High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Mange Ram v. Smt.Saroj & Ors - FAO-3664-2006  RD-P&H 6325 (31 August 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
DATE OF DECISION: 11.8.2006
Smt.Saroj and others
CORAM:- Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uma Nath Singh.
Hon'ble Mr.Justice S.D.Anand.
Present: Mr.J.S.Tanwar, Advocate,
for the appellant.
UMA NATH SINGH, J. (ORAL)
This judgment shall also dispose of connected FAO No.3665 of 2006 (Mange Ram versus Ramphal and others), as both the matters arise out the impugned common award dated 1.6.2006 passed by learned Presiding Officer, Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Bhiwani, in MACT Petition Nos.138 & 122 of 2005, awarding the amounts of Rs.2,40,000/- and Rs.60,000/-, separately, in two death cases.
It appears that on the date of accident, i.e., 16.7.2004, at about 11.00 PM, both the deceased, namely, Rajbir and Sant Lal, were pillion travelling as riders on the motorcycle (HR-16A-5200), being driven by Mange Ram, the appellant, in a rash and negligent manner, from Bhiwani to Dinod. It appears that on reaching near the canal bridge, Bapora, the vehicle dashed against a keekar tree, causing multiple injuries to the pillion riders. They were rushed to the hospital by Lal Singh, brother of deceased Rajbir and one Anil also accompanied them. The owner of the vehicle fled FAO No.3664 of 2006 2
away from the spot with the motorcycle, leaving the injured lying in precarious condition. As the condition of the injured was serious, they were shifted to the PGIMS, Rohtak, where ultimately they succumbed to the injuries. Initially, a DDR was immediately registered and thereafter, it was converted into FIR No.290 on 27.4.2004 at Police Station Sadar, Bhiwani.
Accordingly, in both the cases, two claim petitions (being MACT Petition No.138 of 2005 and MACT Petition No.122 of 2005) were filed before the Tribunal. The Tribunal framed the issues (i) as to whether the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of the vehicle by the owner-appellant; (ii) as to whether the claimants were entitled to receive the compensation, and (iii) as to whether the driver of the vehicle was possessing a valid and effective driving licence on the date of accident.
From claimants side, Smt.Saroj (PW1), Lal Singh (PW2) and Ramphal Singh (PW3) were produced in the witness box. They have supported the claimants' case. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the deceased had, in fact, borrowed the motorcycle of the appellant and as they were drunk, they struck the vehicle against a keekar tree, resulting in multiple injuries to them. Learned counsel also submitted that initially a DDR was recorded and 7 days thereafter, it was converted into an FIR under Sections 279 and 304-A IPC. Admittedly, the appellant is facing a criminal trial for rash and negligent driving in a competent Court. The quantum of the compensation in one death case, being Rs.2,40,000/-, is challenged on the ground of being on the higher side.
We have carefully examined the record and considered the submissions of learned counsel for the appellant. We do not find any force in the submissions for the reasons that the vehicle was not insured; the FAO No.3664 of 2006 3
DDR was immediately lodged after the accident, and the appellant had fled away with his vehicle from the spot. We do not find any reason to interfere with the findings of the Tribunal. Though learned counsel submitted that this judgment might affect the outcome of appellant's impending criminal case, but we do not agree with the submission for the reason that the standard of proof in criminal jurisprudence is stricter than in civil. As regards quantum of compensation, though Smt.Saroj (PW1), widow of deceased Rajbir, has stated that the deceased was earning Rs.8,000/- per month but in the absence of documentary evidence, it was assessed only at Rs.3,000/- per month as per the Deputy Commissioner's Rate for a daily wager. 1/3rd
amount was deducted towards personal expenses and, thus, the annual dependency was assessed at Rs.24,000/-. The deceased was 35 years of age at the time of accident and as per Schedule-II, in such cases, the multiplier of 17 would be applicable, however, as the wife appears to be younger in age, the Tribunal has consciously applied the multiplier of only
10. Thus, the total amount of compensation has come to Rs.2,40,000/-. Besides, the Tribunal has also not awarded any amount towards consortium, loss to the estate and funeral expenses but since the claimants are not in appeal before this Court, we do not express any opinion on that, even though the claimants are the widow and four minor children.
In the death case of Sant Lal, Ramphal (PW3), his son, has stated that his deceased father was earning Rs.3000/- per month but therein also, no document has been produced to prove the income of the deceased as such.
Moreover, the claimants were found to be the major sons and daughters, who are well settled in their lives. Further, the deceased was aged about 60 years. Accordingly, a compensation of only Rs.60,000/- has been granted, FAO No.3664 of 2006 4
which appears to be just and reasonable.
Accordingly, we do not find any merit in both the appeals and, hence, the same are, hereby, dismissed, at the threshold.
( UMA NATH SINGH )
August 11, 2006 ( S.D.ANAND )
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