1 IN THE COURT OF THE ADDITIONAL DISTRICT JUDGE NO. 3, KAMRUP, GUWAHATI. Present:- Sri S. K. Poddar, AJS, Additional District Judge No. 3, Kamrup, Guwahati. MAC No. 355/2010 (Offending Vehicle:- AS-01/AE-3306 (Bolero) 1. Smt. Sayanika Deori, (wife of the deceased) w/o Late Bidur Deori, 2. Smt. Gunamai Deori, (mother of the deceased) w/o Sri Khandeswar Deori, Village:- Manaha Konwargaon, P.S. Jagiroad Dist.:- Morigaon (M), Assam.. Claimants -vs- 1. Sri Sunil Sharma (Owner of offending vehicle) 2. Sri Dharmendra Das (Driver of offending vehicle) 3. HDFC Egro Gen Ins Co. Ltd. (Insurer of offending vehicle), 4. Sri Khandeswar Deori. Opposite parties Advocate Appeared:- Mr. Biswajeet Kalita Advocate for the Claimants. Mr. R. Goswami. Advocate for the OP No. 3. Date of Argument: Date of Judgment: J U D G M E N T 1. The case of the claimants in brief is, that, on while Bidur Deori was going on a motor cycle by the Bhaktagaon Jhargaon PWD Road, a Bolero vehicle No. AS-01/AE-3306 (referred as offending vehicle) being driven in a rash and negligent manner, hit the motorcycle causing grievous injuries on Bidur Deori, who succumbed to his injuries on at Dispur Hospital. At the relevant time, deceased was aged about 28 years and a businessmen by profession, having monthly earning
2 Page 2 of 8 MACT Case No. 355/2010 of Rs /- per month... Contd on p/2 The accident occurred solely due to negligent driving of the Bolero Driver. Hence the claimants, being the wife and mother of the deceased has jointly filed the instant petition u/s 166 M V Act claiming Rs. 10,00,000/- as compensation. It was also pleaded that at the relevant time the offending vehicle was duly insured by OP No. 3 and was driven by OP No. 2 having valid Driving License. 2. The OP No. 3, insurance co, in its written statement denied all the averments made in the claim petition and stated inter-alia that they had no information regarding the accident and that the amount of compensation claimed by the claimants is highly exaggerated and without any basis. The insurance co declined to accept the liability, if there was violation of the terms and conditions of the policy or the driver did not have valid and effective driving license. It is also pleaded that, as two vehicles were involved in the alleged accident, the motor cycle might have contributory negligence in the accident. 3. The OP No. 1, owner of the offending vehicle, in his written statement denied all the averments made by the claimant and pleaded that at the relevant time the vehicle was insured with OP No. 3 vide policy No. VP valid for the period of to Opposite Parties No. 2 and 4, did not contest the case by filling their written statement and the case proceeded ex-parte against them. 5. Upon the above pleadings of the parties, the following issues were framed by then presiding officer:- i) Whether the husband of the claimant No. 1 Late Bidur Deori had died out of a road traffic accident dated at Bhatagaon Jhargaon PWD Road due to rash and negligent driving of the Bolero bearing No. AS-OA-AE-3306? ii) Whether claimants are entitled for compensation, if so from whom and what will the just and fair compensation? 6. During trial, in support of claim petition, the claimant No. 1 Smt. Sayanika Deori examined herself as PW 1 and one Munindra Bangthai as PW 2 and proved some documents. The opposite parties have not
3 Page 3 of 8 MACT Case No. 355/2010 adduced any evidence... Contd on p/3 7. Both the side submitted written arguments. I have also heard oral arguments of both the parties and perused the materials on records. DECISIONS AND REASONS THERE 8. ISSUE NO. 1:- The claimant No. 1 in the claim petition and also in her affidavit of evidence stated that on while Bidur Deori was going on a motor cycle by the Bhaktagaon Jhargaon PWD Road, a Bolero vehicle No. AS-01/AE-3306 (referred as offending vehicle) being driven in a rash and negligent manner, hit the motorcycle causing grievous injuries on Bidur Deori, who succumbed to his injuries on at Dispur Hospital. PW 1 has proved the accident information report as Exbt-1, the PM report Exbt-2, certified copy of charge sheet of the Jagiroad PS case No. 19/10 which was submitted u/s 279/338/427/304(A) against the driver of the offending vehicle as Exbt. 3, certificate issued by Dispur Hospital showing cause of death as Exbt. 4. In cross-examination of PW 1 and 2, no dispute was raised regarding the death of claimant s husband due to the accident. Hence, so far question of death was concerned, it is proved that victim Bidur Deori on succumbed to his injuries sustained on road traffic accident on The next point to be decided in this issue is, as to whether the death occurred due to rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle or there was contributory negligence of the deceased. In this regard, PW 1 and PW 2 in their evidence categorically claimed that the offending vehicle hit the motor cycle on side, in which, victim fell down and got fatal injuries. PW I in cross-examination admitted that she has not seen the accident on her own. PW 2 is an eye witness and his presence at the spot of accident remained unshaken. The Charge sheet (Exbt. 3), which was prepared after investigation by police, indicted the driver of the offending vehicle as sole responsible for the accident. The OP No. 3 though pleaded for having no fault on the part of the drive of the offending vehicle, but did not adduce any evidence to this effect in rebuttal of the claim of the PWs or against the police report vide Exbt Hon ble Supreme Court of India in Bimla Devi and Ors. v.
4 Page 4 of 8 MACT Case No. 355/2010 Himachal Road Transport Corporation and Ors.. Contd on p/4 MANU/SC/0577/ 2009 /(2009) 13 SCC 530, held as under: 15. In a situation of this nature, the Tribunal has rightly taken a holistic view of the matter. It was necessary to be borne in mind that strict proof of an accident caused by a particular bus in a particular manner may not be possible to be done by the claimants. The claimants were merely to establish their case on the touchstone of preponderance of probability. The standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt could not have been applied. 11. The observations of the Supreme Court of India in Bimla Devi (supra) were referred with approval in later judgment in Parmeshwari Devi v. Amir Chand and Ors., MANU/SC/0358/2011:(2011) 11 SCC Hon'ble Gauhati High Court in the reported case of Godavari Devi Sharma and ors vs United India Insurance Company Ltd. and ors [2012 (4) GLT 516] held as follows:- ( 13 ) In view of those judgments, let us now scrutinise the finding of the learned Tribunal so far it relates to the finding on the contributory negligence. The learned Tribunal has negated the evidence of PW. 2 as the hearsay evidence. It did not consider that the Investigating Officer of that case made his statement on the basis of the materials collected during the investi-gation and the chargesheet as submitted on culmination of the investigation. What he stated is on the basis of his investigation into the accident in question. As such his evidence cannot be discarded as the 'hearsay evide-nce'. The PW. 2 never claimed that he witnessed the accident or his statement is based on one individual witness's statement. As such the finding on the contributory negligence cannot be allowed to stay. ( 14 ) Moreover, while conducting the inquiry into a claim under Section 166 of the M. V. Act, the Tribunal is not expected to search for proof or evidence beyond reasonable doubt, rather it is preponderance of proba-bility, what the tool is, for assessment of the evidence. The Tribunal can arrive at its finding on the prima facie materials, such as the First Information Report to presume existence of the certain facts, in absence of other evidence which might debase such presumption. In view of this, the finding that has been returned by the learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal on the contributory negligence is interfered with and set aside. 13. The evidence of the claimant side, both oral as well as documentary, in regards the accident involving the offending vehicle is found believable on the scale of preponderance of probability that, the
5 Page 5 of 8 MACT Case No. 355/2010 offending vehicle was driven in a rash and negligent manner. Contd on p/5 Thus, the oral evidence of the PW 2 coupled with findings of the I/O by submitting the charge sheet against the driver of the offending vehicle as mentioned above is sufficient to hold that the road traffic accident was occurred solely due to rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle. This issue is decided accordingly. 14. ISSUE NO. 2:- In view of the discussion and decision of the previous issue, claimants being wife and mother of deceased are certainly entitled to compensation under the provisions of section 166 of M V Act. Now the prime question is what should be the just and fair quantum of compensation. 15. So far age of the deceased is concerned for deciding the multiplier to be used, the claimant in her evidence stated that at the time accident her husband was aged about 28 years. No certificate of age was proved by the claimant side. However the PM Report (Exbt. 2 and certificate issued by Dispur Hospital Exbt. 3 has mentioned the age of the deceased as 28 years. Claimant has also proved the PAN card of I T Department which shows the date of birth of Bidur Deori as and this shows that on the deceased Bidur Deori was aged about 27 year 1 month 10 days. So from the above evidence on record, it can safely be hold that on the date of death the deceased was aged about 28 years as claimed. 16. So far income of the deceased is concerned, it is claimed that he was a business man by profession and to support this claimant side has proved one Bill showing purchase of some sanitary fittings in bulk quantity from Ace Allinace Pvt. Ltd. of Guwahati on No other documentary prove was given by the claimant side in any form. As the accident occurred in the year 2010, the minimum wage of a young man can safely be taken as Rs. 150/- per day at minimum. In the reported case of Lata Wadhwa v. State of Bihar [A.I.R SC 3218], Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has accepted the notional income as Rs. 3000/- p.m. of a non-earning person Considering the oral evidence, though the claimant has claimed the income as Rs. 8000/- per month but for the lack of
6 Page 6 of 8 MACT Case No. 355/2010 supportive evidence, I hold the minimum wage.. Contd on p/6 as a basis of determining the income of the deceased and accordingly same is taken as Rs. 4500/- per month. 17. So far the question of deduction on account of personal expenses of deceased is concerned,ratio of Sarla Verma (Smt) and Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation and Anr. [MANU/SC/0606/2009 : (2009) 6 SCC 121], is the guiding principle and same will be one fourth as the deceased left behind his wife, mother and father as dependant. The operative paragraph of the judgment read as follows. 30. Though in some cases the deduction to be made towards personal and living expenses is calculated on the basis of units indicated in Trilok Chandra, the general practice is to apply standardised deductions. Having considered several subsequent decisions of this Court, we are of the view that where the deceased was married, the deduction towards personal and living expenses of the deceased, should be one-third (1/3 rd ) where the number of dependent family members is 2 to 3, one-fourth (1/4 th ) where the number of dependent family members is 4 to 6, and one-fifth (1/5 th ) where the number of dependent family members exceeds six. 18. So far multiplier to be adopted is concerned, ratio of Sarla Verma (Smt) and Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation and Anr. [MANU/SC/0606/2009 : (2009) 6 SCC 121], laid that it will be on the basis of age of the deceased and not on the age of dependant. The operative paragraph of the judgment read as follows. 17. The selection of multiplier is based on the age of the deceased and not on the basis of the age of dependent. There may be a number of dependents of the deceased whose age may be different and, therefore, the age of dependents has no nexus with the computation of compensation. 19. As per the table of multiplier shown in the Sarla Verma s case, as the deceased was about 28 years of age, the multiplier will be 17 (fixed for the age groups of 25 to 30). As such, I hold that the proper multiplier will be Apart from the compensation to be calculated as above, I found force on the submission of learned advocate for the claimant for granting a lump sump amount funeral and other incidental expenses on treatment, for love and affection, loss of consortium etc. 21. So far argument of adding 30% for future prospect in business
7 Page 7 of 8 MACT Case No. 355/2010 is concerned, I am unable to accept the same.. Contd on p/7 as business is always related to uncertainty. 22. Apart from all above, the claimant has claimed for spending Rs. 50,000/- towards medical expenses for 3 day of treatment but has not produced any voucher etc. Exbt. 4 shows that for three days the deceased was at Dispur Hospital and certainly have spend some money which I assess Rs. 10,000/- (ten thousand) on lump sum basis. 23. Thus, having considered the facts and circumstances of the case, just and reasonable compensation to which the claimant would be entitled in the instant case is assessed as under. The monthly income after one fourth deduction will be ( ) Rs Loss of dependency 3375 x 12 X 17.. Rs 6,88, Funeral & Travelling expenses Rs. 10, Expenses on treatment:- Rs. 10, Love and affection. Loss of consortium: Rs. 15, Total. Rs. 7,23, (Rupees seven lakh twenty three two thousand five hundred only) 24. There is no dispute to the fact that at the relevant time of accident, the offending vehicle (BOLERO) was insured with the opposite party No. 3 HDFC ERGO Gen Insurance Co Ltd. the policy was valid for the period of to As such the compensation as determined in foregoing paragraphs shall have to be paid by OP No. 3 alone. A W A R D 25. Claimants are jointly entitled to get of Rs. 7,23, (Rupees seven lakh twenty three two thousand five hundred only) with 6% (six) p.a. from the date of filing the claim-petition, i.e till payment from the opposite party No. 3. It is made clear that both the claimants shall have equal share in the aforesaid amount. 26. The opposite party No. 3, HDFC ERGO Gen Insurance Co Ltd, is directed to pay the award within one month from the date of order. Given under my hand and seal of this Court on this the 21 st day of May, 2013 at Guwahati.
8 Page 8 of 8 MACT Case No. 355/2010 Additional District Judge No. 3, Kamrup, Guwahati.
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