Decided on December 19,1986

S.KIRPAL SINGH Respondents


BHAT, J. - (1.) The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal has refused to grant compensation to the claimant who had preferred a claim before it for compensation in respect of damage to his property. Relying on S. Iqbal Singh v. Jagan Nath reported in 1980 Acc CJ 220 (J and K) the Tribunal held that the relief claimed by the petitioner before him could not be granted under the provisions of Motor Vehicle Act. Therefore the petition was dismissed. On facts it was found that the petitioner was entitled to get an amount of Rs. 1,461/- as compensation for damages, but the relief was refused because there was an authority of this Court on which reliance was placed by the Tribunal.
(2.) In this Civil Misc. Appeal which came before a learned single Judge of this Court, a reference is made to the larger Bench to consider the scope and jurisdiction of Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal regarding the maintainability of the petition filed with respect to the damage caused in an accident to the property only. The learned single Judge had doubted the correctness of the authority reported in 1980 Acc CJ 220 (J and K) (supra) and has opined that on going through some authorities of various High Courts of the country, the was prima facie of the opinion that such a petition was maintainable. This is how this Civil Misc. Appeal is placed before us.
(3.) The short point therefore for consideration in this appeal is as to whether claim petition is maintainable in respect of claim of compensation on account of damage caused in an accident to the property only. The learned single Judge in Iqbal Singh's case (supra) has observed : "That an owner who has not sustained any bodily injury cannot take recourse to S.110 110-A for recovering compensation in respect of his property damaged in the accident. The object of the Act as already observed, is to provide relief to only those who either die or receive bodily injuries due to the accident, and not to others. He cannot be considered injured within the meaning of S.110(A)(1) with the aid of dictionary meaning of the word 'injury'. The word 'injury' occurring in S.110(1) distinctly refers to a bodily injury and has been used in Sub-S.(1) in contradistinction to the word 'damages' occurring in it, which pointedly refers to property. Furthermore, the word 'the' preceding the word 'injury' occurring in Cl.(a) of Sub-S. (1) of S.110-A qualifies its meaning and clearly signifies that it refers to 'bodily injury' mentioned in Sub-S. (1) of S.110, and not to any other injury. To determine precisely its ambit and scope, S.110-A(1) has to be read along with S.110. Had the intention of the legislature been to enlarge the scope of Cl.(a) of Sub-S. (1) immediately preceding the word 'injury' would not have been there." Learned single Judge has disagreed with the view expressed by Punjab and Haryana High Court. In the opinion of the learned single Judge damages can be claimed in respect of the property of a third party even only by a person who had sustained bodily injuries in a vehicular accident. So bodily injury is the sine quo non for claiming compensation and if a person has sustained damage to property whether owned by him or not, he can claim such damages only if he proves that bodily injury was suffered by him. Without there being bodily injury, compensation for damages in respect of property alone cannot be claimed.";

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