given that he cannot lead normal life because of the said impairment. Obviously, the said percentage of the disability could only be qua limb and not of the entire body. Every disability does not affect the earning capacity of a person. Appellant was Mayor of Delhi as well as running a unit under the name and style of Rampur Engineering Company. PW-12 A.C.Sharma, an employee, though has stated that on account of accident the company suffered loss of Rs.8-10 lacs but it is only his bald statement without any documentary proof. He rather admitted in cross-examination that he has not brought record showing losses in the firm. Exhibit P-62 shows that R.K.Gupta had drawn entire salary and the perquisites for which he was entitled to of the entire financial year of 1986-87. Similarly, there is also no documentary proof if the work of another unit, namely, Chetan Rubber Company, had affected adversely on account of his accident. Therefore, he has failed to prove loss of income on account of the disability. Even though there is no loss of income, no amount of compensation can restore the physical frame of the appellant. He suffered disability to the extent of 27 per cent. He was the Mayor as well as business man. His movements must have been restricted on account of shortening and stiffness of the limb. In this backdrop, though the case relates to the year 1986 and counsel for the insurance company has pointed out that the amount so awarded should be with reference to value of money at that point of time but Rs.40,000/- awarded on account of disability and pain and suffering is on the lower side. It needs enhancement. To my mind, an amount of Rs.65,000/- would be adequate to be awarded on this count.
FAO No.122 of 1989 4
i.e. Rs.25,000/- over and above the amount awarded by the Tribunal. It is ordered accordingly.
Bills of expenses, Exhibits P-12 to P-21 and P-63 to P-144, so tendered by the appellant, had already been assessed by the learned Tribunal to the tune of Rs.31,270/- and have been awarded accordingly and so as the amount of Rs.15,000/- for the future operation for removal of the plate. His claim that he spent Rs.one lac for his treatment taken in U.K., is again not sustainable. There is nothing on record to show that he was ever advised specialist's treatment in U.K. There is also no evidence that the treatment which he claims to have taken in U.K., was not available at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. When such treatment was available in India, there was certainly no necessity for him to go abroad for the said alleged treatment. Therefore, his claim of Rs. One lac has rightly been disallowed by the Tribunal. PW-7, Ashok Malhotra, whom the appellant claims to be his attendant, is again not correct. PW-7 Ashok Malhotra himself admits that he joined the service of R.K.Gupta as Private Secretary. Therefore, if Private Secretary sometimes attended R.K.Gupta, he does not become an Attendant to claim disbursement of salary to him. Thus, this claim has rightly been declined by the learned Tribunal. A sum of Rs.5,000/- has been allowed on account of special diet but no amount of compensation has been given on account of expenses incurred on transportation/conveyance.
The statement of PW-6 Dr. K.L.Kalra suggests that R.K.Gupta had been coming for follow-up treatment for about a year and last attended on 30.12.1987. A sufficient amount must have been spent on conveyance. To my mind, Rs.10,000/- would be adequate to be paid to him on account of transportation/conveyance. It is ordered accordingly. Claimant-appellant, R.K.Gupta is thus, held entitled to receive enhanced compensation of Rs.35,000/-.
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 FAO No.122 of 1989 5
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. The appeal stands disposed of accordingly. No costs.
( ARVIND KUMAR )
August 4, 2006 JUDGE
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