INDU MALHOTRA, J. -
The deceased - Satpal Singh was residing in Doha, Qatar since 1984. The Employment Contract Form of the deceased dated 21.08.1984 revealed that he was engaged as a labourer initially for a period of one year on a salary of 750 Qatari Riyal p.m., and continued to live in Qatar where he was employed, till he passed away in a motor vehicle accident in India in 1998.
(2.)Satpal Singh was visiting India in November, 1998. On 18.11.1998, he was riding a scooter, with his wife as the pillion rider, when he met with an accident with a Maruti car bearing No. CH-01-M-6284 coming from the opposite direction.
FIR No. 204 dated 18.11.1998 was lodged u/S. 304A, 279, 337, 427 IPC at P.S. Sadar, Rajpura against the driver and owner of the offending car.
The FIR was lodged on the statement of Satinder Kaur -widow of the deceased, wherein she had stated that the accident had occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the driver of the Maruti car. It was further stated that the accident took place while her husband was over-taking a tractor-trolley, when the Maruti car was coming at a high speed from the opposite side. This led to the accident, and caused the death of Satpal Singh on the spot.
The Claimant No. 1 i.e. wife of the deceased was also seriously injured. Her right leg and jaw were fractured. The Claimant No. 1 remained in hospital for over a month. A rod was inserted in her leg, and remained in plaster for about 7 to 8 months. The accident led to 25% permanent disability, which is borne out from the Disability Certificate issued by the Civil Surgeon, Patiala.
(3.)Claim Petition bearing M.A.C. Application No. 152 was filed before the MACT, Patiala (Punjab) on 24.12.1998 u/S. 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 by the widow of the deceased, on behalf of herself and her 3 minor children for compensation on the death of her husband. The Claimants prayed for compensation of Rs. 50 lacs, alongwith Interest @18% p.a. to be paid jointly and severally by the Insurance Company, and the driver and owner of the Maruti car.
3.1. A copy of the FIR was placed before the MACT, as also the Post Mortem Report which recorded the serious head injuries caused by the road accident on the deceased.
3.2. The Claimants filed a photocopy of the Employment Contract Form dated 10.07.1984 certified by the Indian Embassy at Doha, which records the engagement of the deceased as a labourer by the firm Ali Al Fayyad Trading Contracting Est., Doha on a salary of 750 Qatari Riyal p.m., when he first shifted to Qatar.
3.3. The Claimants also placed on record a letter dated 27.06.1997 purported to have been issued by his employer - the High Speed Group to the Counsellor, New Zealand Consulate for issuance of a visa. It was stated that the General Manager of their company, Mr. Satpal Harbans Singh was intending to spend his annual vacation during June - August 1997 in New Zealand, and had been employed by this organization since 1984, and was now drawing a salary of $ 6,700 p.m.
It is relevant to note that this letter was not attested by the Indian Embassy at Doha.
3.4. The Claimants placed on record the Passport of the deceased, which reveals his date of birth as10.08.1958. The deceased was a little over 40 years of age at the time of the accident.
The passport entries reveal frequent foreign travel during the period 1986 till 1998 when he expired.