CHANDRALEKHA Vs. ANANTRAM PANDEY
LAWS(MPH)-1980-4-28
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
Decided on April 21,1980

Chandralekha and Others Appellant
VERSUS
Anantram Pandey Respondents

JUDGEMENT

M.L. Malik, J. - (1.)THIS order shall be read as order in Miscellaneous (First) Appeal Nos. 241 Bhagwandas Jindal v. Chandralekha and Ors. 242 Bhagwandas Jindal v. Anantram Pandey and two others) all of 1973.
(2.)IN a motor accident which took place on 30.9.1966, on National Highway No. 26, two miles this side of Narsinghpur, Ayodhya Prasad Verma died at the spot and Jugal Kishore Rai died five days after in the hospital. Ayodhya Prasad's widow and children filed a claim petition on 21.11.1966, which was renumbered as claim case No. 6 of 1970. The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Narsinghpur, made an award of Rs. 24,684/ - with interest at 3% per annum and held Bhagwandas Jindal and Durga Prasad jointly and severally liable. The Tribunal found that Bhagwandas Jindal was the owner, in control of the vehicle then and Durga Prasad was his driver.
Jugal Kishore Rai's widow and children preferred a claim petition renumbered as claim case No. 5 of 1970 and an award made in their favour is for Rs. 11,187.61 with interest at 3% per annum.

Jindal has come up in appeal against the two awards. His appeals are numbered as Miscellaneous Appeals Nos. 241 and 242 both of 1973.

The three appeals are being disposed of by this common order.

Admittedly, the vehicle involved in the accident was jeep No. MPJ 9245, which was carrying Jindal, Ayodhya Prasad, Jugal Kishore Rai, Shyamlal Rai, Anirudh Singh and a few others. Durga Prasad was at the wheel. This has been stated by Shyamlal Rai (A.W.2) and Anirudh Singh (A.W.15). Durga Prasad also admitted that he was driving the vehicle at the relevant time. In his written statement, he had tried to attribute the accident to Jindal by saying that Jindal was holding the steering wheel despite his protests since he wanted to learn driving. But from the witness -box he made it clear that he was at the driver's seat and the accident occurred all too suddenly. He could not say how the vehicle turned turtle - The plea taken was that the jeep over -turned due to tyre -burst. This was also given up. Under the circumstances the Maxim res ipsa loquitur squarely applied. A vehicle would not normally over turn unless there was excessive speed and the brakes were suddenly applied or some such cause attributable to the negligence of the driver. The finding as to driver's negligence and that at the relevant time Durga Prasad was at the driving wheel, could not be seriously assailed.

(3.)THE Tribunal also rightly held that the insurance company could not be made liable under the policy which stood in the name of Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh had transferred the vehicle without intimation to the insurer. The vehicle came in possession of Dr. Belapurkar who got the registration transferred in his favour. The insurance policy continued in the name of Bhagat Singh. Dr. Belapurkar transferred the vehicle to Anantram Pandey vide receipt Exh. P -8 for a consideration of Rs. 9,000/ -. The real controversy is whether the vehicle was purchased by Jindal and Poonam Chand Kothari or by Anantram Pandey. The second disputed point is whether Durga Prasad was engaged as a driver by Anantram Pandey or by Jindal and even if by Anantram Pandey, was he under the control of his master when the accident occurred or was he lent to Jindal under an arrangement that so long he did Jindal's work, he would be in his exclusive control and would become on ad hoc his servant.


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