Decided on March 15,1982

DINA NATH Respondents


ANAND, C.J. - (1.) This appeal against the award of the then State Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, arises in the following circumstances :
(2.) One Devi Dass, a resident of village Mand, tehsil Udhampur, was fatally run over by vehicle No. JKA/481 on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway near village Tikkri on 13-7-1971. A petition of claim was presented on behalf of his father, mother and widow against the driver, owners and the insurance company in Dec., 1972, the tribunal awarded Rs. 50,000/- as compensation on 26-6-1982 holding the driver and the owners. jointly and severally liable while the insurance company was absolved of the liability. The appellants who were adjudged owners of the vehicle and made liable to pay the amount of the award have questioned the validity of the award inter alia, on the following grounds : (1) That they were never served and the ex parte award made by the tribunal is nullity as it is vitiated by the illegalities committed by it from the very beginning of the proceedings to the end because they were never served. Besides the order of substituted service against appellant No. 1 is illegal as it was issued without compliance of O. V., R.20, C.P.C.; (2) that they are not the owners of vehicle No. JKA/481 and the evidence relied by the tribunal to hold so is wholly inadmissible and cannot be read against them; and (3) that the tribunal has failed to take notice of the fact that the claim petition was presented one year after the accident which could not be entertained without extending the time by condoning the delay.
(3.) It is unfortunate and painful as well that it took more than a decade for the tribunal to award compensation and that too by short circuiting the law and the procedure for reasons which are not far to seek consequence whereof this appeal has to succeed by bringing the whole proceedings to square one after more than 16 tortuous years during which the claimants had waited to obtain relief as would be evident from what follows.;

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