A.N. CHOUDHRY Vs. DEBAHUTI PATTNAIK
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
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R.N.Misra, J. -
(1.) THESE are appeals under Section 110 -D of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1939 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') by the owner of a jeep bearing registration number ORS 2510 against the award of compensation in two separate claim cases instituted under Section 110A of the Act.
(2.) THE brief facts relevant for the appeals are these: The Jeep ORS 2510 belonged to the State of Orissa and it was disposed of by auction sale in June, 1973 and Appellant purchased the same. According to the Appellant, he effected repairs, brought it to a running condition but was not driving the same as the ownership had not been transferred. He had kept the jeep in a shed and had kept the keys with him. This jeep is alleged to have been driven by Appellant's brother Sitaram in the afternoon of 13 -7 -1973. Near about Ainthapali area in the town of Sambalpur, deceased Laxminarayan Pattnaik who was then working in the Family Planning Centre at Ainthapali was returning home from the office riding a cycle. He was on his extreme left of the road. The jeep came at a high speed from opposite direction and knocked him down. It is alleged that it was being driven rashly as also negligently. The cycle came under the wheels of the vehicle and the deceased Laxminarayan sustained multiple injuries on his person, immediately lost his sense and remained as an indoor patient at the Sadar Headquarters Hospital from the time of incident till 25 -7 -1973 when he succumbed to the injuries. Two sets of claims were laid for compensation - -one by the dependant parents and the other by the widow and children of Laxminarayan. The application by the parents was registered as Claim Case No. 1 of 1974 while that of the other dependants was registered as Claim Case No. 30 of 1973. Sitaram, the alleged driver of the vehicle, did not enter contest. The vehicle was admittedly not insured. The claim was contested by the District Collector of Sambalpur representing the State of Orissa and also by the alleged transferee. The State took the stand that ownership of the vehicle had been parted with long before the incident and, therefore, the State had no liability to meet. The alleged owner contended that he had not become owner of the jeep in the absence of transfer of the certificate of registration. His vehicle was not being plied and he had taken due care to see that the vehicle does not come on the road until the papers were regularized.
(3.) THE claimants examined seven witnesses in all. The owner of the vehicle examined himself. On the basis of the evidence placed before the Tribunal, he fixed up the compensation at Rs. 3,732/ - for the parents and at Rs. 26,000/ - for the widow and the children of the deceased and directed that the compensation be recovered from the present Appellant and his brother (Respondent No. 7).;
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