P.K. Banerji, J. -
(1.)THESE four appeals, two at the instance of M/s. Kota Sand Company, Gumanpura, Kota and the other two at the instance of State of Rajasthan, arose out of an accident which occurred on 11th November, 1970.
(2.)ONE Mrs. Girija Krishnamurthi and her minor son, K. Ramani filed a claim petition against M/s. Kota Sand Company and others on 7th January, 1971. In the other case, Mrs. Santosh Talwar, wife of deceased Shyamlal and her minor daughters filed a case against the Appellants on 23rd November, 1970, arising out of the accident dated 11th November, 1970. Respondents 1 and 2 made a claim of Rs. 7,42,522/ - and in that of Mrs. Santosh Talwar alongwith her daughters, the claim was of Rs. 4,94,472/ - . After consideration of the evidence and the other facts and circumstances of the case, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Kota (hereinafter for short 'the Tribunal') in Girija Krishnamurthi's case, passed a decree for Rs. 1,37,000/ - ; and in that of Mrs. Santosh Talwar's case, a decree for Rs. 1,11,000/ - was passed.
It appears that on the fateful day, Mr. V. Krishnamurthi, Deputy Director, accompanied by Mr. K.G.S. Iyengar, Executive Engineer, Hydrolic Division, J.S. Dam, Mr. A.N. Singh, Director, Mr. Shyamlal, Executive Engineer and Wahid Beg, was travelling in a jeep RJR 3400, from Kota Dam to Kota City. It is alleged that the jeep started at about 6.15 p.m. from Kota Dam and it had hardly covered a distance of 7 kms. that at about 6.45 p.m., one truck RJR 5757, being driven by Raghuvir Singh, driver, of which, M/s. Kota Sand Company was the owner, dashed from the opposite direction with the jeep driven by Mr. Iyengar on its right side. The truck was so rashly and negligently driven that the right portion of the mud -guard of the truck collided with the stepney, which was fixed on the right side of the jeep and consequently, the right wheel of the jeep also collided with the back right wheel of the truck. Due to impact of the collision, the jeep overturned and fell at a distance of about 57 feet from the place of occurrence. The bolts of the stepney were broken; the stepney fell down at a very distant place; the jeep was seriously damaged; and its right portion, where Mr. Talwar was sitting, was smashed. Due to the accident, Mr. Talwar and Mr. Krishnamurthi were seriously injured. Iyengar and Wahid Beg were also injured. All the four persons were then taken to hospital. Mr. Talwar died on the way, while Mr. Krishnamurthi died as soon as he was brought to the hospital. Mr. Iyengar and Wahid Beg were admitted to the hospital and fortunately, they were saved. In the claim petitions, it was stated that the cause of the accident was rash and negligent driving by Raghubir Singh, driver of the truck, therefore, the driver and the owner of the truck, i.e. Appellant M/s. Kota Sand Company and the insurance company were liable for the compensation. In the claim petitions, non -Applicants 1, 2, 3 and 5 filed separate written statements and it was stated that the entire negligence was due to Mr. Iyengar, who was driving the jeep at a high speed. It was further contended that the Applicants had received the gratuity and insurance amount, on the death of Mr. Krishnamurthi and so, they could not claim compensation.
(3.)IT may be noted here that originally the State of Rajasthan and Mr. Iyengar were made parties to the proceeding and the others were added on 20th January, 1973, as such Mr. Pareek, appearing for the State of Rajasthan argued about the bar of limitation in order to absolve the liability, if any, for damages to the claimants. The Tribunal held, inter alia, that both the drivers of the jeep as well as the truck driver were negligent. Secondly, it was held that if both Mr. Iyengar and the truck driver were not negligent, the accident could have been avoided, as they had seen each other on the straight road from a very long distance. The jeep was being driven, according to the evidence, at the speed of 60 kms. per hour. About the speed of the truck, there is no confusion that in any case when it was found after the impact, the jeep was thrown at a distance of about 57 feet. As is evident, there cannot be any doubt that the truck was being driven at a very high speed. The impact of the collision was that the jeep was found about 57 feet away from the place of the accident. Therefore, there is no doubt and I agree with the learned Tribunal that both Mr. Iyengar and the driver of the truck were negligent.