ORISSA ROAD TRANSPORT CO. LTD. Vs. SIBANANDA PATNAIK
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
ORISSA ROAD TRANSPORT CO. LTD.
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R.N.Misra, J. -
(1.) THIS is an appeal under Article 4 of the Orissa High Court Order read with Clause 10 of the Letters Patent and is directed against the appellate decision of our learned brother Acharya, J., in an appeal under Section 110 -D of the Motor Vehicles Act.
(2.) ONE Dr. Shyamananda Patnaik working as Joint Director of Soil Conservation in the employment of the State Government of Orissa was returning in his own car bearing registration No. ORC 7733 from Berhampur to Cuttack on 18.10.1969. The car was being driven by a driver by name Sk. Piru. By about 11 A.M. the car had to negotiate with a stage carriage vehicle bearing registration No. ORG 2743 belonging to the Orissa Road Transport Company when the car wanted to overtake the bus. This happened on the Bhubaneswar side of the Kuakhai bridge. According to the claimants, the driver had allowed pass for the car by giving appropriate: indication and after the car had overtaken the bus and had come to the left side of the road, i.e., while it was in front of the bus, a truck from the opposite direction came. Suddenly, the bus speeded up from behind and dashed against the car from the rear. As an impact of the dash, the car turned right and dashed against the incoming truck. As a result of the collision, Dr. Patnaik died at the spot.
Dr. Patnaik left behind a widow and four children -two being sons and the other two daughters. On their behalf as agent, Sri Brajasundar Mahanti, father -in -law of Dr. Patnaik, laid claim for compensation under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and asked for compensation of Rs. 1,56,000/ -. The claim case came to be registered as Misc. Case No. 203 of 1969. The owner of the bus, the owner of the truck and the insurer of the truck were impleaded as parties. The bus owner in its written statement that the car actually dashed against the truck and after being dashed by the truck had collided with the bus. The bus had thus no role to play in the happening of the accident. The amount of compensation was claimed to be arbitrary and excessive and several other technical objections were also raised. The Insurer filed a written statement and it was claimed that the truck had been brought to a stand -still position when its driver noticed that a car and a bus were racing from the opposite direction. The car overtook the bus at a very high speed and there after slowed down. The bus which was behind the car by then did not slow down and dashed against the back of the car. As an impact of the dash, the car came to collide with the truck. The car was thus completely smashed resulting in the death of Dr. Patnaik. In the circumstances, the truck had no role to play for the accident.
Though in the written statement, no plea of want of jurisdiction of the Tribunal had been raised, an application was made subsequently and Issue No. 2 was relating to jurisdiction of the Tribunal to entertain the claim. That question was taken up for consideration preliminarily and the plea of want of jurisdiction was negatived. Eleven witnesses were examined in support of the claim while six witnesses were examined for the opposite parties. The Tribunal on the basis of the evidence placed before it came to hold that the claimants were entitled to compensation of Rs. 75,000/ - net with interest at six per cent from the date of the order till date of payment and the claim was to be recovered from the bus owner.
(3.) THE bus owner preferred an appeal before this Court being Misc. Appeal No. 29 of 1973. The claimants preferred a cross -appeal. The learned Single Judge dismissed the appeal, but allowed the memorandum of cross -objection by enhancing the compensation from Rs. 75,000/ - to Rs. 97,605/ -. He modified the direction regarding interest and required interest to run from the date of the claim till payment.;
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