UNION OF INDIA Vs. BIMLA DEVI
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
UNION OF INDIA
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(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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