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Madhya Pradesh State Road Trans. … vs Pratap And Anr. on 26 April, 1999

Madhya Pradesh High Court
Madhya Pradesh State Road Trans. … vs Pratap And Anr. on 26 April, 1999
Equivalent citations: 2001 ACJ 270
Author: S Pandey
Bench: S Pandey


JUDGMENT

S.C. Pandey, J.

1. Learned counsel for the appellants argued that the death took place prior to commencement of amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (henceforth ‘the Act’). Prior to amendment, the minimum liability for death under the heading of no fault liability, governed by Section 140 of the Act was Rs. 25,000 (Rupees twenty-five thousand). Since the death occurred on 31.7.1992, the Claims Tribunal could not have assumed that the respondents are entitled to Rs. 50,000 without considering the fact that the amendment was not in force on the date on which the accident occurred. It was argued that amendment is not retrospective in operation. Learned counsel for the appellants is right as the Full Bench decision of this court in the case of Jivra Khan v. Shiv Charan Das 1999 ACJ 771 (MP), laid down that the amendment in the year 1994 in Section 140 of the Act is not retrospective in operation and, therefore, any person who suffers an accident prior to the commencement of the amendment cannot claim as of right an amount of Rs. 50,000 by way of no fault liability. However, the Claims Tribunal did not award Rs. 50,000 by way of no fault liability as an interim award. The impugned award is a final award. In this case, the Claims Tribunal had the difficulty in determining the measure of damages by way of final award as the claim was made on behalf of child of eight years. In order to find out the true measure of a life lost in an accident, the Claims Tribunal took account of the fact that the legislature itself had valued the minimum liability without any negligence at Rs. 50,000 (Rs. fifty thousand). The Claims Tribunal was entitled to value the life of an eight years child in accordance with the minimum liability of the owner and insurer of the vehicle. This assessment cannot be said to be on the higher side entitling this court to interfere with the award of the Claims Tribunal.

2. For the aforesaid reasons, there is no merit in this appeal. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed.

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