GENERAL MANAGER ANDHRA PRADESH STATE ROAD TRANS CORPN Vs. ANJALI KANDE
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
GENERAL MANAGER ANDHRA PRADESH STATE ROAD TRANS CORPN
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(1.)THE accident took place on 31. 8. 1985. The claimants, claiming that the accident occurred due to the rash and negligent act of the driver of the bus, filed a claim petition claiming an amount of Rs. 3,00,000/- towards compensation. The Tribunal thought it fit to award Rs. 1,10,000/- in all. Against that the A. P. S. R. T. C. filed this appeal.
(2.)THE fact that the deceased was travelling in the bus and that he died on that day due to the result of the accident is not in dispute. Mr. Harinath contends that PW 3 and RW 1 are parties to the inquest at the earliest point of time when none contemplated about filing of the claim petition. The document was prepared by the police in discharge of their duties and the recitals therein ought to have been given due weight; and the appreciation of the evidence by the Claims Tribunal and its observations are unwarranted. The Tribunal observed that: The passengers try to support the crew of the bus. The R. T. C. employees have got unions and they bring lot of pressure on the police also. So, the record is prepared to suit the defence of the driver. Personal knowledge is not expected to be incorporated while appreciating the evidence of witnesses. There is no suggestion to PW 3 that Exh. A-9 was manipulated at the instance of the driver and on the pressure of the union people. The appreciation of evidence by the Tribunal is on the wrong side.
(3.)EXH. A-l is the F. I. R. Exh. A-9 is the inquest report. It may be that the conductor of the bus who gave the report to the police is an interested one to save the driver from the penal consequences. But when the police investigated the case and conducted inquest and PW 3's version was noted down in the inquest report in Clause Nos. 9 and 15, it cannot be stated that coloured version has been incorporated therein to save the driver. Exh. A-9 has to be taken into account and it has to be considered with reference to the evidence of the direct witness, PW 3 and the evidence of RW 1. Merely because inconsistent version is given it does not mean that the entire evidence can be thrown away. The fact remains that the deceased expressed his desire to get down from the bus and the conductor gave a bell indicating the driver to stop the bus. It is the duty of the driver, when the bell is being given by the conductor, to stop the bus. At the same time, it is the duty of the passenger to see that the bus is stopped before attempting to get down. But, here it is a case where the driver of the bus did not stop the bus even after a bell is being given by the conductor indicating to stop the bus and the passenger attempted to get down from the bus even prior to its stop. It is a clear case of composite (Sic. contributory) negligence and the degree of negligence on either side can be estimated at 50:50. Hence, the claimants are entitled to half of the compensation amount that has been granted and they are entitled to Rs. 55,000/- in all.
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