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MANAGING DIRECTOR versus MEENATCHI SATHANANTHAM

High Court of Madras

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Managing Director v. Meenatchi Sathanantham - CMA. NPD No.2993 of 2005 [2007] RD-TN 1016 (20 March 2007)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS



DATED: 20.03.2007

CORAM:

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE P.D.DINAKARAN

and

THE HONOURABLE MRS.JUSTICE CHITRA VENKATARAMAN

C.M.A. (NPD) No.2993 of 2005

The Managing Director

Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation

(Villupuram Division III) Ltd.

Gandhi Road

Kancheepuram

Chengai M.G.R. District ..Appellant [ Formerly known as M.G.R. Transport

Corporation, Kancheepuram. ]

[ Cause title accepted

order of Court dated

10.8.2005 and made

in CMP.12594/2005. ]

Vs

1. Meenatchi Sathanantham

2. Sathish Anand

3. Santhosh Anand

4. K.Rajendiran

5. Oriental Insurance Company

rep. by its Divisional Manager

No.38

Anna Salai

Madras 2. ..Respondents PRAYER:

Civil Miscellaneous Appeal filed under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, against the judgment and decree dated 30.5.2002 made in M.C.O.P.No.192 of 1999 on the file of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (Additional District Judge-cum-Chief Judicial Magistrate), Chengleput. For appellant : Mr.A.K.Baskara Pandian For respondents 1 to 3 : Mr.C.Johnson JUDGMENT



(Judgment of the Court was delivered by CHITRA VENKATARAMAN,J.) This appeal is by the Transport Corporation, challenging the order of the Tribunal on the question of negligence as well as on the award of compensation. The claimants are the wife and two children, one of whom was a minor at the time of the accident.

2. The accident occurred on 28.6.1993 at about 6.30 hours. The Tribunal went into the evidence of P.W.2, the eye-witness, to come to the conclusion that the driver of the appellant Corporation was negligent in his driving to cause the fatal accident.

3. In the light of the finding, the Tribunal granted a compensation of Rs.16,85,300/-, by fixing the contribution at Rs.15,700/- per month, applying the multiplier of 13 and arriving at the total contribution at Rs.16,32,800/-. It also awarded a sum of Rs.2,000/- towards transportation charges, Rs.500/- towards damage to clothes, Rs.50,000/- towards pain and suffering, thus totalling in all, a sum of Rs.16,85,300/- was awarded as compensation, with interest at 9 per annum.

4. Aggrieved by this award, the Transport Corporation has preferred this appeal.

5. Learned counsel appearing for the appellant reiterated the grounds of appeal to submit that the Tribunal went wrong in fixing the liability on the Transport Corporation driver. A perusal of the order of the Tribunal shows that the accident occurred on 28.6.1993 when the deceased travelled in a car. The eye-witness who deposed as P.W.2, stated that while the car was going from Chengalpattu to Chennai, the bus coming from Chennai to Vandavasi, dashed against the car, resulting in the death of five of the occupants in the car. He deposed that the accident occurred due to the negligent driving of the Transport Corporation driver. The First Information Report marked as Ex.A1 as well as Exs.A13 and A14, certified copies of the charge-sheets, showed that the driver of the appellant Corporation was found to be at fault. The Tribunal further noted that the second respondent in the proceedings was the owner of the car involved in the accident.

6. The third respondent with whom the car was insured, supported the cause of the claimants. The Transport Corporation's driver deposed as R.W.1. He deposed that the car was driven in a negligent manner. Hence, he parked the bus on the road side; yet the car came in a great speed only to dash against the stationed bus to result in the accident. The Transport Corporation also placed reliance on the acquittal before the Magistrate Court. However, the Court below pointed out that for want of evidence, giving the benefit of doubt, the driver was acquitted. Hence, going by the evidence of the eye-witnesses, the Tribunal came to the conclusion that the evidence of the driver of the Transport Corporation could not be accepted, he being an interested testimony. It also pointed out that the appellant had not marked any sketch to show that the bus was parked on the road side to avert the accident; in the circumstances, the Tribunal came to the conclusion that the Transport Corporation driver was responsible for the accident. We do not find any merit in rejecting this finding of the Tribunal, considering the fact that the same was based on the evidence of the eye-witnesses.

7. On the question of compensation, the claimant/respondent contended that the deceased was having income from the sale of tamarind. Apart from this, he had earned as an L.I.C. agent. He was a partner and having share in three firms. The Tribunal found that at the time of the accident, the deceased was 45 years old. It also noted that the deceased was assessed to sales tax, which was evidenced by Ex.A5; that for the assessment year 1985-86, a sum of Rs.534/- was levied as sales tax. It was also stated that he had a turnover of Rs.2,79,000/-. The Tribunal considered this and estimated the income for the year 1993 when the deceased met with an accident; that the approximate earnings of the deceased from the sale of tamarind could be fixed at Rs.2,500/- per month. As regards the commission earned from the L.I.C., the claimant contended that the same was to be at Rs.8,500/-. Exs.A8, A10, A11 and A12 were marked on the side of the claimant. The Tribunal noted that for the year 1990-91, the deceased had received a sum of Rs.86,374/- as commission. Hence, the Tribunal fixed the earnings for the year 1993 at Rs.7,200/-.

8. On the question of the share income from the firms, the claimants stated that the deceased had an income of Rs.20,000/-. Taking note of Ex.A7, the Tribunal fixed the earnings at Rs.6,000/- per month. Thus, taking an overall view, the Tribunal held that the deceased was earning a sum of Rs.15,700/- per month and applying the multiplier 13 and after deducting one-third towards personal expenses, arrived at the contribution of Rs.16,32,800/-.

9. Learned counsel appearing for the appellant submitted that the contribution fixed by the Tribunal was totally unsustainable, considering the fact that there was absolutely no evidence to support the earnings of the deceased at Rs.15,700/- per month. He pointed out that the Tribunal fixed the earnings from L.I.C. commission, taking note of his earnings during 1990-91 and from the tamarind business, on the basis of the turnover in the year 1985-86. There was absolutely no evidence from the claimants as regards the income earned either during the relevant period when the accident occurred or immediately before the same, having proximity to the year of accident. Consequently, the entire exercise was arbitrary and without any basis.

10. We agree with the submission made by the learned counsel for the appellant.

11. A perusal of the order of the Tribunal shows that there is absolutely no evidence for the Tribunal to fix the earnings from the tamarind business at Rs.2,500/- per month. The evidence marked was with reference to the year 1985-86. Thereafterwards, no evidence was filed for the subsequent years to show that the deceased, in fact, either carried on the business or to the extent of the income earned during this period. In the above circumstances, it is difficult to accept the plea that the deceased had income through the tamarind business. On the commission earned from L.I.C., the claimants have marked Ex.A9 to show that he was earning a sum of Rs.86,374/-. However, as regards his income as a partner in the firms, no evidence was marked, except to state that the deceased was a partner in the firms. Hence, in the absence of any material to show the receipt of income from these firms, it is difficult to accept the plea on this front to fix the income at Rs.6,000/- per month from the firms. Hence, taking note of the overall view in this matter, the contribution at Rs.6,500/- per month would be a fair estimate to work out the total contribution by adopting the multiplier 13. Hence, we feel, in the interest of justice, that the total contribution be fixed at Rs.10,14,000/-. The Tribunal also granted a sum of Rs.2,000/- towards transportation charges and Rs.500/- towards damage to the clothes, which are hereby confirmed. The Tribunal had not granted any amount towards funeral expenses. Hence, a sum of Rs.3,000/- merits to be granted under this head. Apart from that, the claimants deserve compensation for the loss of consortium as well as for the loss of love and affection to the children. Hence, a sum of Rs.10,000/- is awarded towards loss of consortium and Rs.10,000/- each to the two children is awarded amounting to Rs.20,000/-. Taking a reasonable view in this matter, the following compensation is fixed: =============================================================== Towards contribution to the family (6500 X 12 X 13) : Rs.10,14,000/- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Towards loss of consortium to the wife : Rs. 10,000/- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Towards loss of love and affection to

the children (Rs.10,000/- X 2) : Rs. 20,000/- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Towards funeral expenses : Rs. 3,000/- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Towards transportation charges : Rs. 2,000/- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Towards damage to clothes : Rs. 500/- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ----------------- Rs.10,49,500/- Rounded off to : Rs.10,50,000/- ----------------- =============================================================== Thus, a sum of Rs.10,50,000/- is granted as compensation with interest at 9 per annum. The order of the Tribunal, hence, is hereby reversed, fixing the compensation at Rs.10,50,000/- as against Rs.16,85,300/- with interest at 9% per annum. The appeal is allowed in part. There will, however, be no order as to costs. Connected C.M.P.Nos.15585 of 2005 and 965 of 2007 are closed. ksv

To:

The Additional District Judge cum Chief Judicial Magistrate Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal

Chengleput.

[PRV/10692]


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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