MADHYA PRADESH STATE ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION Vs. SUDHAKAR
LAWS(MPH)-1967-1-9
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
Decided on January 10,1967

MADHYA PRADESH STATE ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION Appellant
VERSUS
SUDHAKAR Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) THIS judgment shall also govern the disposal of Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 10 of 1984 (Sudhaker v. State of M. P. and others); Miscellaneous (First) Appeal no. 16 of 1964 (M. P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Sudhakar and another); Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 17 of 1964 (M. P. State Road Transport corporation v. Sudhakar and another); Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 13 of 1964 (M. P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Shaileshkumar and another); miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 14 of 1964 (M. P. State Road Transport corporation v. Smt. Indubala Bhandari and another) and Miscellaneous (First)Appeal No. 15 of 1964 (M. P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Vasudeo s/o keshavrao Vyas and another ). One of the connected appeals, namely, miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 60 of 1963 (M. P. State Road Transport corporation and another v. Smt. Munnabai and others), which arose out of another Bus accident, has been disposed of by us by a separate judgment. These appeals arise out of a Bus accident that took place on 23-6-1961 at 1-15 p. M. between Guna and Indore, about 26 miles from Guna, when Bus No. MPG 4788, belonging to the M. P. State Road Transport Corporation went off the road, dashed against a tree uprooting it and struck against another tree, as a result of which the Bus toppled down on the left side below the road, Sudhakar received serious burn injuries from the boiling water of the radiator, which burst His wife smt. Usha and her young child aged about one year were killed on the spot. Shrimati Indubala Bhandari and her young son Shaileshkumar, aged about 21/2 years, received severe injuries, Similarly, Vasudeo Vyas also received severe injuries on account of the boiling water from the radiator which burst. As a result, these injured persons made claims before the Claims Tribunal. Sudhakar claimed compensation for the injuries caused to him as also for the death of his wife and young son. It will be convenient to deal with these appeals in different lots. We propose to deal with them as follows: i-A.-- Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 16 of 1964 -- relating to bodily injuries to Sudhakar, in which he was awarded Rs. 10,630 as against the claim of Rs. 25,000; i-B.-- Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No, 15 of 1964 -- relating to the injuries caused to Vasudeo Vyas, in which his claim for Rs. 15,000 was allowed, as against the claim of Rs. 95,000; These two cases are similar. On the other hand, Sudhakar received more severe injuries. II-A -- Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 17 of 1964 -- relating to the death of Smt. Usha Kotasthane, in which Sudhakar's claim for Rs. 15,000 as against Rs. 75,000 was allowed; ii-B -- Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 10 of 1964 -- filed by Sudhakar as a counter appeal of Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 17 of 1964, in which he has claimed enhancement of the compensation by Rs. 60,000; II-C -- Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 12 of 1964 -- relating to the death of the child of Sudhakar, in which compensation amounting to Rs. 7,500 was awarded against the claim of Rs. 40,000; iii-A -- Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 14 of 1964 -- relating to the injuries caused to Smt, Indubala Bhandari resulting in permanent physical incapacity; iii-B -- Miscellaneous (First) Appeal No. 13 of 1964 -- relating to the injuries caused to Shaileshkumar son of Smt. Indubala Bhandari, resulting in permanent physical disabilities;
(2.) THESE appeals arise out of the award dated 30-7-1963, passed by the Claims tribunal Gwalior (Additional District Judge) in different claim cases filed by the injured persons for the injuries caused to them as also for the death of some close relations. The Tribunal invoked the principle of res ipsa loquitur and held that in the absence of any rational and plausible explanation to be adduced by the defendants, an Inference of negligence on the part of the Bus driver could be drawn. As the accident took place for no apparent reason, whatsoever, the same could be attributed to the rash and negligent driving on the part of the Bus driver. For this reason, the M. P. State Road Transport Corporation was liable to pay damages to the injured persona for the bodily injuries caused to them and for the death of their close relations. Common evi-dence was recorded on the general questions affecting all cases. However, further evidence was also recorded with respect to each claim case. Out of these questions, the main questions that arise for consideration in the present appeals are: (i) Whether the accident took place on account of the rash and negligent driving on the part of the Bus driver so as to make the State Road transport Corporation liable in damages; (ii) What should be the principles for fixing the quantum of damages with respect to the death or bodily injuries caused to an individual; before considering the individual cases, we propose to consider the first question relating to negligence, which is common to all the appeals.
(3.) WE may first refer to the appellant's witnesses. Kailashnath Wahi (D. W. 1), who was the Works Manager of the M. B. Roadways at Indore at the relevant time, stated that, on the next day of the accident, he had been to the spot and had inspected the Bus. According to him the front spring of the right-hand side had broken. He had sent a report Ex. D.-1 to the General Manager. According to that report, the right front main spring had broken and the vehicle had been mainly damaged on the left-hand side. The report stated that a detailed report of the accident would be submitted by Mr. Khare of the Central Workshop. However, that detailed report has not been filed on record, although Shri H. N. Khare was examined as D. W. 12, shri H. N. Khare (D. W. 12) stated that at the relevant time, he was Works supervisor and on the next day he had reached some time in the noon. As he needed some instruments, he went back to Guna and went to the spot at about 5 in the evening. He learnt that Mr. Wahi had inspected the spot and gone away. The witness stated that the main front spring of the Bus had broken. He did not find any other defect. He was unable to give the cause of breaking of the spring. Madanlal Sharma (D. W. 2), Booking agent of the Corporation at Guna, stated that the Bus had reached Guna at 11 A. M. It left Guna at 12 in the noon. He filed Ex. D-2 the time-table of the Bus, which had been filled in by the conductor, which he had counter-signed. This witness was examined mainly to prove that the Bus left guna at about 12 in the noon. The accident was said to have taken place at 1-15 p. M. at a distance of 26 miles from Guna. Therefore, it was the defence contention that if the Bus required an hour and a quarter for covering 26 miles, the speed of the Bus at the relevant time could not have been very high. As against this, we have the evidence of intelligent educated persons who know driving motor vehicles, stating that at the relevant time, the speed was very high between 50 to 55 miles per hour. We shall examine that evidence a little later. But the mere fact that the Bus left Guna at 12 will not be of any avail to the defence. It may be that the Bus might have travelled only about 26 miles in an hour, but that will not indicate the speed of the Bus at the time of the accident.;


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