Decided on July 31,1997



ARUN KUMAR GOEL,J. - (1.)Insurance Company (hereinafter referred to as the appellant) has filed this appeal against the award dated 14.2.1996 passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (II), Kangra at Dharmshala, Camp at Una. By means of impugned award compensation in the sum of Rs.2,47,000/ - with 12% interest has been granted in favour of respondents No. l and 2 (hereinafter referred to as £he claimants). While awarding compensation, it has been ordered that in case the amount of compensation with interest from the date of filing of the claim petition i.e. 21.1.1991 is not deposited within 30 days, the liability for payment of interest has been increased to 15% p.a. from the said date till the date of payment/deposit of the amount; end counsel fee was assessed at Rs. 1100/ -.
(2.)Claimants filed a petition for the grant of compensation in respect of the death of Darshan Lal husband of claimant Santosh Kumari and father of master Gaurav minor and a sum of Rs.5,25,000/ - was claimed both under no fault liability as well as under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act (herein after referred to as the Act). In this petition, Raj Kumar was impleaded as a driver and Kaushal Roller Flour Mills Pvt. Ltd. Taliwal was impleaded as owner and both of them are being referred to hereinafter as driver and owner, respectively. Factum of accident is not disputed by respondents No. l and 2 in the written statement filed them. But at the same time, it was pleaded to be that vehicle was being driven cautiously on his left side and when it came near culvert, deceased suddenly ran across the road, when brakes were applied in order to save the deceased by the driver, but the deceased again turned back and struck with the vehicle. In these circumstances, it was denied that the accident was either due to rash or negligent driving. It was further pleaded that the accident took place due to negligence of the deceased, who was pleaded to behaving some mental dis -order and being a person who was a mentally retarded doing no job. In the reply filed by the appellant -Insurance Company before the Tribunal below who while contesting the claim petition amongst other things, it was pleaded that the vehicle was being driven without a valid licence as also identical pleas of the deceased having mental disorder etc. was also raised by the Insurance Company. In the aforesaid background, the parties went to trial on the following issues :
(3.)Sole ground urged by Sh. Rajiv Mehta in this case is that the Tribunal below had wrongly closed evidence of his client and thereafter fastened it with the liability for payment of the compensation. While advancing his this sub -mission further, Shri Rajiv Mehta urged that his client could have possibly brought its evidence but .despite that the Tribunal below closed its evidence which has not only materially prejudiced his client but has further resulted into failure of justice. As such, he urged for reversal of the impugned award and remitting back the case for trial to the Tribunal below and consequently permitting his client to lead evidence in support of its case. All these submissions have been controvert by Sh. N. K. Thakur, learned counsel for the claimants, who urged that in the instant case, the appellant is abusing the process of law and court and as a step -in -aid in that exercise, the appellant has filed the present appeal. In support of his plea that the evidence had been rightly closed by the Court below, learned counsel appearing for the claimants submitted that despite enormous opportunities and 3 last opportunities no steps had been taken in accordance with law except for filing an application lastly on 24.12.1994.

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