Decided on May 31,1999

BIMLA DEVI Respondents


- (1.) THE present appeal is directed against the award dated 17.9.96 passed by Shri Munish Gupta, Judge Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jammu.
(2.) THE story of the accident is that on March 1, 1985 the deceased Madhu Sudhan, a young bachelor was proceeding to Udhampur from Jammu on his scooter bearing registration No. 3085 -PUX. The scooter collided with Army vehicle 3 tonnes No.79 -B -40666 -Y coming from opposite direction at Nagrota. As a result of the accident the deceased Madhu Sudan was seriously injured and succumbed to the injuries.
(3.) PARENTS of the parties filed the claim petition No. 121 on 29 -8 -85 demanding Rs 4 lakhs as compensation on the ground that the monthly income of the deceased at the time of accident was Rs.1000/ which was likely to increase to Rs.2200/ by the time he was to superannuate. The petition it appears was dismissed for non -prosecution, but later on restored on 20.3.95. The Tribunal calculated monthly income @ Rs.6000/ by assuming the possibility of his promotion. After deducting his personal expenses the monthly dependency of the parents was assessed at Rs.4050/ - and annual dependency at Rs.48600/ -, the final amount of Rs.5,87,00/ - was awarded as compensation including the interest. Appellants challenge the finding of the Tribunal both in respect of negligence of the driver of the Military vehicle as well as quantum of compensation awarded. So far as cause of accident is concerned both the vehicles collided while coming from opposite direction. This fact is stated in the FIR No. 19/95 which was registered in Police station Nagrota on 1.3.85. It is admitted case of the appellants that the accident occurred while driver of offending vehicle NK RD Singh was taking a turn to his right from the main road. It is also stated in the objections that he had signalled his intention to take a right turn by taking out right hand. One of the principles is that whenever a vehicle is to take a right turn it must slow down and preferably stop and take turn only when no vehicle is coming from opposite direction. The deceased it is stated had collided with the body of the vehicle. So the accident is admitted, but negligence is denied. The claimants examined Subash Chander and Sat Paul as witnesses to prove to negligence on the part of the driver of the military vehicle. Both of them had stated that the driver of Army Vehicle took a turn to his right without giving any signal and consequently hit the scooter which the deceased was riding. There is no rebuttal to this evidence because the appellant did not examine the driver of the vehicle. In case of the collusion it is always the driver of the vehicles involved who can best explain the cause of accident. Since the motorist is dead, therefore, his version is not available. The appellants did not examine Nk R.D. Singh respondent -3. Failure to examine him is sufficient to draw adverse inference against him holding him guilty of negligence. Normally in such cases the principle of composite negligence would be applicable, but it was entirely for respondent -driver to explain the cause of accident in the absence of which version put forward by the petitionerâ„¢s witnesses has to be accepted. The appellants have also withhold the conclusion of court of inquiry which they must have held. So the question of composite negligence in this case is ruled out because of failure of appellants to examine the driver as witness. So the finding of the Tribunal that the cause of accident was negligence of the driver of the army vehicle cannot be displaced in view of the admitted facts of the case.;

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