Decided on April 23,1969

SUMAN Appellant


SHIV DAYAL-J. - (1.) THIS is an appeal under section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act from an award of the Claims Tribunal dated August 18, 1966.
(2.) ON March 16, 1965, at about 7.30 P. M., a passenger bus (MPJ 3871), belonging to the M. P. State Road Transport Corporation, dashed against a rickshaw at a place between Rewa and Mangawan on the Hirapur-Rewa road, four miles from Rewa. Raghvendra Singh, who was travelling in the rickshaw, was killed as a result of the accident. His widow, Smt. Suman Singh, lodged a claim before the Claims Tribunal, on the allegations that the bus was being driven rashly and negligently by the driver, that Raghevendra Singh was a Forest Guard, that his age was 32 years, that he was drawing Rs. 125 per month, inclusive of allowances; and that he is survived by his widow (applicant) and five children, the eldest being 10 years old, besides his old mother.' She claimed Rs. 25,000 as the amount which the deceased would have earned upto the date of his retirement; Rs. 8,000 which he would have earned as pension for 15 years after his retirement, and Rs. 20,000 as general damages, total Rs. 53,000. The claim was resisted by the General Manager, M. P. S. R. T. C, on the ground that the driver was not rash or negligent. The quantum of compensation claimed was also denied. The cause of the accident, as stated in the written statement, is that the rickshaw was running at a fast speed in the middle of the road. When the bus blew its horn, the rickshaw driver swerved it to his right. On this the driver of the bus, in order to avert an accident, turned the bus towards the right, but the rickshaw driver suddenly swerved the rickshaw to his left. Then the driver swerved the bus further to the right. In this process the rickshaw struck against the side of the bus. The Claims Tribunal held that the driver of the bus was not rash or negligent, but the driver of the rickshaw was responsible for contributory negligence which resulted in the accident. In reaching that conclusion, the Tribunal found that the driver of the bus had blown the horn to warn the rickshaw driver that the lamps of the bus were lighted at the time of the alleged occurrence; that the speed of the motor bus at the time of the accident was not high; and that the driver had applied brakes in order to stop it and to avert the accident. The tribunal relied on the evidence of Shri V. V. Bakoray (D. W. 1), Deputy Collector, who was a passenger in the bus; Promod Kumar Shrivastava (D. W. 2), another passenger in the bus, Gayaprasad Driver (D. W. 4) and Aga Khan Conductor (D. W. 3). In the result, the Tribunal dismissed the claim.
(3.) LEARNED counsel for the appellant contends that the Tribunal erred in not accepting the evidence of Wali Mohammed (P.W.I) and Ramsunder (P. W. 2). It is further contended that even on the evidence adduced by the respondent, negligence of the driver is proved. Wali Mohammed (P. W. 1) stated that he was travelling in a rickshaw and Raghvendra Singh was travelling in another rickshaw, which met with the accident. The latter was about 15 cubits ahead of his. He says that the rickshaw, which met with the accident, was running on the left side of the road. As a result of the bus having dashed against the rickshaw, Raghvendra Singh died. In cross-examination he was asked whether that rickshaw-wala was running on the right side of the road when the bus swerved to its right to avert an accident but the rickshaw-wala also turned his rickshaw to his own left. The witness denied this suggestion as false. He says that as soon as the rickshaw driver saw the lights of the bus, he turned to the left side of the road. He was unable to state the speed of the bus at the time of the accident. There is nothing in his cross-examination for which he should be disbelieved. The Tribunal has disbelieved him because Shri Bakoray, a Deputy Collector (D. W. 1), says that there was no other rickshaw behind the one which was run over by the bus. But this was not enough to disbelieve the positive evidence of Wali Mohammed. It is likely that in that tense situation, Shri Bakoray may not have noticed the other rickshaw which was not within the ambit of the accident.;

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