BABULAL HIRJI GAJJAR Vs. SARJUBAI
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH (AT: GWALIOR)
Babulal Hirji Gajjar
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(1.) THIS revision arises from a claim for Rs. 21,000 lodged before the Motor Vehicles Tribunal, Gwalior, under section 110 -A of the Motor Vehicles Act. A car, No. BMU 9723, struck against Nathuram on 3 November 1962. He succumbed to the injuries sustained in the accident. There are six non -applicants, non -applicant 3 is an insurance company. The other five non -applicants are the revision -petitioners. They applied to the tribunal to issue a commission for the examination of the revision -petitioners 1, 2 and 3 and also one Mansukhlal. A. question arose whether the tribunal had any power to issue a commission for the examination of witnesses. Another question was whether it was right to issue a commission for the examination at Bombay of the revision petitioners 1, 2, and 3, being themselves parties before the tribunal (there, they are numbered as 1, 5, and 6), particularly when the applicants, by reason of their poverty, would not be able to send their counsel for cross -examination of those witnesses or to engage a fresh counsel at Bombay. The tribunal answered the first question in the negative. It, however, observed that if it had power to issue a commission, it would do so in exercise of its discretion although the witnesses to be examined are parties to the petition. In its opinion, the applicants' poverty was no impediment to the issuance of a commission.
(2.) IN regard to the applicability of the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, powers of Claims Tribunal are defined in section 110 -C of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Rules made thereunder. The first sub -section lays down that the Claims Tribunal may follow such summary procedure as it thinks fit but this is subject to any rules that may be made in that behalf. Sub -section (2) enacts that the Claims Tribunal shall have all the powers of a Civil Court (1) for the purpose (a) of taking evidence on oath, (b) of enforcing the attendance of witnesses, and (c) of compelling discovery and production of documents and material objects; and (1) for such other purposes as may be prescribed.
Rule 14 of the M. P. Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal Rules 1959, reads thus: -
"14. Save as otherwise expressly provided in the Act of these rules the following provisions of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, namely, those contained in Order V, rules 9 to 13 and 15 to 20; Order IX; Order XIII, rules 3 to 10; Order XVI, rules 2 to 21; Order XVII; and Order XXIII, rules 1 to 3, shall apply to proceedings before Claims Tribunal, in so far as they may be applicable thereto:
Provided that -
(a) for the purpose of facilitating the application of the said provisions the Claims Tribunal may construe them with such alterations not affecting the substance as may be necessary or proper to adapt them to the matter before it;
(b) the Claims Tribunal may, for sufficient reasons, proceed otherwise than in accordance with the said provisions, if it is satisfied that the interest of the parties will not thereby be prejudiced."
(3.) FROM these provisions, the following position conspicuously emerges. The Claims Tribunal has the powers of a civil Court for the purpose of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and Order 16, Rules 2 to 21, of the Code of Civil Procedure, have been made applicable. Now, a person residing beyond the territorial limits of the tribunal and 200 miles beyond the precincts other tribunal cannot be compelled by it to personally appear as a witness. This necessarily implies that if a person, whose personal appearance before the tribunal cannot be compelled by virtue of the provisions contained in Order 16, is to be examined as a witness, a commission must necessarily be issued for the purpose. The first proviso to Rule 14 (supra) gives wide discretion to construe the provisions of Rule 14 with such alteration as may be necessary or proper to adapt them to the matter before the tribunal but not so as to effect the substance.;
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