//
you're reading...
legal issues

Accident claim – M.V. Act – Over taking a bus at red light area after green light on by a motor cyclist invites danger – motor cyclist was at wrong but not bus driver -FIR Registered against Bus driver – Accident while over taking the bus at red light area where passage was narrow – a motor cyclist died- Tribunal awarded compensation – High court reversed as there is no negligence on the part of the Bus Driver – Negligence lies on Motor Cyclist – mere registration of F.I.R. not a bar to come to different conclusion = LACHOO RAM & ORS. … APPELLANT VS. HIMACHAL ROAD TRANSPORT CORPN. … RESPONDENTS 2014 ( January part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41180

Accident claim – M.V. Act – Over taking a bus at red light area after green light on by a motor cyclist invites danger – motor cyclist was at wrong but not bus driver -FIR Registered against Bus driver – Accident while over taking the bus at red light area where passage was narrow – a motor cyclist died- Tribunal awarded compensation – High court reversed as there is no negligence on the part of the Bus Driver – Negligence lies on Motor Cyclist – mere registration of F.I.R. not a bar to come to different conclusion =

 The High Court reversed  the  findings  given  by

the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (II) at Shimla  in  MACT  No.  68-S/2  of

1995 and has set aside the Award dated  30.11.1998  whereby  the  appellants

were  allowed  compensation   of   Rs.2,74,000/-   including   the   interim

compensation, if already awarded to them along with interest at the rate  of

12% p.a. from the date of the claim petition. =

 

the High Court failed to keep in  view  the

apparent incorrectness of the defence plea which was of total denial of  the

case of the claimants that the bus of the respondent was involved in  the  accident

with the motor cycle of the deceased and the  deceased  died  due  to  such

accident.  The judgment of the High Court is further in  criticism  on  the

ground that the Court has not given due weightage to the fact that the  bus

and its driver were detained almost immediately after  the  occurrence  and

FIR was also registered against the driver. =

there is no  direct

evidence to show that the bus was involved in the accident and even if  that

is presumed, the evidence and the circumstances show that negligence was  on

the part of the deceased in trying to overtake the  bus  on  a  very  narrow

road in the town of Shimla immediately after  the  bus  has  started  moving

when the traffic signal turned green.

 

the defence of bus  – One, that the  bus

was not involved in the accident and second, that the accident did not  take

place  due  to  rash  and  negligent  driving  of  respondent   no.2.    The

registration of the FIR against the driver soon after the accident  was  not

denied and only a plea was taken  that  the  criminal  case  was  registered

falsely and in fact the deceased was never hit by the bus.  Further  defence

was taken that the deceased was an untrained  driver  and  he  himself  fell

down from the motor cycle and died due to his own fault. –

 

 “However, even if it is held that there was some  collision  the

        negligence is that of the motor cyclist himself since he could  not

        and should not have tried to overtake the bus  on  the  red  light.

        The road at the red light is extremely narrow and from  a  standing

        position to  suddenly  try  to  overtake  the  bus  is  asking  for

        trouble.”

 

 

9.    Although the High Court has given a tentative view,  as  noted  above,

for the reasons that there were some witnesses present  near  the  place  of

occurrence and they have claimed that the accident  was  between  the  motor

cycle and the bus and FIR was filed soon after the  occurrence  against  the

driver, we have no hesitation in  accepting  the  submission  that  on  this

issue the High Court should have  accepted  the  finding  of  the  Tribunal,

specially in view of its own observation noted above.

 

But simply the involvement of the bus in the accident cannot make  the

respondent liable to pay compensation unless it can be held on the basis  of

materials on record that the accident was caused by rash and  negligent  act

of the driver-respondent no.2.  

 

we  find  the  reasons

given by the High Court to be much more cogent and acceptable in  coming  to

the conclusion noted above.  Since the bus was standing  at  the  red  light

and on being asked, soon after starting from the traffic signal  it  stopped

within 100 to 150 yards, it has rightly been reasoned  that  the  bus  could

not have started on a high speed. 

The road at the place of the accident  was

admittedly very narrow  and  PW.2,  who  has  been  found  reliable  by  the

Tribunal as well as by the High Court and was present on the spot,  has  not

claimed that the bus driver  had  given  a  signal  to  the  deceased  motor

cyclist to overtake him. 

This witness could  not  see  the  actual  accident

because at that time the motorcyclist, in an effort to overtake the bus  had

gone on its right side and was not visible and therefore he could only  hear

the sound of crash.  

It is not the  case  of  any  witnesses  that  the  bus

driver took any sudden  turn  while  proceeding  forward  from  the  traffic

signal or that he swerved the bus to the right side.

11.   In the facts of the case it  is  not  found  possible  to  accept  the

contention on behalf of the appellants/claimants that the  accident  was  on

account of rash or negligent driving by the driver-the respondent no.2.   In

that view of the matter it is not found possible to give any relief  to  the

appellants.

12.   The appeal is dismissed but without any costs.

 

2014 ( January part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41180

 

NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2570 OF 2008
LACHOO RAM & ORS. … APPELLANT

VS.

HIMACHAL ROAD TRANSPORT CORPN. … RESPONDENTS

 
J U D G M E N T

 

 
SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.
Heard learned counsel for the appellants and learned counsel for the
respondent-Himachal Road Transport Corporation.
2. The appellants are claimants. They are aggrieved by the judgment and
order under appeal whereby the High Court reversed the findings given by
the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (II) at Shimla in MACT No. 68-S/2 of
1995 and has set aside the Award dated 30.11.1998 whereby the appellants
were allowed compensation of Rs.2,74,000/- including the interim
compensation, if already awarded to them along with interest at the rate of
12% p.a. from the date of the claim petition.
3. According to the learned counsel for the appellants learned High
Court was not justified in substituting its own findings in place of those
of the Tribunal by disbelieving statement of PW.2 Shobha Ram and PW.6
Hemant Kumar. The main criticism of the High Court judgment is on the
ground that the case should have been decided on the basis of preponderance
of probabilities as was done by the Tribunal whereas High Court has
required a much higher degree of proof as if it was dealing with a criminal
trial. The order under appeal has also been criticized on the ground that
reasonings are perverse and that the High Court failed to keep in view the
apparent incorrectness of the defence plea which was of total denial of the
case of
the claimants that the bus of the respondent was involved in the accident
with the motor cycle of the deceased and the deceased died due to such
accident. The judgment of the High Court is further in criticism on the
ground that the Court has not given due weightage to the fact that the bus
and its driver were detained almost immediately after the occurrence and
FIR was also registered against the driver.
4. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent-Corporation has
taken a counter stand that as a First Appellate Court the High Court was
bound to enter into evidence, evaluate it carefully and give its own
findings with reasons for the same. According to him the reasons are sound
for the view taken by the High Court which has held that there is no direct
evidence to show that the bus was involved in the accident and even if that
is presumed, the evidence and the circumstances show that negligence was on
the part of the deceased in trying to overtake the bus on a very narrow
road in the town of Shimla immediately after the bus has started moving
when the traffic signal turned green.
5. We have carefully gone through the materials on record and the appeal
including counter affidavit as well as statement of case of both the
parties.
6. According to the case of the appellants/claimants the deceased Dalip
Singh lost his life immediately after the accident as a result of rash and
negligent driving of a bus belonging to the Corporation driven by Lachoo
Ram respondent no.2 on 12.07.1995. It is also their case that the accident
occurred near traffic lights on the narrow Cart Road at the point near
Gurudwara Singh Sabha and State Bus Terminal, Shimla, which is hardly 100-
150 yards from the Gurudwara. Both, the deceased on a motor cycle and the
bus had stopped at the traffic light. When the light turned green, the
vehicles started. The respondent no.2 allegedly moved the bus very fast in
a rash and negligent manner and struck against the motorcycle by its side.
The deceased fell down and was fatally wounded leading to immediate death.
7. The case of the respondent is that there was no accident involving
the bus of the Corporation and in the facts of the case there could be no
question of rash and negligent driving attributed to respondent no.2. The
claim for compensation was resisted on both the grounds – One, that the bus
was not involved in the accident and second, that the accident did not take
place due to rash and negligent driving of respondent no.2. The
registration of the FIR against the driver soon after the accident was not
denied and only a plea was taken that the criminal case was registered
falsely and in fact the deceased was never hit by the bus. Further defence
was taken that the deceased was an untrained driver and he himself fell
down from the motor cycle and died due to his own fault.
8. The evidence and the materials as discussed by the Tribunal and the
High Court lead to the conclusion that if the principle of preponderance of
probabilities is applied, the Tribunal was right in giving a finding that
the motor cycle of the deceased and the bus were involved in the accident.
Even the High Court has not totally overruled that possibility as is clear
from the observation in the second paragraph of its judgment on page 10 of
the paper book in the following words:
“However, even if it is held that there was some collision the
negligence is that of the motor cyclist himself since he could not
and should not have tried to overtake the bus on the red light.
The road at the red light is extremely narrow and from a standing
position to suddenly try to overtake the bus is asking for
trouble.”
9. Although the High Court has given a tentative view, as noted above,
for the reasons that there were some witnesses present near the place of
occurrence and they have claimed that the accident was between the motor
cycle and the bus and FIR was filed soon after the occurrence against the
driver, we have no hesitation in accepting the submission that on this
issue the High Court should have accepted the finding of the Tribunal,
specially in view of its own observation noted above.
10. But simply the involvement of the bus in the accident cannot make the
respondent liable to pay compensation unless it can be held on the basis of
materials on record that the accident was caused by rash and negligent act
of the driver-respondent no.2. On this issue, on comparing the reasons
given by the Tribunal while discussing the issue no.1 and those given by
the High Court on pages 10 and 11 of the paper book, we find the reasons
given by the High Court to be much more cogent and acceptable in coming to
the conclusion noted above. Since the bus was standing at the red light
and on being asked, soon after starting from the traffic signal it stopped
within 100 to 150 yards, it has rightly been reasoned that the bus could
not have started on a high speed. The road at the place of the accident was
admittedly very narrow and PW.2, who has been found reliable by the
Tribunal as well as by the High Court and was present on the spot, has not
claimed that the bus driver had given a signal to the deceased motor
cyclist to overtake him. This witness could not see the actual accident
because at that time the motorcyclist, in an effort to overtake the bus had
gone on its right side and was not visible and therefore he could only hear
the sound of crash. It is not the case of any witnesses that the bus
driver took any sudden turn while proceeding forward from the traffic
signal or that he swerved the bus to the right side.
11. In the facts of the case it is not found possible to accept the
contention on behalf of the appellants/claimants that the accident was on
account of rash or negligent driving by the driver-the respondent no.2. In
that view of the matter it is not found possible to give any relief to the
appellants.
12. The appeal is dismissed but without any costs.

……………………………………………C.J.I.
(P. SATHASIVAM)

 
……………………………………………………J.
(RANJAN GOGOI)

 
……………………………………………………J.
(SHIVA KIRTI SINGH)
New Delhi,
January 28, 2014.

Advertisements

About advocatemmmohan

ADVOCATE

Discussion

Comments are closed.

Blog Stats

  • 1,937,068 hits

ADVOCATE MMMOHAN

archieves

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,874 other followers

Follow advocatemmmohan on WordPress.com