RAJASTHAN STATE ROAD TRANSPORT Vs. SHANTI UPMANNU
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN (FROM: JAIPUR)
Rajasthan State Road Transport
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GUMAN MAL LODHA, J. -
(1.)THE Corporation has filed this appeal against the award of the Accidents Claims Tribunal. On 17 -6 -1978 Harishanker was going from Tonk on his motor Cycle R.R.L. 1579 to Jaipur and it is alleged that when he reached Baroni Police Station, the Bus of the appellant bearing No. R.S.R.G. 1892 of which respondent No. 5 was the Driver come from the side of Jaipur, driven in a rash and negligent manner and after coming to its wrong side hit the deceased's vehicle as a result of which, he later died. It was in those circumstances that the respondents Nos. 1 to 4 as claimants of the deceased filed a claim Under Section 110A of the Motor Vehicles Act for a sum of Rs. 1,58,492.39 in the Court of Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Tonk. It was alleged that deceased at the time of his death was 51 years of age and was an employee of the Central Government and was on deputation with the public works Department of Rajasthan at the relevant time and was posted as Divisional Accountant in Tonk and it was further said that he was drawing a monthly salary of Rs. 1046/ - at the time of his death. It was alleged that since he was an employee of the Central Government so his age of retirement according to the Central Government Rules was upto 58 years and thus he would have remained in the service of the Central Government for a further period near about 7 years. It was said that the average age in the deceased's family was of 90 years and so the deceased would have also drawn pension for a period of 32 years. Thus the claimants claimed a sum of Rs. 1,58,492.39 in all as under:
On account of salary which the deceased would have drawn. Rs. 84,157.39 On account of pension amount of the deceased. Rs. 24,960/. On account of deficit amount of gratuity which was paid to the claimants, as a result of the earlier death of the deceased. Rs. 2,375/ - On account of amount spent in treatment and cremation of the deceased. Rs. 2,000/ - For the loss of love and affection, by respondent No. 1. Rs. 15,000/ - On account of mental paid and suffering by claimants. Rs. 10,000/ - __________________ Rs. 1,58.492.39 __________________
(2.)THE corporation contested the claim. After recording the evidence, the tribunal awarded an amount of Rs. 80,440/ - as compensation. In this appeal Mr. Munshi has argued that the vehicle was not driven by any person who was authorised to drive the same. In this connection Laxmi Narayan and Ram Niwas two drivers have been produced in evidence. Ram Niwas was driving the bus. He has stated that when he tried to overtake a truck, a motor cycle came from the front side resulting in the accident. In such circumstances, the tribunal found that the bus in an effort to overtake was driven with rashness and negligence. The bus was being driven by Ram Niwas is proved by evidence of Ashok Kumar, S.H.O. who was the eye -witness of accident. He made First Information Report. According to the evidence the bus was at a very high and fast speed. This is corroborated from Ex. P. 6 which is the first information report. In this, the name of Ram Niwas has been mentioned as driver. Ram Niwas in his statements has stated that he was not driving vehicle and he has submitted that Laxmi Narayan was driving the vehicle. The tribunal has disbelieved the statements of Ram Niwas.
In my opinion, the statement of Ashok Kumar, S.H.O. Police cannot be rejected on this point. He has mentioned the name of Ram Niwas in his F.I.R. There is no reason why he should have mentioned a wrong name. The tribunal has held that even Laxmi Narayan has stated that Ram Niwas was driving when the bus met the accident. It is thus true that Ram Niwas was driving the vehicle and I am in agreement with the finding of the tribunal that Ashok Kumar and Laxmi Narayan both have proved this fact.
(3.)THE tribunal has given its decision against drivers of the vehicle Laxmi Narayan and Ram Niwas and that I am in agreement with it. When a driver of a vehicle overtakes another vehicle it is his duty to take care that any vehicle coming from the other direction, and if an accident has taken place in overtaking normally the driver overtaking, is committing the serious act of negligence. The tribunal has relied upon judgment of the Mysore High Court in K.M. Nithyananda v. Mysore State Agra Industries Corporation in respect of and also relied upon regulation under Motor Vehicles Act regulation 4(e) and rightly held that the truck was being driven with rashness and negligence. It has been admitted that both Laxmi Narayan and Ram Niwas were drivers in employment of the Corporation at the relevant time of the accident and therefore, the tribunal has rightly held in para No. 28 that the Corporation accepted the liability for rash and negligent driving of Ram Niwas. Mr. Munsni further argued that the amount of Rs. 11,000 allowed on account of mental and physical pain and consortium cannot be allowed. It is true that according to the decision of this Court in R.S.R.T.C v. Manorama in cases of fatal accident no claim can be allowed for mental shock and suffering.
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