ORIENTAL INSURANCE CO LTD Vs. SHOBBHA BALRAM
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
ORIENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD
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(1.) BY way of this present appeal the appellant insurance company seeks to challenge the impugned Award dated 5. 3. 2007 mainly on the grounds that there was no rash and negligent driving on the part of the driver of the offending vehicle as the deceased, who was driving Maruti car had hit the bus from behind, which resulted in causing fatal injuries to the deceased. Before examining the rival contentions of the parties it would be appropriate to give a brief summary of the facts :-On 5. 7. 1997, deceased Shri K. Balaraman met with an accident at around 5. 30 p. m. while he was driving his Maruti car bearing registration No. DL 2 CG 7982 from his office to his residence. The accident was caused by driver, Radhey Shyam, while driving the bus bearing registration No. DL IP 3462 in a most rash and negligent manner and due to sudden stoppage of the bus without any indication, therefore, the deceased smashed into the bus. A claim petition was filed on 9. 12. 1997 before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and award was made on 5. 3. 2007. Aggrieved with the said award, the appellant insurance company has preferred the present appeal.
(2.) I have heard learned counsel for the parties and have perused the records. The contention of the counsel for the appellant Ms. Neerja Sachdeva is that the learned Tribunal has not properly appreciated and considered the circumstances under which the accident in question had taken place. Counsel for the appellant also contended that the Tribunal has completely ignored the FIR and the other accompanied documents including the site plan, which clearly shows that the alleged offending vehicle was standing right in front of the bus stop just adjacent to the Krishi Bhawan Building and the deceased took a right turn from Raisina Road at a very high speed and in a most rash and negligent manner and while turning on his right smashed into the rare portion of the bus. The counsel for the appellant also contended that the authenticity of the said site plan filed in the criminal proceedings cannot be doubted and even the FIR in the said case was closed due to the said fact of the involvement of the deceased himself in driving his maruti car most recklessly resulting into the said accident. Counsel for the appellant further contended that the Tribunal has unnecessarily given credence to the deposition of one eye witness, who never came forward to give any statement to the police and was in fact a planted witness by the respondents. Counsel further submitted that the respondents are not entitled to any amount of compensation due to no fault liability of the appellant. To substantiate her arguments counsel for the appellant invited my attention to the copy of the site plan placed on the Trial Court records. Counsel for the appellant also invited my attention to the deposition of constable, Sh. Joginder Singh, who in his cross-examination clearly stated that the deceased victim had hit the bus from behind as a result of which he ,had died in the hospital. In support of her arguments counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on the judgment of the Apex Court in Mohd. Hanif and Anr. v. H. P. Road Transport Corpn. and Ors. (2006) 2 SCC (Cri) 293.
(3.) PER contra Mr. H. S. Arora, counsel for the respondent seriously refuted the contentions of the counsel for the appellant. Counsel for the respondent contended that the offending bus had given a sudden abrupt halt without giving any signal and indication and were trying to accommodate some passenger to board the bus due to which the Maruti car coming from behind rammed into the bus. The counsel contended that the bus driver was most rash and negligent in driving the offending vehicle and sudden stoppage of the vehicle only led to causing the said accident. Counsel for the respondent further contended that rash and negligent driving on the part of the driver of the offending vehicle was duly proved by the respondents. In as much as the testimony of the eye witness PW4 remained unrebutted, who in his deposition clearly gave the first hand account of the said accident and held the driver of the bus responsible for causing the said accident. The said witness also stated that his name was noted down by the police on the spot of accident itself, but his statement was not recorded by the police. Counsel further contended that the appellant failed to examine driver of the offending vehicle and, therefore, adverse inference against the appellant has rightly been drawn by the Tribunal. In support of his arguments counsel for, the respondent has placed reliance on the following judgments. 1. Laxmi Gontiya and Anr. v. Nandlal Tahalramani and Ors. , 1999 AC J 241; 2. Mahadeb Roy v. Sikha Das and Ors. , 1999 ACJ 1042; 3. Santosh Kumri v. Ram Sarup etc. , 2001 RLR 241;
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