Decided on May 05,2006

Vaishno Devi Respondents


- (1.) ONE Bachan Lal met with an accident on 28.10.1993, allegedly caused by rash and negligent driving of tractor bearing Chassis No. 933401598 and Engine No. 39 -1301/93 DO 572 driven by Som Dutt and owned by Asha Ram, which is said to be insured with New India Assurance Company. Claim for compensation was lodged by Bachan Lal by filing claim petition No. 92 of 1994. During the pendency of this claim petition, Bachan Lal succumbed to the injuries resulting in filing of another claim petition by Vaishno Devi and others who were dependents on the earnings of Bachan Lal. This claim petition came to be registered as claim petition No.14 of 1995.
(2.) THE Tribunal directed the contest of the claim petition on the following issues: - "(i) Whether death of Bachan Lal was due to injuries which sustained by him in vehicular accident with involvement of vehicle bearing Chassis No. 933401598, Engine No.39 -1301/93 DO 572 at village Parnoo, which was being driven by respondent No.1 in a rash and negligent manner while under employment of respondent No.2? OPP. (ii) In case issue No.1 is proved in affirmative, whether petitioners are legal heirs of deceased entitled to claim compensation? OPP. (iii) In case issue No.2 is proved, whether petitioners are entitled to get compensation, if so, how much, from whom and in what proportion? OPP. (iv) Whether at the time of occurrence, the driver of offending vehicle was not holding a valid driving licence ? OPR. -3 (v) Whether the claim petition is time barred? OPR -3 (vi) Relief."
(3.) THE Insurance Company produced Karnail Singh Clerk, Licensing Authority Ambala; Dev Raj Clerk, Regional Transport Office, Jammu; Bishamber Nanda Branch Manager, New India Assurance Company, Kathua; besides Charan Dass, Sr. Assistant, Divisional Office, New India Assurance Company, Pathankot, to prove that the driver of the offending tractor did not hold a genuine, valid and effective driving licence. Asha Ram, owner, did not produce any evidence in rebuttal. Accordingly, the Tribunal decided issue No.4 in favour of Insurance Company and against the owner holding that licence of Som Dutt, driver, was fake and invalid. Finding substance in the claim petition on the strength of evidence led in support thereof, the Tribunal allowed the claim petition holding the claimants entitled to an amount of Rupees three lacs ninety four thousand alongwith interest at the rate of 9% per annum. On the basis of the finding returned in favour of the Insurance Company, the Tribunal directed the Company to pay the awarded amount to the claimants and thereafter recover it from the owner of the vehicle. Aggrieved by the award of the Tribunal, Asha Ram filed C.I.M.A. No. 176/2002, whereas New India Assurance Company preferred C.I.M.A. No. 141/2002.;

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