Nrusingha Charan Bal vs Paramananda Sharma And Anr. on 22 August, 1990

Orissa High Court
Nrusingha Charan Bal vs Paramananda Sharma And Anr. on 22 August, 1990
Equivalent citations: II (1991) ACC 37, 1991 ACJ 679, AIR 1991 Ori 77
Author: G Patnaik
Bench: G Patnaik


G.B. Patnaik, J.

1. Claimant is the appellant his application for compensation having been rejected by the learned Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal on the ground that it is barred by time.

2. The application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act was filed claiming compensation to the tune of Rs. 50,000/- alleging that on 22-2-1983 at 10 A. M. while the claimant was passing on the Express Highway, the truck bearing registration number OSC 9025 being driven rashly and negligently came and dashed as a result of which the claimant sustained severe injuries on his waist, right leg and other parts of his body. The claimant was a student and the injury suffered by him was a handicap in consequence of which he could not attend his classes and he received mental shock and pain and was demoralised and was unable to perform his studies.

3. The owner as well as the Insurer appeared before the Tribunal and denied the allegations made in the claim petition. The Insurer took the plea that the application was barred by limitation.

4. Though an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act had been filed alleging that on account of illness of the claimant, the application could not be filed in time, but that application was never dealt with earlier and the question of limitation was considered finally while disposing of the claim petition. On consideration of the materials before him, the learned Tribunal came to the conclusion that nothing substantial had been elicited from the cross-examination of P.W. 1 to shake his creditworthiness and, on the other hand, his testimony gained corroboration from Exts. 1 and 2, the out-door ticket relating to the treatment of the claimant. On the question of rashness and negligence on the part of the driver of the vehicle, the learned Tribunal came to held that on account of the vehicle being rashly and negligently driven and dashing against the claimant, the claimant sustained injuries. On the question of quantum of compensation, the learned Tribunal, however, came to hold that the sum of Rs. 1,000/- consolidated would be the just compensation for the injuries sustained. Having held so, on the question of limitation, the learned Tribunal said that as there was no material in support of the claimant’s plea that he was ill as a result of which he could not file the application, there was no sufficient cause for the delay and accordingly dismissed the application. The claimant has, therefore, preferred this appeal.

5. Mr. Sahu appearing for the appellant contends that so far as the question of limitation is concerned, the uncontroverted assertion of the claimant in his application filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act should have been sufficient to condone the delay of four days, specially the legislation in question being a beneficial one conferring certain benefits on those who sustain injuries on account of accidents caused by different vehicles. Mr. Sahu further contends that in the face of the fact that on account of injuries sustained, the claimant had gone to the hospital on several days, the quantum of compensation of Rs. 1,000/- is grossly low and, therefore, the same must be enhanced and at least a sum of Rs. 10,000/- should be awarded as compensation.

Mr. Roy appearing for the respondents, on the other hand, contends that in the absence of any materials on record, to sustain the plea of illness, the Tribunal was fully justified in rejecting the plea of illness and, therefore, the application being barred by time has rightly rejected the same. So far as the quantum of compensation is concerned, Mr. Roy contends that in the facts and circumstances of the case, in the absence of any datas to quantify the compensation, the award of Rs. 1,000/ – cannot be held to be an unreasonable one and, therefore, this Court should not interfere with the same.

6. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and applying my mind to the facts and circumstances of the case, as well as the materials on record, I am of the considered opinion that the learned Tribunal committed -an error in not condoning the delay in filing the application. Undoubtedly, the claimant in his evidence has not stated about his illness. But as contended by Mr. Sahu, as the question of limitation was not considered separately even though an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act had been filed, possibly the claimant lost sight of the same and did not state in his evidence with regard to the plea that he was ill and on account of such illness he was prevented from filing the application in time. It transpires that the claimant asserted in the application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act that he was ill and the respondents in this appeal who are opposite parties before the Tribunal though appeared before the Tribunal, but they have never denied the assertion made in the application with regard to the illness of the claimant. In such circumstances, the Tribunal erred in law in not condoning the delay of four days in preferring the claim application. I would, therefore, condone the delay and held that there was sufficient cause for the delay in filing the application, subject to payment of cost of Rs. 100/- (one hundred) by the appellant to Mr. Roy, the learned counsel appearing for the respondents within a period of one week from today, failing which the appeal itself will stand dismissed without any further reference to the Bench.

7. In entertaining the claim application, the next question that arises for consideration is whether the amount of compensation as fixed by the Tribunal is justified or it requires enhancement. The claimant in his evidence has deposed as to how he was injured and how he was treated in the Primary Health Centre at Gopalpur for two days and thereafter he was treated for about 8 days at Nadia Sahaspur. This has not been controverted by the respondents. The learned Tribunal has also come to a conclusion that the materials would indicate that the claimant was an outdoor patient and was being treated on several dates in the hospital. The Tribunal has further recorded that the claimant had sustained injury on the left side of the ear, middle of the chest as well as the left hand. No doubt, in his evidence the claimant has stated that he spent about Rs. 3,000/- for the treatment, but in the absence of any supporting documents for the same, it is difficult for any court to accept that statement of the claimant. Be that as it may, having considered the nature of the injuries sustained by the claimant and the period of treatment he has undergone in the Primary Healty Centre as well as at Nadia Sahaspur, and in view of the finding of the Tribunal with regard to the injuries in question, I am of the considered opinion that the reasonable amount of compensation would be a sum of Rs. 5,000/- (five thousand). I would accordingly direct that the claimant is entitled to receive Rs. 5,000/- as compensation with interest thereon at the rate of six per cent per annum from the date of application within three months from today, failing which interest shall accrue at the rate of ten per cent per annum.

8. Mr. Roy for the Insurance Company, however, vehemently argues that since the appeal that was filed on 10th September, 1987, has been kept pending in this Court on account of laches on the part of the appellant, the appellant is not entitled to get any interest, at least for the period for which he has not been diligent enough in prosecuting the appeal and in this connection he points out to the fact that in 1989 for non-compliance of the Court’s order, the appeal had been dismissed against respondent No. 1 on 17-6-1989, though subsequently it has been restored. In support of this contention, Mr. Roy says that there is a direct authority of Delhi High Court. I do not think it necessary to consider this question in the present case, since on examining the order sheet of the appeal, I cannot hold that the appellant has been negligent in prosecuting the appeal for any indefinite period so as to disentitle him to get the interest in question that question could be appropriately considered in an appropriate case. I would accordingly reject the submission of Mr. Roy appearing for the respondents.

9. This appeal is allowed subject to the observation made earlier in this judgment. There will, however, be no order as to costs.

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