MANU/SC/1290/2018

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 11042 of 2018 (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 17321 of 2016)

Decided On: 16.11.2018

Appellants: Vimla Devi and Ors.
Vs.
Respondent: National Insurance Company Limited and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Abhay Manohar Sapre and Indu Malhotra

JUDGMENT

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. This appeal is filed by the claimants against the final judgment and order dated 23.03.2015 passed by the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan Bench at Jaipur in SBCMA No. 1739 of 2007 whereby the High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the claimants and affirmed the award dated 05.12.2005 passed by the MACT Chomu (Jaipur) in MAC Case No. 48/2005.

3. In order to appreciate the issues arising in the case, it is necessary to set out the relevant facts hereinbelow.

4. The Appellants are the Claimants/Plaintiffs whereas the Respondents are the non-applicants/Defendants in the claim petition out of which this appeal arises.

5. One Rajendra Prasad aged around 25 years was travelling in the passenger Bus bearing No. RJ-07-P-2151 as its bona fide passenger on 03.06.2003 for going to a place called "Chomu". When the Bus reached near Police Station, Chomu, a Truck bearing No. HR-55A-7729, which was going towards Jaipur from Chomu came on a high speed and dashed against Bus. The impact of dash against the Bus was so violent that Rajendra Prasad, who was sitting inside the Bus, sustained grievous injuries resulting in his instant death. This led to filing of the FIR No. 214/2003 in Police Station, Chomu.

6. It is this incident, which gave rise to initiation of two legal proceedings, namely, criminal and civil. So far as the criminal proceedings are concerned, a charge sheet (1/2003) was filed by the State against the driver of the offending Truck in the Court of Magistrate Under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short, "IPC").

7. So far as the civil proceedings are concerned with which we are concerned in this appeal were filed by the Appellants herein (claimants), who are the wife and the two minor children of the deceased, against the Insurance Company (Respondent No. 1), driver (Respondent No. 2) and the owner (Respondent No. 3) of the offending Truck Under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") before the Motor Accident Compensation Tribunal, Chomu claiming therein to award reasonable compensation to them for the loss sustained on account of untimely death of Rajendra Prasad-their only bread earner in the family.

8. The Appellants along with their claim petition filed all those documents, which were filed by the State in the criminal proceedings against the driver, such as FIR, charge sheet, site plan, post mortem report of the deceased, registration of Truck No. HR-A-7729, insurance coverage, mechanical inspection report, copy of notice issued to the owner Under Section 133 of the Act etc.

9. So far as the driver and owner of the offending Truck are concerned, since inception both remained ex parte in the proceedings. So far as the Insurance Company (insurer) is concerned, they alone entered appearance and filed the written statement. The Insurance Company, however, contended inter alia in their written statement that firstly, the owner of the Truck did not give any intimation to the Insurance Company; Secondly, the owner and the driver of the bus were not impleaded as party in the proceedings; and Thirdly, the owner of the offending Truck did not send a copy of the driving license........