Insurance company under section 173 of the motor vehicles filed for an appeal challenging the award passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal: High court of Punjab and Haryana

The motor accident claim tribunal, Chandigarh passed an award on 4/02/2021 wherein “a sum of Rs.14,08,236/- along with 6% interest per annum has been awarded to the claimants, who are widow, major son and the married daughter.” Therefore, under section 173 of the motor vehicles act, 1988, a petition was filed by the insurance company challenging the award. According to section 173 of the motor vehicles act,1988, “(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) Any person aggrieved by an award of a Claims Tribunal may, within ninety days from the date of the award, prefer an appeal to the High Court (2) No appeal shall lie against any award of a Claims Tribunal if the amount in dispute in the appeal is less than ten thousand rupees.”

This judgment and final order were given in the high court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh on the 13th of July 2021 by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Gurmeet Singh  Sandhawalia in the case Pepsu Road transport corporation v/s Rama Rani and others FAO No.588 of 2021. The proceedings of the court were held on a virtual platform through video conference due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The following are the facts of the case an accident took place on the 29th of October 2018, Rameshwar Dass (now deceased) was aged 65, and was a retired sub-inspector from CTU and was availing a monthly pension of Rs. 22,469 as he was on his bicycle he was hit from the behind by a bus and was killed and the driver of the bus belonged to the corporation of the appellant (Insurance company), however, criminal proceedings have been charged against the driver in FIR no. 412 on the 29th October 2018, under sections 279 IPC “Rash driving or riding on a public way”, section 337 IPC “Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others.”, section 304-A IPC “Causing death by negligence.” Filed at the police station in Chandigarh. The driver is facing trial before the judicial magistrate in Chandigarh due to rash and negligent driving.

A claim was made that the deceased made Rs. 13,000 as monthly earning on account of property dealing. Which was however disbelieved by the tribunal. The pension earned was proved by the evidence on record and family pension came up to Rs.6072 per month. The counsel for the appellant represented by Mr. APS Sandhu argued that the son and daughter are not entitled to the amount and a 50% cut should have been applied and only the wife is entitled to the amount. The counsel stated that it has been fair enough that the wife is entitled to family pension and submitted the amount awarded is not liable to be reduced.

The court concluded that “Keeping in view the fact that the deceased was 64 years old, he would be contributing majority of the income towards the family and therefore, the dependency which has been assessed as such to the extent of Rs.14,979/- is no way on a higher side. The Tribunal has not considered the issue of future prospects as such and the fact that pension of the deceased was liable to increase and, therefore, the amount awarded by the Tribunal on account of the death of the deceased, cannot be said to be excessive and the same has rightly been assessed. In such circumstances, no case is made out to interfere in the well-reasoned order passed by the Tribunal. The appeal stands dismissed, accordingly.”

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