High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Parbhat Kiran v. Shinder Kaur & Ors. - FAO-2546-2005  RD-P&H 9641 (31 October 2006)
(1) F.A.O. No.2546 of 2005 (O.&M.)
Parbhat Kiran .
Shinder Kaur and others.
(2) F.A.O. No.2547 of 2005 (O.&M.)
Parbhat Kiran .
Ram Kali and others.
Date of Decision: 26.10.2006
CORAM: Hon'ble Mr.Justice Uma Nath Singh
Hon'ble Mr.Justice Mahesh Grover
Present: Shri Ashwani Talwar, Advocate for the appellant.
Shri Maharaj Baksh Singh, Advocate for respondent-United India Insurance Company Ltd.
The present appeals have been filed by the owner of Matador bearing registration No.DDA-9473 which was involved in the accident in F.A.O.No.2546 of 2005 (O.&M.)
which three persons lost their lives including the occupant of the tractor trolley with which it is alleged to have collided.
In the claim petitions preferred by the legal heirs of Raj Kumar and Gurdev Singh, who were killed in the accident, Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Kurukshetra (hereinafter described as `the Tribunal') awarded a sum of Rs.3,56,000/- on account of death of Raj Kumar (F.A.O.No.2547 of 2005), while a sum of Rs.4,52,000/- was awarded in the case of death of Gurdev Singh (FA.O.No.2546 of 2005). The liability to satisfy the award was fastened upon the insurance company of the Matador, but recovery rights were granted to it after the Tribunal held that the driver of the vehicle in question was not having an effective driving licence at the time of accident.
The award of the Tribunal was rendered on 12.9.2001. The present appeals were filed in the year 2005 after an inordinate delay of three years, five months and eleven days. Along with the appeals, separate applications were filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act for condonation of the delay. The reason given is that the counsel for the appellant had not conducted the case properly and did not inform him about the true facts. It is averred that the appellant was assured that he need not bother about the case any more. Besides, it was pleaded that the appellant had sold the Matador way back on 26.8.1995 and the purchaser of the vehicle, i.e.,Shri Ajay Sharma had given an undertaking that he shall be responsible for any accident in future.
Notice of the applications was given to respondent-United India Insurance Company Ltd., which has put in appearance through F.A.O.No.2546 of 2005 (O.&M.)
counsel and has filed reply opposing condonation of delay.
Shri Ashwani Talwar, learned counsel for the appellant very strenuously argued that it was because of the fault of the counsel that correct facts could not be pleaded and brought before the Tribunal and besides, the appellant was not informed about the fate of the case. On the strength of this, Shri Talwar pleaded that the appellant could not be burdened with the liability as determined by the Tribunal.
Shri Maharaj Baksh Singh, learned counsel for the insurance company contended that the delay is unexplained and the explanation given is not satisfactory.
We have heard the learned counsel for the parties at some length and have perused the award which reveals that the driver of the Matador had filed a separate written statement admitting the accident, but denying any fault on his part, whereas the appellant refused to accept the service of notice and was proceeded against ex parte vide order dated 25.7.1997. An application was later moved by the appellant for setting aside ex parte proceedings, but strangely enough, the same was not pressed which is evident from order dated 23.4.2001. The counsel for the appellant before the Tribunal, however, participated in the proceedings. It cannot be believed that the appellant would not have followed up the proceedings with his counsel before the Tribunal. The appellant is a resident of Kurukshetra where the proceedings were going on and if he had chosen not to contact his counsel, then, only he himself, is liable for his own plight. Apparently, a complaint has also been preferred against the said counsel which is of no consequence in so far as the condonation of delay in the present appeals is F.A.O.No.2546 of 2005 (O.&M.)
In P.K.Ramchandran Versus State of Kerala and another, AIR 1998 S.C. 2276, their Lordships of the Supreme Court held that the Court cannot extend the limitation on equitable grounds.
That apart, we have also perused the merits of the case and it transpires from the appellant's own showing that even though the vehicle in question had been sold in the year 1995, yet, he continued to be the registered owner of the same. Nothing has been brought on record to show the compliance of Section 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act,1988.
For the reasons stated above, we do not find any ground to condone the delay in the filing of the appeals. Accordingly, the same are dismissed as barred by time.
( Uma Nath Singh ) (Mahesh Grover )
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