Decided on June 16,2005



A.K.Patnaik, C.J. - (1.) This is an appeal against the order dated 6/1/1996 passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Bilaspur in Claim Case No. 10 of 1994.
(2.) The case of the appellant before the Tribunal was that on 23/6/1993, appellant was going to village Jokhi and respondent No. 1 driving a Hero Honda motor cycle bearing registration No. MIL 1800 dashed against the appellant near a wine shop and as a result the appellant sustained injuries and fell unconscious and when he regained consciousness he found himself in a hospital. An F.I.R. was lodged on 26/6/1993 at Police Station, Civil Lines, Bilaspur by the appellant. Further case of the appellant was that he suffered injuries on his right hand and as a result he was unable to carry on with his work of carpentry. He suffered medical expenses of Rs. 5,000 and also other losses. He, therefore, claimed a sum of Rs. 3,88,000 towards compensation for loss and Rs. 5,000 towards medical expenses. But the Claims Tribunal dismissed the claim of the appellant by the impugned award dated 6/1/1996.
(3.) Mr. Sanjay K. Agrawal, the learned counsel appearing for the appellant submitted that pursuant to the F.I.R. lodged on 26.6.1993 the police filed a challan against respondent No. 1 in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bilaspur and on 3.9.1993, respondent No. 1 appeared before the said court admitted his guilt and was convicted for the offence of rash and negligent driving and was punished with fine. He submitted that although the certified copy of the order dated 3.9.1993 passed by the court of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bilaspur was produced before the Tribunal, the learned Tribunal held that the conviction of respondent No. 1 in the criminal case by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate was not relevant for deciding as to whether respondent No. 1 was guilty of rash and negligent driving. He further submitted that the appellant also examined himself as a witness and also examined two cyclists who were riding on the road when the accident took place to show that aforesaid accident did happen due to rash and negligent driving of respondent No. 1. But the Tribunal has not considered the said evidence. Mr. Sanjay K. Agrawal cited the decision of Andhra Pradesh High Court in R. Venkatappa Naidu v. Thammivevi Sugunamma, 1990 ACJ 1080 (AP), in which it has been held that the admission of the driver before the criminal court that he has driven the vehicle rashly and negligently was admissible under section 18 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and constitutes substantive evidence in the proceedings under section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. He also cited the decision of Lord Denning, M.R. in Nettleship v. Weston, 1972 ACJ 115 (CA, England), to the effect that the conviction in a criminal case is admissible in civil proceedings asprima facie evidence of negligence as has been held in Stupple v. Royal Insurance Co. Ltd., (1970) 3 All ER 230. He also relied on the decision of Karnataka High Court in Vinobabai v. K.S.R.T.C., 1979 ACJ 282 (Karnataka), in which relying on the aforesaid decision of Lord Denning, M.R. in Nettleship v. Weston (supra), Karnataka High Court has held that when the driver is convicted in a regular trial before the criminal court, the fact that he is convicted becomes admissible in evidence in a civil proceeding and it becomes prima facie evidence that driver was culpably negligent in causing the accident. Mr. N.K. Agarwal, Senior Advocate appearing for respondent No. 3 did not dispute the aforesaid position of law but submitted that in the present case the admission has been explained.;

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