High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Surjit Kaur widow of Balwant Singh, v. Jarnail Singh son of Mohinder Singh, - FAO-1134-1988  RD-P&H 5269 (7 August 2006)
F.A.O. No.1134 of 1988.
Date of Decision: 12.07.2006.
Surjit Kaur widow of Balwant Singh, son of Chand Singh, resident of Village Bahm, Tehsil Muktsar, District Faridkot .
1. Jarnail Singh son of Mohinder Singh, driver of truck No. PUC 8032, resident of Faridkot.
2. Santa Singh son of Sham Singh son of Fateh Singh, owner of Truck No. PUC 8032, resident of Sadiq, Tehsil and District Faridkot.
Coram: Hon'ble Mr.Justice R.S.Madan, J.
Present: Shri Karminder Singh, Advocate, for the appellant.
1. This F.A.O. Bearing No. 1134 of 1988 has arisen out of the award dated 12.07.1988 passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Faridkot (hereinafter referred to as the "Tribunal"), whereby the claimant-appellant was awarded a compensation of Rs.18,000/-, along with costs and interest at the rate of 12% per annum.
2. In brief, the facts of the case are that on 29.08.1986 at about 6/7 P.M. Gurmit Singh (deceased) was going on a cycle ahead of Sampuran Singh towards Abohar road in Muktsar and when he reached near the shop of one Mohan Singh, a tea vendor, truck bearing No. PUC 8032 driven by Jarnail Singh, respondent, came from the opposite direction. The truck was being driven at a high speed, in a rash and negligent manner and it struck against Gurmit Singh while he was on the left side of the road. The occurrence was witnessed by Sampuran Singh and Ishar Singh. Jarnail Sing, respondent, ran away with the truck. His driving licence was found at the spot and that was taken into possession by the police. Sampuran Singh lodged FIR with the police Station City, Muktsar and a case under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code was registered against Jarnail Singh. It is further the case of the claimant that the deceased was doing Diploma in Engineering and was earning Rs.1000/- per month from agricultural pursuits and farming. It is alleged that the claimant was totally dependent upon the deceased. Therefore, she is entitled to get compensation to the tune of Rs.2,50,000/-.
3. Upon notice, the respondents put in appearance and filed two sets of written statements contesting the petition and denying all the averments made in the claim petition. It was, however, pleaded that the deceased was under the influence of liquor at that time and that he received injuries by a having a fall on the road and due to striking against the stone, the deceased suffered death. It was also denied that the deceased was earning anything either from farming or from agricultural pursuits.
4. From the pleadings of the parties, the parties were put to trial on the following issues:-
1. Whether death of Gurmit Singh was caused by Jarnail Singh respondent by driving truck No. PUC 8032 by rash and negligent driving? OPA.
2. Whether the claimant is the legal heir of deceased Gurmit Singh and was dependent on him and is entitled to get compensation? OPA.
3. Whether the claimant is entitled to get any compensation? If so, to what amount and from which of the respondents? OPA
5. Both the parties adduced evidence in support of their contentions. While disposing of issue No.1, the learned Tribunal returning the findings in favour of the claimant and against the respondents holding that the driver of the truck was responsible for causing the accident by driving the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner.
6. While disposing of issue No.2, the Tribunal held that the deceased was not doing any course of Overseer as well as no evidence was brought on the record to prove that the deceased was pursuing any agricultural pursuits and doing dairy business. The tribunal held that the deceased was not earning any income from any source, because no account books were placed on the record.
It was admitted by Surjit Kaur claimant that Gurmit Singh was studying and his maternal uncle was bearing the expenses of his studies. In this view of the matter and keeping in view the age of the claimant as 50 years, on the date of accident and that of Gurmit Singh 28/29 years, as is evident from the post mortem report, the Tribunal held the dependency of Surjit Kaur claimant at Rs.100/- per month and by applying the multiplier of 15 (100 x 12 x 15), awarded a compensation of Rs.18,000/- in all, holding respondent No.1 and 2 jointly and severally liable to pay the compensation to the claimant, from the date of filing of the petition till the realization of the same.
7. Feeling aggrieved against the award passed by the Tribunal, the claimant has preferred this FAO for enhancement of the compensation.
8. I have heard the learned counsel for the appellant and have perused the records.
9. The learned counsel for the appellant contended that the learned Tribunal has erred in holding that the deceased was not earning anything on the date of accident and was a student. Learned counsel further contended that it has come in the statement of Surjit Kaur, mother of the deceased, that the deceased used to cultivate the land and was busy in dairy business. This statement of the claimant remained un-rebutted. He contended that the Tribunal has failed to assess the compensation by ignoring the evidence brought on the record by the claimant.
I do not find any merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant. It has come in the statement of Surjit Kaur claimant herself that the deceased was a student on the date of accident and his expenses were being borne by his maternal uncle. It has also not been shown on the record that he was doing the course of Diploma in Engineering. The account books which were the relevant documents to show that the deceased was earning his livelihood from dairy business were not produced. No copy of the jamabandi has been placed on the record to show that the deceased was cultivating his own land or that of some one else. Thus in the absence of any documentary evidence mentioned above, the bald statement of Sujit Kaur could not be taken into consideration for the purpose of enhancing the compensation.
After going through the evidence brought on the record and the reasoning adopted by the Tribunal, I do not find any ground which entitles the claimant to enhanced compensation. Thus, the compensation awarded by the Tribunal, is just and fair and it does not call for any interference. Accordingly, this FAO is dismissed, leaving the parties to bear their own costs.
July 12, 2006. Judge
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