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Accident claim M.V. Act – Contributory Negligence – absence of any cogent evidence- High court reduce the compensation to 50% under the impression the deceased might be aged 18 years below , could not have been permitted to drive a vehicle- Apex court held that In the instant case, there is no specific evidence to prove that the accident has taken place due to rash and negligent driving of the deceased scooterist. In the absence of any cogent evidence to prove the plea of contributory negligence, the said doctrine of common law cannot be applied in the present case. and Apex court set aside the judgment of High court and allowed the appeal = MEERA DEVI & ANR. … APPELLANTS VERSUS H.R.T.C. & ORS. … RESPONDENTS = 2014 (March. Part )judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41308

Accident claim M.V. Act – Contributory Negligence – absence of any cogent evidence- High court reduce the compensation to 50% under the impression the deceased might be aged 18 years below , could not have been permitted to drive a vehicle- Apex court held that In the instant case, there is no specific  evidence  to  prove  that  the accident has taken place  due  to  rash  and  negligent  driving  of  the deceased scooterist.  

In the absence of any cogent evidence to prove  the plea of contributory negligence, the said doctrine of common  law  cannot be applied in the present case. and Apex court set aside the judgment of High court and allowed the appeal =

High Court of  Himachal  Pradesh  at

        Shimla in FAO No. 441 of 2003 whereby the  amount  of  compensation

        awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal,  Mandi  (for  short,

        ‘the Tribunal’) in Claim Petition No. 58 of 2001 was  reduced  from

        Rs.3,17,200/-  to  Rs.1,58,600/-  on  the  ground  of  contributory

        negligence.

the High

        Court held that since the deceased not even  being  18  years’  old

        could not have been permitted to drive the scooter, the accident in

        question occurred due to contributory negligence both on  the  part

        of the scooterist and the bus driver in equal  measure  and,  thus,

        reduced  the  amount  of   compensation   from   Rs.3,17,200/-   to

        Rs.1,58,600/-.  The appellants have come  in  appeal  against  this

        judgment dated 27.03.2006. =

 It is not in dispute that the deceased was  the  only  son  of  his

        parents, i.e., the appellants herein. 

 It is also  not  in  dispute

        that when the collusion between the scooter and the bus took  place

        on the fateful day at a place known as  Nabahi,  the  deceased  was

        driving scooter on his left side towards Sarkaghat from Mandi side.

         

Admittedly, at the site where there was a curve,  the  bus  driver

        did not blow the horn and the bus was being driven at a  very  high

        speed.  

All this is corroborated from the testimony  of  PW-3  Lekh

        Ram, who is stated to be an eye witness to  the  accident  and  not

        related to the deceased scooterist.

 

 

 

   10.To prove the contributory negligence, there must  be cogent  evidence.

  

 In the instant case, there is no specific  evidence  to  prove  that  the

   accident has taken place  due  to  rash  and  negligent  driving  of  the

   deceased scooterist.  

In the absence of any cogent evidence to prove  the

   plea of contributory negligence, the said doctrine of common  law  cannot

   be applied in the present case.  

We are,  thus,  of  the  view  that  the

   reasoning given by the High Court  has  no  basis  and  the  compensation

   awarded by the  Tribunal  was  just  and  reasonable  in  the  facts  and

   circumstances of the case.

 

 

   11.In view of above, we allow  the  appeal.   Accordingly,  the  impugned

   judgment of the High Court dated  27.03.2006  is set aside and the award

   of the Tribunal dated 01.07.20013 is upheld, with no orders as to costs. 

2014 (March. Part )judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41308

P SATHASIVAM, RANJAN GOGOI, N.V. RAMANA

NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5764 OF 2008

MEERA DEVI & ANR. … APPELLANTS
VERSUS
H.R.T.C. & ORS. … RESPONDENTS
J U D G M E N T

N.V.RAMANA,J.

1. The appellants by way of this appeal has impugned the judgment
dated 27.03.2006 passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at
Shimla in FAO No. 441 of 2003 whereby the amount of compensation
awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Mandi (for short,
‘the Tribunal’) in Claim Petition No. 58 of 2001 was reduced from
Rs.3,17,200/- to Rs.1,58,600/- on the ground of contributory
negligence.
2. On 31.05.2001, the deceased Upamnyu, who was the only son of the
appellants herein, was driving scooter having registration No. HP-
28-215 from Mandi side towards Sarkaghat. When he reached at a
place known as Nabahi, an accident took place between the said
scooter and bus having registration No. HP-28-715, which was being
driven by respondent No. 3 herein, namely, Gian Chand, driver in
H.R.T.C., Region Sakarghat, Mandi, H.P. Since the deceased got
injured in that accident, he was taken to C.HC. Sakarghat and
thereafter when he was being taken to PGI Chandigarh, he died on
his way.

3. The appellants claimed that the said accident had occurred due to
rash and negligent driving of respondent No. 3 herein, who was
driving the bus in high speed. It was averred by the appellants
that the deceased, who was a student, was also doing agriculture
and household work earning Rs.4,000/- per month and they being
parents of the deceased were dependant upon him. With these
averments, the appellants filed a claim petition under Section 166
of The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (for short, ‘the said Act’) on
21.07.2001 and sought compensation to the tune of Rs.15 lakhs. The
respondents contested the claim of the appellants on the ground
that respondent No. 3 on seeing the deceased coming on scooter from
the opposite side at a high speed had stopped the bus and when the
scooter collided with the bumper of the bus, the bus was in a
stationary condition.

4. The Tribunal vide award dated 01.07.20013, while relying on the
testimony of PW-3 Lekh Ram and other evidence placed on record,
returned a categorical finding that the said accident has taken
place due to rash and negligent driving of the driver of the bus as
the bus driver did not blow the horn at the site where there is a
curve and, thus, awarded compensation of Rs.3,17,200/- along with
interest.

5. Against the aforesaid judgment of the Tribunal, the respondents
filed an appeal under Section 173 of the said Act before the High
Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla, which was registered as FAO
No. 441 of 2003. Vide impugned judgment dated 27.03.2006, the High
Court held that since the deceased not even being 18 years’ old
could not have been permitted to drive the scooter, the accident in
question occurred due to contributory negligence both on the part
of the scooterist and the bus driver in equal measure and, thus,
reduced the amount of compensation from Rs.3,17,200/- to
Rs.1,58,600/-. The appellants have come in appeal against this
judgment dated 27.03.2006.

6. Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the High Court,
in the absence of any cogent material placed on record, erred in
holding that the accident occurred due to the contributory
negligence of the driver of the bus and the deceased scooterist.

7. On the other hand, learned senior counsel for the respondents
vehemently contended that the High Court was justified in coming to
the aforesaid conclusion of modifying the compensation so awarded
as well as not taking cognizance of the testimony of PW-3 Lekh Ram.

8. We have gone through the material placed on record and heard
learned counsel for the parties.

9. It is not in dispute that the deceased was the only son of his
parents, i.e., the appellants herein. It is also not in dispute
that when the collusion between the scooter and the bus took place
on the fateful day at a place known as Nabahi, the deceased was
driving scooter on his left side towards Sarkaghat from Mandi side.
Admittedly, at the site where there was a curve, the bus driver
did not blow the horn and the bus was being driven at a very high
speed. All this is corroborated from the testimony of PW-3 Lekh
Ram, who is stated to be an eye witness to the accident and not
related to the deceased scooterist.

10.To prove the contributory negligence, there must be cogent evidence.
In the instant case, there is no specific evidence to prove that the
accident has taken place due to rash and negligent driving of the
deceased scooterist. In the absence of any cogent evidence to prove the
plea of contributory negligence, the said doctrine of common law cannot
be applied in the present case. We are, thus, of the view that the
reasoning given by the High Court has no basis and the compensation
awarded by the Tribunal was just and reasonable in the facts and
circumstances of the case.
11.In view of above, we allow the appeal. Accordingly, the impugned
judgment of the High Court dated 27.03.2006 is set aside and the award
of the Tribunal dated 01.07.20013 is upheld, with no orders as to costs.
………….C.J.I.
(P. Sathasivam)
……………..J.
(Ranjan Gogoi)
……………..J.
(N.V. Ramana)
New Delhi;
March 10, 2014.

C.A.No.5764 of 2008

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