GUJARAT STATE ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION Vs. MALUBAI MENAND WIFE OF DECD KANA KACHRA
LAWS(GJH)-1979-4-7
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Decided on April 23,1979

GUJARAT STATE ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION LIMITED Appellant
VERSUS
MALUBAI MENAND WIFE OF DECD.KANA KACHRA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

S.B.MAJMUDAR - (1.) These two first appeals are filed by the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation through its General Manager challenging the common award of compensation as passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Rajkot in two compensation cases bearing claim case No. 14/72 and claim case No. 15/72. The appellant Corporation was original respopondent No. 5 in both the claim cases filed by two separate claimants.
(2.) The facts leading to the present appeals may now be briefly stated:- On 28th September 1971 one S.T. bus No. GTE 3870 collided with a motor truck No. GTD 5119 on Bhavnagar-Rajkot Highway. The said collision between the two aforesaid vehicles resulted in death of two passengers who were driven in the motor truck in question. The dependents of the two victims filed two claim cases before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Rajkot. Claim case No. 14/72 was filed by the heirs and legal representatives of deceased Naran Apla while claim case No 15/72 was filed by the heirs and legal representatives of deceased Kana Kachara. In both these claim case the driver of motor truck in question was joined as opponent No. 1 while the owner of the motor truck was joined as opponent No. 2. He expired pending the claim petition before the Tribunal and his heirs were duly brought on record in each of the two claim cases. Opponent No. 3 in both the claim cases was insurance company with which the motor truck was insured at the relevant time. Opponent No. 4 was the driver of the S.T. bus that collided with the truck and opponent No. 5 was the State Transport Corporation which was the owner of the S.T. bus in question.
(3.) The case of the claimants in both the claim petitions was that on 28 both the deceased and some other persons were taken as paid passengers by the driver of the motor truck No. GTD 5119. They were charged Rs. 1 per passenger and 0-25 P. for each can of milk which was carried by these passengers including the two deceased; that the deceased were permitted to travel in the truck in question from village Halenda on Bhavnagar-Rajkot Highway; that the said truck was proceeding towards Rajkot; that on its onward journey towards Rajkot the said truck was involved in a collision with the oncoming S.T. bus driven by Patel Limba Dahya who was opponent No. 4 in both the cases. This S.T. bus was coming from Rajkot side while the truck in question was proceeding towards Rajkot side; that the truck was filled with bags of fertilizers; that the accident in question took place near the culvert on the road. It is the case of the claimants that the bus was coming from the opposite side; that the driver of the truck did not stop nor did he slow down his vehicle but went on driving rashly and negligently and that too on wrong side of the road occupying most the space of the road. It is further averred by the claimants that as soon as the driver saw the S.T. bus coming from the opposite direction he came right across the road on the other side; that the truck and the S.T. bus collided and the impact was on the right side of both the vehicles. It is further the case of the claimants that even after the impact the truck went 23 meters and 80 centimeters away from the place of accident; that it left the road and went on its side turtled twice and rolled in a ditch which was having one foot of water. Deceased Naran Apala and deceased Kana Kachara who were sitting on the bags of fertilizers loaded in the said truck fell in water and were crushed under the bags of fertilizers. It is further averred that the driver of the bus also drove his vehicle rashly and negligently and dashed the bus with the truck and the culvert due to which the parapet wall 6 ft. in length on the northern side of the road was demolished and the bus proceeded further and dashed against a babul tree and stopped there; that the deceased passengers of the truck viz. Naran Apala and Kana Kachara died oh account of the injuries received by them as a result of the aforesaid accident. It is the case of the claimants in both the claim petitions that the drivers of both the motor vehicles viz. the S.T. bus and the motor truck were rash and negligent; that they drove their respective vehicle by committing breach of the rules and regulations pertaining to the safety of the traffic which would be found on the highway; that both the drivers drove their vehicles with wanton disregard for human life and drove on the curve and the Nala with excessive speed. The claimants contend that if the respective drivers had taken reasonable care and observed the rules of the road this unfortunate accident would have been avoided. Therefore the case of the claimants in both the petition is that the deceased had died due to rash and negligent driving on the part of both the drivers; that as the truck in question belonged to original opponent No. 2 and that it was being driven by opponent No. 1 both of them were joined as parties to the claim petition. They also joined the insurance company which had insured the truck as opponent No. 3 and as already stated above the driver of the S. T. bus was joined as opponent No. 4 and opponent No. 5 as its owner. The common contention of the claimants was that opponents Nos. 2 and 5 were vicariously liable for the tortious acts of their respective drivers and the insurance company which had insured the truck was also liable to make good the compensation claim as it had insured the offending truck. (His Lordship after considering the facts and assessing the evidence in the case held that the accident in question was caused due to the composite negligence and rashness of the drivers of both the vehicles of the S.T. bus and the Goods Truck. The Court also held that the owner of the truck was liable to make 800d the claim of the claimants in both the claim petitions. His Lordship further observed :-);


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