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Shivaji Dayanu Patil & Anr Vs. Smt. Vatschala Uttam More [1991] INSC 158 (17 July 1991)

Agrawal, S.C. (J) Agrawal, S.C. (J) Ray, B.C. (J)

CITATION: 1991 AIR 1769 1991 SCR (3) 26 1991 SCC (3) 530 JT 1991 (3) 133 1991 SCALE (2)92

ACT:

Motor Vehichles Act, 1939: Sections 2(18) and 92A--`Motor Vehicle'--Petrol tanker used for transporting petrol--Overturned due to collision with another motor vehicle--Damaged to the extent that it became immobile--Whether ceases to be a `Motor Vehicle'--Death due to explosion and fire taking place few hours after the collision--Both connected and related events--Causal rela- tionship between user of the vehicle and accident--Need not be direct and proximate--Death as a result of accident arising out of `use of Motor Vehicle'--No fault liability--Nature and scope of.

Bombay Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989: Rules 291-A, 291-B, 297(2), 306-A to 306-D. Adjudication of claims under Section 92A of the Act-Special Procedure to be followed by Claims Tribunal for expeditious disposal--Normal procedure pre- scribed in respect of claims under Section 110A--Need not be followed.

Words & Phrases: `use'--`Arising out off--Meaning of.

HEAD NOTE:

Due to a collision on the highway between a Petrol tanker and a truck, the Petrol tanker went off the road and fell on its side at some distance from the highway. As a result of it, petrol leaked out and collected nearby. Nearly four hours after the collision an explosion took place in the petrol tanker resulting in fire. A large number of persons who had assembled near the petrol tanker sustained burn injuries; few of them succumbed to the injuries. Re- spondent's son was of the persons who died as such.

Respondent filed a claim before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal under Section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act for Rs.75,000 as compensation. She also claimed Rs.15,000 as compensation under Section 92A of the Act. The Tribunal dismissed the claim under Section 92A on the ground that the explosion could not be said to be an accident arising out of the use of the petrol tanker and so the provisions of Sec- tion 92A were not attracted. It held that the explosion and the fire which took place after about four hours of the accident had no connec- 27 tion with the accident and it was altogether a different and independent accident, It also observed that the villagers took benefit of the earlier accident and while they were trying to pilfer petrol' from the tanker there was friction which caused the ignition and explosion and since an outside agency was responsible therefore the subsequent accident of explosion and fire could not be said to be an accident arising out of the use of the tanker.

On appeal, a Single Judge of the High Court disagreed with the finding of the Tribunal that the explosion was a direct consequence of the attempt to pilfer petrol from it and further held that in view of Sub-Section (4) of Section 92A if there was a wrongful act, neglect or default on the part of the deceased or injured, the claim under Section 92A for compensation for no liability cannot be rejected. He observed that the fact that at the material time, the tanker was not driven on the highway but was lying turtle on the side of the highway, would not make any difference and that the tanker was a vehicle lying on the side of the highway and would be covered by the expression 'use' in Section 92A of the Act and so compensation would be payable under 'no fault liability'.

The petitioners filed a Letters Patent Appeal against the said decision and a Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the same affirming the findings of the Single Judge. The Bench held that the collision between the tanker and the other vehicle which occurred earlier and the escape of petrol from the tanker which ultimately resulted in explosion and fire were not unconnected but related events.

It rejected the claim of the petitioners that the first information report recorded by the police and the panchnama indicated that the explosion and fire near the petrol tanker had been caused by careless act of throwing away of a match stick used for lighting a beedi or cigarette.

Aggrieved by the said decision, the petitioners pre- ferred the present petition for special leave to appeal.

On behalf of the petitioners, it was contended that the petrol tanker was not a motor vehicle, as defined ln Section 2(18) of the Act, at the time the explosion and fire took place because at that time the petrol tanker was lying turtle and was not capable of movement on the road; that since before the explosion and fire the petrol tanker was lying immobile it could not be said that the petrol tanker was in use as a motor vehicle at the time of the explosion and fire; that even if it is found that the petrol tanker was in use as a motor vehicle at the time of the explosion and fire, there was no causal relationship between the 28 collision which took place between the petrol tanker and the truck and the explosion and fire in the petrol tanker which took place about four-and-half hours later and it cannot, therefore, be said that the explosion and fire in the petrol tanker was an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle.

Dismissing the petition, this Court,

HELD: 1. Section 92A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 was in the nature of beneficial legislation enacted with a view to confer the benefit of expeditious payment of limited amount by way of compensation to the victims of an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle on the basis of no fault liability. In the matter of interpretation of a bene- ficial legislation the approach of the courts is to adopt a construction which advances the beneficient purpose underly- ing the enactment in preference to a construction which tends to defeat that purpose. [39E-G] Motor Owners' Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Jadavji Keshavji Modi & Ors., [1982] 1 SCR 860; Skandia Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Kokilaben Chandravadan & Ors., [1987] 2 SCR 752, relied on.

Manjusri Raha & Ors. v.B.L. Gupta & Ors. etc., [1977] 2 SCR 944; State of Haryana v. Darshana Devi & Ors., [1979] 3 SCR 184; Bishan Devi & Ors. v. Sirbaksh Singh & Anr., [1980] 1 SCR 300; N.K.V. Bros. Ltd. v. M. Karumai Ammal and Ors. etc., [1980] 3 SCR 101 and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation v. Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai & Anr., [1987] 3 SCR 404, referred to.

2. The petrol tanker was a vehicle manufactured for the purpose of transporting petrol. It was a vehicle which had been adapted for such use and was suitable for use on the road for transporting petrol. At the time when the petrol tanker collided with the truck on the national highway, it was being used for the purpose of transporting petrol. It cannot, therefore, be disputed that when the said collision took place it was a motor vehicle as the said expression was defined in section 2(18) of the Act. Merely because the petrol tanker had turned turtle as a result of the collision and was lying at a short distance away from the road, does not mean that it had ceased to be suitable or fit for use on the road and it had ceased to be a motor vehicle. It could be said that as a result of the collision with the truck the petrol tanker was damaged to such an extent that there was no reasonable prospect of the vehicle ever being made mobile again. In the circumstances, it cannot be held that the petrol tanker which was a motor vehicle when it collided with the 29 truck had ceased to be a motor vehicle after the said colli- sion and it could not be regarded a motor 'vehicle under Section 2(18) of the Act at the time when the explosion and fire took place. [40H; 41A-C, 42D-E] Bolani Ores Ltd. etc. v. State of Orissa. etc., [1975] 2 SCR 138; Newberry v. Simmonds, [1961] 2 Q.B. 345 and Smart v. Allan & Anr., [1963] 1 Q.B. 291, referred to.

3. The word 'use' has a wider connotationas to cover the period when the vehicle is not moving and is stationary and the use of a vehicle does not cease on account of the vehi- cle having been rendered immobile on account of a break-down or mechanical defect or accident. In the circumstances, it cannot be said that the petrol tanker was not in the use at the time when it was lying on its side after the collision with the truck. [44F-G] Pushpa Rani Chopra v. Anokha Singh & Ors., [1975] ACJ 396; General Managar, K.S.R.T.C. v. S. Satalingappa & Ors., [1979] ACJ 452 and Oriental Fire & General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Suman Navnath Rajguru & Ors., [1985] ACJ 243, ap- proved.

Elliott v. Grey, [1960] 1 Q.B. 367 and Government Insur- ance Office of New South Wales v. R.J. Green & Lloyd Pty. Ltd., [1965] 114 CLR 437, referred to.

4.1. There is no ground for interfering with the find- ings recorded by the High Court that those persons who sustained injuries as a result of the explosion and fire in the petrol tanker did not indulge in any unlawful activity which might have caused the explosion and fire. The matter has, therefore, to be examined in the light of the meaning to be assigned to the words "arising out of" In the expres- sion "accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle" in Section 92A of the Act. [46D-E]

4.2. The words "arising out of" have been used in var- ious statutes in different contexts and have been construed by Courts widely as well as narrowly, keeping in view the context in which they have been used in a particular legis- lation. [46F]

4.3. In the context of motor accidents the expressions "caused by" and "arising out of" are often used in statutes.

Although both these expressions imply a causal relationship between the accident resulting in injury and the use of the motor vehicle but they differ in the degree of 30 proximity of such relationship. As compared to the expres- sion "caused by" the expression "arising out of" has a wider connotation and the causal relationship is not required to be direct and proximate and it can be less immediate. [47G; 48E]

4.4. The expression "caused by" was used in Sections 95(1)(b)(i) and (ii) and 96(2)(b)(ii) of the Act. In Section 92A of the Act, Parliament, however, chose to use the ex- pression "arising out of" which indicates that for the purpose of awarding compensation under Section 92A, the causal relationship between the use of the motor vehicle and the accident resulting in death or permanent disablementis not required to be direct and proximate and it can be less immediate. This would imply that accident should be connect- ed with the use of the motor vehicle but the said connection need not be direct and immediate. This construction of the expression "arising out of the use of a motor vehicle" in section 92A enlarges the field of protection made available to the victims of accident and is in consonance with the beneficial object underlying the enactment. [48D-E] Mackinnon Machkenzie & Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Ibrahim Mahommed Issak, [1970] 1 SCR 869; Government Insurance Office of New South Wales v. R.J. Green & Ltyoyd Pl. Ltd., [1965] 114 CLR 437; Heyman v. Darwins Ltd., [1942] A.C. 356; Union of India v. E.B. Aaby's Rederi A/S, [1975] A.C. 797 and Samick Lines Co. Ltd. v. Owners of the Antonis P. Lemos, [1985] 2 WLR 468, referred to.

5. In the facts and circumstances of the present case, the accident involving explosion and fire in the petrol tanker was connected with the use of tanker as a motor vehicle. The High Court was right in holding that the colli- sion between the tanker and the other vehicle which had occurred earlier and the escape of petrol from the tanker which ultimately resulted in the explosion and fire were not unconnected but related events and merely because there was interval of about four to hour-and-half hours between the said collision and the explosion and fire in the tanker, it cannot be necessarily inferred that there was no causal relation between explosion and fire. In the circumstances, it must be held that the explosion and fire resulting in the injuries which led to the death of the Respondent's son was due to an accident arising out of the use of the motor vehicle viz., the petrol tanker. [48G-H; 49A-B]

6. The object underlying the enactment of Section 92A is to make available to the claimant compensation amount to the extent of Rs.15,000 in case of death and Rs.7,500 in case of permanent disable- 31 ment as expeditiously as possible and the said award has to be made before adjudication of the claim under Section 110A of the Act. This would be apparent from the provision of Section 92B of the Act which provides that a claim for compensation under Section 92A in respect of death or perma- nent disablement of any person shall be disposed of as expeditiously as possible and where compensation is claimed in respect of such death or permanent disablement under Section 92A and also in pursuance of any right on the prin- ciple of fault, the claim for compensation under Section 92A shall be disposed of in the first place. With a view to give effect to the said directive contained in Section 92B of the Act, the Maharashtra Government has amended the Rules and has inserted special provisions in respect of claims under Section 92A in Rules 291A, 291B, 297(2), 306A, 306B, 306C and 306D of the Rules. The object underlying the said provi- sions is to enable expeditious disposal of a claim petition under Section 92A of the Act. The said object would be defeated if the Claims Tribunal is required to hold a regu- lar trial in the same manner as for adjudicating a claim petition under Section 110A of the Act. [52B-E]

7. Rules 291A, 306A and 306B of the Bombay Motor Vehi- cles Rules, 1989 contain adequate provisions which would ennable the Claims Tribunal to satisfy itself in respect of the matters necessary for awarding compensation under Sec- tion 92A of the Act and in view of these special provisions the Claims Tribunal is not required to follow the normal procedure prescribed under the Act and the Rules with regard to adjudication of a claim under Section 110A of the Act for the purpose of making an order on a claim petition under Section 92A of the Act. [53B-D]

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 14822 of 1990.

From the Judgment and Order dated 16.8.1990 of the Bombay High Court in L.P.A. No. 65 of 1990.

G.L. Sanghi, K.S.V. Murthy, S.M. Puri and Pramod Dayal for the Petitioners.

Ashok H. Desai, George Kurian, A.P. Vaze and G.B. Sathe for the Respondent.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by 32 S.C. AGRAWAL, J. The questions raised for consideration in this petition for special leave to appeal involve the interpretation of the expression "arising out of the use of a motor vehicle" contained in section 92A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (hereinafter referred to as the Act').

On October 29, 1987, at about 3 A.M., there was a colli- sion between a petrol tanker bearing Registration No. MKL- 7461 and a truck bearing Registration No. MEH-4197 on the National Highway No. 4 near village Kavatha, in District Satara, Maharashtra. The petrol tanker was proceeding from Pune side to Bangalore whereas the truck was coming from the opposite direction. As a result of the said collision, the petrol tanker went off the road and fell on its left side at a distance of about 20 feet from the highway. As a result of the overturning of the petrol tanker, the petrol contained in it leaked out and collected nearby. At about 7.15 A.M., an explosion took place in the said petrol tanker resulting in fire. A number of persons who had assembled near the petrol tanker sustained burn injuries and a few of them succumbed to the said injuries. One of those who died as a result of such injuries was Deepak Uttam More. The respond- ent is the mother of Deepak Uttam More. Petitioner No. 1 is the owner of the said petrol tanker and Petitioner No. 2, the insurer of the same.

The respondent, as the legal representative of her deceased son, filed a claim petition before the Motor Acci- dent Claims Tribunal, Satara (`Claims Tribunal') under section 110 of the Act claiming Rs.75,000 as compensation from the petitioners. She also made a claim for payment of Rs. 15,000 as compensation under section 92A of the Act. It appears that claim petitions were also filed by the legal representatives of other persons who had died as a result of the burn injuries sustained by them in the explosion and fire in the petrol tanker. The petitioners contested the claim petitions filed by the respondent and other claimants under section 92A of the Act and raised objection with regard to the jurisdiction of the Claims Tribunal to enter- tain such petitions on the ground that explosion and fire resulting in injuries to the deceased could not be said to be an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle.

The Claims Tribunal decided all the claim petitions filed under Section 92A of the Act by a common order dated Decem- ber 2, 1989 whereby the said petitions were dismissed on the ground that the explosion could not be said to be an acci- dent arising out of the use of the petrol tanker and that the provisions of section 92A of the Act were not attracted.

The Claims Tribunal was of the view that the explosion and the fire which took place after about four 33 hours had no connection whatsoever with the accident which took place at 3 A.M. and that the explosion and the fire was altogether an independent accident. The Claims Tribunal also observed that the villagers tried to take the benefit of the earlier accident and tried to pilfer petrol from the petrol tanker and while thus pilfering the petrol there was fric- tion which caused ignition and explosion and since an out- side agency was responsible for the explosion and fire which situation was created by the villagers themselves the explo- sion could not be said to be an accident arising out of the use of the tanker. The respondent filed an appeal against the said order of the Claims Tribunal before the High Court.

The said appeal was allowed by a learned Single Judge of the High Court by judgment dated February 5, 1990. The learned Single Judge disagreed with the finding of the Claims Tribu- nal that the explosion was a direct consequence of the attempt to pilfer petrol from the tanker and observed that the Tribunal was not justified in proceeding on the assump- tion that all the injured persons and deceased were engaged in pilfering the petrol and the explosion was a direct consequence of the same. The learned Single Judge also held that in view of sub-section (4) of section 92A of the Act if there is a wrongful act, neglect or default on the part of the deceased or the injured, the claim under section 92A of the Act for compensation for no fault liability cannot be rejected. With regard to the applicability of section 92A of the Act, the learned Single Judge observed that the fact that at the material time the tanker was not being driven on the Highway but was lying turtle on its side would make no difference and that it was a vehicle lying on the side of the Highway and would be covered by the expression 'use' in section 92A of the Act and compensation would be payable under no fault liability of section 92A of the Act. He, therefore, directed payment of Rs. 15,000 as compensation under section 92A of the Act to the respondent. The Peti- tioners filed a Letters Patent Appeal against the said decision of the learned Single Judge which was dismissed by a Division Bench of the High Court by judgment dated August 16, 1990. The Appellate Bench of the High Court has affirmed the finding of the learned Single Judge that there was no evidence whatsoever that the person or persons in respect of whose deaths compensation had been claimed under section 92A were themselves committing theft or pilferage of petrol at the time of their deaths and that these victims could have only been curious by-standers at the site of the accident.

The learned Judges have observed that the expression 'use of a motor vehicle' covers a very wide field, a field more extensive than which might be called traffic use of the motor vehicle and that the use of a vehicle is not confined to the periods when it Was in motion or was moving and that a vehicle would still be is use 34 even when it was stationary The learned Judges were of the view that merely' because there Was interval of about four and half hours between the collision of the petrol tanker and the explosion and fire in the tanker, it cannot be necessarily inferred that there was no causal relation between earlier event and the later incident of explosion and fire and that the earlier collision if not the cause was at least the main contributory factor for the subsequent explosion and fire in the tanker in question inasmuch as the tanker was carrying petrol which was a highly combustible and volatile material and after the collision-the petrol tanker had fallen on one of its sides on sloping ground resulting in escape of highly inflammable petrol and there was grave risk of explosion and fire from the petrol coming out of the tanker and the tanker was allowed to remain in such a dangerous condition for hours without any effort being made to prevent such great hazard of fire and explo- sion from petrol escaping from the tanker. According to the learned Judges, the collision between the tanker and the other vehicle which occurred earlier and the escape of petrol from the tanker which ultimately resulted in explo- sion and fire were not unconnected but related events. The learned Judges rejected the submission made on behalf of the petitioners that in the instant case the first information report recorded by the police and the panchanama indicated that the explosion and fire near the petrol tanker had been caused by careless act of throwing away of a match stick used for lighting a beedi or cigarette. The learned Judges held that the papers and documents filed before the Claims Tribunal under rule 306B of the Bombay Motor Vehicles Rules, 1959 did not establish that the fire was ignited by someone carelessly throwing a match stick. Feeling aggrieved by the said decision of the Appellate Bench of the Bombay High Court, the petitioner have filed this petition for special leave to appeal. A notice for final disposal was issued on the petition and the learned counsel for the parties have been heard at length.

Shri G.L. Sanghi, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners, has urged that in the instant case, it cannot be said that the explosion and fire in the petrol tanker which occurred at about 7.15 A.M., i.e., nearly four and half hours after the collision involving the petrol tanker and the other truck, was an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle and therefore, the claim petition filed by the respondent could not be entertained under section 92-A of the Act. Shri Sanghi has made a three-fold submis- sion in this regard. In the first place, he has submitted that the petrol tanker was not a motor vehicle as defined in section 2(18) of the Act at the time when the explosion and fire took place because at that time the petrol tanker was lying turtle and was 35 not capable of movement on the road. The second submission of Shri Sanghi is that since before the explosion and fire the petrol tanker was lying immobile it could not be said that the petrol tanker, even if it be assumed that it was a motor vehicle, was in use as a motor vehicle at the time of the explosion and fire. Thirdly, it has been submitted by Shri Sanghi that even if it is found that the petrol tanker was in use as a motor vehicle at the time of the explosion and fire, there was no causal relationship between the collision which took place between the petrol tanker and the truck at about 3 A.M. and the explosion and fire in the petrol tanker which took place about four and half hours later and it cannot, therefore, be said that explosion and fire in the petrol tanker was an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle.

Before we proceed to deal with the aforesaid submissions of Shri Sanghi, it would be relevant to mention that section 92A of the Act forms part of Chapter VII-A which was intro- duced in the Act by Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1982 (Act 47 of 1982). The said Chapter bears the heading "LI- ABILITY WITHOUT FAULT IN CERTAIN CASES" and contains sec-
tions 92A to 92E. The purpose underlying the enactment of these provisions, as indicated in the Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Bill, was as follows:

"There has been a rapid development of road transport during the past few years and large increase in the number of motor vehicles on the road. The incidence of road accidents by motor vehicles has reached serious propor- tions. During the last three years, the number of road accidents per year on the average has been around 1.45 lakhs and of these the number of fatal accidents has been around 20,000 per year. The victims of these accidents are generally pedestrians belonging to the less affluent sections of society. The provisions of the Act as to compensation in respect of accidents can be availed of only in cases of accidents which can be proved to have taken place as a result of a wrongful act or negli- gence on the part of the owners or drivers of the vehicles concerned. Having regard to the nature of circumstances in which road acci- dents take place, in a number of cases, it is difficult to secure adequate evidence to prove negligence. Further, in what are known as "hit-and-run" accidents, by reason of the identity of the vehicle involved in the acci- dent not being known, the persons affected cannot prefer any claims for compensation. It is, therefore, considered necessary to amend the 36 Act suitably to secure strict enforcement of road safety measures and also to make, as a measure of social justice, suitable provisions first for compensation without proof of fault or negligence on the part of the owner or driver of the vehicle and, secondly, for compensation by way of solatium in cases in which the identity of the vehicle causing an accident is unknown..... " In this context, it may be pointed out that before the said amendment this Court had highlighted the need for legislation providing for no fault liability in motor acci- dents claims in a number of decisions. (See: Manjusri Raha & Ors. v. B.L. Gupta & Ors. etc., [1977] 2 SCR 944; State of Haryana v. Darshana Devi & Ors., [1979] 3 SCR 184; Bishan Devi & Ors. v. Sirbaksh Singh & Anr., [1980] 1 SCR 300 and N.K.V. Bros. Ltd. v. M. Karumai Ammal and Ors. etc., [1980] 3 SCR 10 1.

Section 92A which made provision for liability to pay compensation in certain cases on the principle of no fault read as under:

"92-A. Liability to pay compensation in cer- tain cases on the principle of no fault--(1) Where the death or permanent disablement of any person has resulted from an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle or motor vehicles, the owner of the vehicle shall, or, as the case may be, the owners of the vehicles shall, jointly and severally, be liable to pay compensation in respect of such death or disablement in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(2) The amount of compensation which shall be payable under sub-section (1) in respect of the death of any person shall be a fixed sum of fifteen thousand rupees and the amount of compensation payable under that sub-section in respect of the permanent disablement of any person shall be a fixed sum of seven thousand five hundred rupees.

(3) In any claim for compensation under sub- section (1), the claimant shall not be re- quired to plead and establish that the death or permanent disablement in respect of which the claim has been made was due to any wrong- ful act, neglect or default of the owner or owners of the vehicle or vehicles concerned or of any other person.

37 (4) A claim for compensation under sub-section (1) shall not be defeated by reason of any wrongful act, neglect or default of the person in respect of whose death or permanent disa- blement the claim has been made nor shall the quantum of compensation recoverable in respect of such death or permanent disablement be reduced on the basis of the share of such person in the responsibility for such death or permanent disablement." Section 92-B preserved the right to pay compensation for death or permanent disablement under other provisions of the Act and it provided as follows:

"92-B. Provisions as to other right to claim compensation for death or permanent disable- ment (1) The right to claim compensation under Section 92A in respect of death or permanent disablement of any person shall be in addition to any other right (hereafter in this section referred to as the right on the principle of fault) to claim compensation in respect there- of under any other provision of this Act or of any other law for the time being in force.

(2) A claim for compensation under Section 92A in respect of death or permanent disablement of any person shall be disposed of as expeditiously as possible and where compen- sation is claimed in respect of such death or permanent disablement under Section 92A and also in pursuance of any right on the princi- ple of fault, the claim for Compensation under Section 92A shall be disposed of as aforesaid in the first place.

(3) Notwithstanding anything con- tained in subsection (1), where in respect of the death or permanent disablement of any person, the person liable to pay compensation under section 92A is also liable to pay com- pensation in accordance with the right on the principle of fault, the person so liable shall pay the first-mentioned compensation and-- (a) if the amount of the first- mentioned compensation is less than the amount of the second-mentioned, he shall be liable to pay (in addition the first-mentioned compensa- tion) only so much of the second-mentioned compen- 38 sation as is equal to the amount by which it exceeds the first-mentioned compensation;

(b) if the amount of the first-men- tioned compensation is equal to or legs than the amount of the secondmentioned compensa- tion, he shall not be liable to pay the sec- ond-mentioned compensation." In section 92-C of the Act, the expression 'permanent disablement for the purpose of Chapter VII-A was explained.

Section 92-D made the provisions of Chapter VII-A applicable in relation to any claim in respect of death or permanent disablement of any person under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 (8 of 1923) resulting from an accident of the nature referred to in sub-section (1) of section 92-A.

Section 92-E of the Act gave overriding effect to the provi- sions of Chapter VII-A over any other provisions of the Act or of any law for the time being in force.

In Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation v. Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai & Anr., [1987] 3 SCR 404 a reference has been made to the background in which Chapter VII A was introduced in the Act and it has been observed:

"When the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855' was enacted there were no motor vehicles on the roads in India. Today, thanks to the modern civilisation, thousands of motor vehicles are put on the road and the largest number of injuries and deaths are taking place on the roads on account of the motor vehicles acci- dents. In view of the fast and constantly increasing volume of traffic, the motor vehi- cles upon the roads may be regarded to some extent as coming within the principle of liability defined in Rylands v. Fletcher, [1968] LR. 3 HL 330, 340. From the point of view of the pedestrian the roads of this country have been rendered by the use of the motor vehicles highly dangerous. `Hit and run' cases where the drivers of the motor vehicles who have caused the accidents are not known are increasing in number. Where a pedestrian without negligence on his part is injured or killed by a motorist whether negligently or not, he or his legal representatives as the case may be should be entitled to recover damages if the principle of social justice should have any meaning at all. In order to meet to some extent the responsibility of the society to the 39 deaths and injuries caused in road accidents there has been a continuous agitation through out the world to make the liability for dam- ages arising out of motor vehicles accidents as a liability without fault. In order to meet the above social demand on the recommendation of the Indian Law Commission Chapter VIIA was introduced in the Act. (pp. 4 15-4 16)" In that case, this Court after taking note of the provi- sions contained in section 92A has further observed:

"It is thus seen that to a limited extent relief has been granted under section 92-A of the Act to the legal representatives of the victims who have died on account of motor vehicles accidents. Now they can claim Rs.15,000 without proof of any negligence on the part of the owner of the vehicle or of any other person. This part of the Act is clearly a departure from the usual common law princi- ple that a claimant should establish negli- gence on the part of the owner or driver of the motor vehicle before claiming any compen- sation for the death or permanent disablement caused on account of a motor vehicle accident.

To that extent the substantive law of the country stands modified." (pp. 41.6-4 17) It is thus evident that section 92-A was in the nature of a beneficial legislation enacted with a view to confer the benefit of expeditious payment of a limited amount by way of compensation to the victims of an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle on the basis of no fault liability. In the matter of interpretation of a beneficial legislation the approach of the courts is to adopt a con- struction which advances the beneficient purpose underlying the enactment in preference to a construction which tends to defeat that purpose. The same approach has been adopted by this Court while construing the provisions of the Act. See: Motor Owners' Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Jadavji Keshavji Modi & Ors., [1982] 1 SCR 860 and Skandia Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Kokilaben Chandravadan & Ors., [1987] 2 SCR 752.

The expression 'arising out of the use Of motor vehi- cles" was also used by Parliament in sub-section (1) of section 110 of the Act wherein provision was made for con- stitution of Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals for speedy and expeditious adjudication of claims of compensation in re- spect of accidents involving death or bodily injuries to 40 persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles or damages to any property of a third party so arising or both. Fur- thermore, by subsection (1) of section 94 of the Act an obligation was imposed that no person shall use except as a passenger or cause or allow any other person to,use a motor vehicle in a public place, unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that person or that other person, as the case may be, a policy of insurance complying with the requirements of Chapter VIII of the Act.

Section 95 prescribed the requirements of such insurance policies as well as limits of liability. In clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 95, it was laid down that the policy of insurance required must be a policy which insures the person or classes of persons specified in the policy to the extent specified in sub-section (2) against (i) any liability which may be incurred by him in respect of the death of or bodily injury to any person or damage to any property of a third party caused by or arising out of the use of the vehicle in a public place and (ii) the death of or bodily injury to any passenger of a public service vehi- cle caused by or arising out of the use of the vehicle in a public place. While construing the expression "arising out of the use of a motor vehicle" in sub-section (1) of section 92-A of the Act, regard will have to be had to the fact that expressions to the same effect were also contained in sec- tions 95 and 110 of the Act.

The first submission of Shri Sanghi is based on the definition of the expression "motor vehicle" contained in sub-section (18) of section 2 of the Act which was as under:

"2(18) "motor vehicle" means any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from an external or internal source and includes a chassis to which a body has not been attached and a trailer, but does not include a vehicle running upon fixed rails or a vehicle of a special type adapted for use only in a factory or in any other enclosed premises" Shri Sanghi has urged that the word "adapted" in the aforesaid provision has been construed by this Court in Bolani Ores Ltd. etc. v. State of Orissa etc., [1975] 2 SCR 138 to mean suitable or fit for use on the roads and that in the instant case, it cannot be said that at the time when the explosion and fire took place the petrol tanker which was lying turtle was suitable or fit for use on the road. We find it difficult to accept this contention. The petrol tanker was a vehicle manufactured for the purpose of trans- porting petrol. It was a vehicle which had been 41 adapted for such use and was suitable for use on the road for transporting petrol. At the time when the petrol tanker collided with the truck on the national highway, it was being used for the purpose of transporting petrol. It can- not, therefore, be disputed that when the said collision took place it was a motor vehicle as the said expression was defined in section 2(18) of the Act. Did it cease to be motor vehicle after the collision with the truck on account of its lying turtle on its side at some distance from the road as a result of the said collision? In our view, this question must be answered in the negative. Merely because the petrol tanker had turned turtle as a result of the collision and was lying at a short distance away from the road, does not mean that it had ceased to be suitable or fit for use on the road and it had ceased to be a motor vehicle.

No material has been placed on record to show that the petrol tanker would not have been in a position to move after it was put back on the wheels.

The question whether a vehicle has ceased to be a me- chanically propelled vehicle has been considered by the English Courts in cases involving prosecution for offence under Section 15 of the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949 which imposed a penalty on a person using on a public road any mechanically propelled vehicle for which a licence under the said Act was not in force. In Newberry v. Simmonds, [1961] 2 Q.B. 345 the prosecution was in respect of a motor-car whose engine had been stolen some time prior to the period in question. It was contended by the owner that since the engine of the motor-car had been stolen it had ceased to be a mechanically propelled vehicle. Negativing the said con- tention, it was held.

"We are, however, satisfied that a motor-car does not cease to be a mechanically propelled vehicle upon the mere removal of the engine if the evidence admits the possibility that the engine may shortly be replaced and the motive power restored." (p. 350) In Smart v. Allan & Anr., [1963] 1 Q.B. 291 a similar question arose. Here the defendant had bought a car for Pounds 2 and subsequently sold it as scrap for 30s. It was found that the engine was in a rusty condition and was incomplete and it did not work, and there was no gear-box or electric batteries; and the car was incapable of moving under its own power, having been towed from place to place and that it could only have been put in running order again by supplying a considerable number of spare parts and ef- fecting considerable repairs, the ' cost of which would have been out of all proportion to its value. In 42 support of the prosecution it was urged that every vehicle which starts its life as a mechanically propelled vehicle remains such until it is physically destroyed. Rejecting the said contention, Lord Parker, C.J. observed:

" ...... it seems to me as a matter of common sense that some limit must be put, and some stage must be reached, when one can say:

"This is so immobile that "it has ceased to be a mechanically propelled vehicle." Where, as in the present case, and unlike Newberry v. Simmonds, there is no reasonable prospect of the vehicle ever being made mobile again, it seems to me that, at any rate at that stage, a vehicle has ceased to be a mechanically pro- pelled vehicle". (p. 298) We are inclined to agree with this formulation.

In the instant case, it cannot be said that the petrol tanker as a result of the collision with the truck was damaged to such an extent that was no reasonable prospect of the vehicle ever being made mobile again. In the circum- stances, it cannot be held that the petrol tanker which was a motor vehicle when it collided with the truck had ceased to be a motor vehicle after the said collision and it could not be regarded a motor vehicle under Section 2(18) of the Act at the time when the explosion and fire took place.

The second submission of Shri Sanghi was that even if it be assumed that at the time when the explosion and fire took place in the petrol tanker it was a motor vehicle, the tanker was not being used as a motor vehicle at that time inasmuch as it was lying immobile on its side. It is, howev- er, not disputed by Shri Sanghi that at the time when the petrol tanker had collided with the truck, it was being used as a motor vehicle but his submission was that the said user came to an end on such collision when the petrol tanker turned turtle and was rendered immobile. This contention postulates a restricted meaning for the word "use" in the expression "use of the motor vehicle" by confining it to a situation when the vehicle is mobile. The learned counsel, for the respondent has, on the other hand, suggested a wider connotation for the word "use" so as to include the period when the vehicle is stationary and has invited our attention to the observations in Elliott v. Grey, [1960] 1 Q.B. 367; Government Insurance Office South Wales v. R.J. Green & Lloyd Pty. Ltd., [1965] 114 CLR 437; Pushpa Rani Chopra v. Anokha Singh & Ors., [1975] ACJ 396; 43 General Manager, K.S.R.T.C. v. S. Satalingappa & Ors., [1979] ACJ 452 and Oriental Fire & General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Suman Navnath Rajguru & Ors., [1985] ACJ 243.

Elliott v. Grey, supra related to prosecution for of- fence under section 35(1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1930 for using a motor car on road without there being in force in relation to such user an insurance policy in respect of third-party risks complying with the requirements of Part 2 of the said Act. The motor car of the appellant was standing on the road outside the appellant's house for the past few months, after it broke down and in the meanwhile the insur- ance cover of the motor car had terminated. While it was thus parked, another motor vehicle had collided with appel- lant's motor car. On that date, the appellant had cleaned the car, sent the battery to be recharged and had replaced the old carburettor with a new one. The car could not be mechanically propelled because the engine would not work. On behalf of the appellant it was urged that the ordinary use of the words "to use" in relation to a motor car contem- plates some active movement, either driving it or taking part in a journey in it or moving it and the word "use" is quite inapt in relation to a motor car which cannot be used because it is out of action. The said contention was reject- ed. The word "use"was construed in a wider sense to mean "to have the advantage of a vehicle as a means of transport including for any period or time between journeys". In taking this view, Lord Parker, C.J. stated that he was influenced by the fact that section 35. appeared in Part 2 of the Road Traffic Act under the heading "Provisions against third party risks arising out of the use of motor vehicles" which is intended for protection of third parties.

Similarly in Government Insurance Office of New South Wales v. R.J. Green & Lloyd Pty. Ltd., supra Barwick, CJ, while construing the word 'use' in Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) Act, 1942-1951 (N.S.W.) has observed that the said Act indicated an intention to cover a very wide field, a field more extensive than what might be called the traffic use of the motor vehicle. The learned Chief Justice has further observed: "In my opinion, the relevant use of the vehicle cannot be confined to the periods it is in motion, or its parts moving in some operation. It may be in use though stationary".

In Pushpa Rani Chopra & Ors. v. Anokha Singh & Ors., supra a learned Judge of the Delhi High Court, while con- struing the word 'use' in section 110 of the Act, has held that the said word has been used in a wider sense and it covers all employments of the motor vehicle on the 44 public places including its driving, parking, keeping sta- tionarys repairing, or leaving unattended on the road or for any other purpose. In that case, the truck in question was stationary as its axle had broken down and it was parked on the road at the time of the accident.

In General Manager, K.S.R.T.C. v. S. Satalingappa and Ors.,' supra the vehicle in question was a transport bus which was stationed by its driver on a slope unattended. The bus suddenly started moving and dashed against a tea shop.

It was held by a Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court that the bus was in use at that time.

In Oriental Fire & General Ins. Co. Ltd. v. Suman Nav- nath Rajguru and Ors., supra a petrol tanker was parked near' the footpath on the road in front of a petrol pump and it burst and explOded causing fatal injuries to a passerby.

A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court rejected the contention that at the material time, the petrol tanker was not in 'use'.

These decisions indicate that the word "use", in the context of motor vehicles, has been construed in a wider sense to include the period when the vehicle is not moving and is stationary, being either parked on the road and when it is not in a position to move due to some break-down or mechanical defect. Relying on the abovementioned decisions, the Appellate Bench of the High Court had held that the expression "use of a motor vehicle" in section 92-A covers accidents which occur both when the vehicle is in motion and when it is stationary. With reference to the facts of the present. case the learned Judges have observed that the tanker in question'while proceeding along National Highway No. 4 (i.e. while in use) after colliding with a motor lorry was lying on the side and that it cannot be claimed that after the collision the use of the tanker had ceased only because it was disabled. We are in agreement with the said approach of the High Court. In our opinion, the word "use" has a wider connotation to cover the period when the vehicle is not moving and is stationary and the use of a vehicle does not cease on account of the vehicle having been ren- dered immobile on account of a break-down or mechanical defect or accident. In the circumstances, it cannot be said that the petrol tanker was not in the use at the time when it was lying on its side after the collision with the truck.

The only other question which remains to be considered is whether the explosion and fire which caused injuries to the deceased son of the respondent can be said to have taken place due to an 45 accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle viz. the petrol tanker. Shri Sanghi has urged that the expression 'arising out of the use of a motor vehicle' implies a causal relationship between the user of the motor vehicle and the accident which has resulted in death or disablement and that in the present case it cannot be said that the explosion and fire which took place in the petrol tanker four and half hours after' the collision and after the tanker had turned turtle was an accident arising out of the use of the petrol tanker. In this regard, Shri Sanghi has emphasised that the persons who sustained injuries as a result of the explosion and fire in the-petrol tanker were pilfering petrol which had leaked out from the petrol tanker and the explosion and fire was the result of the said unlawful activity of those persons and that it was not on account of the user of the petrol tanker. Shri Sanghi, in this 'connection, has placed reliance on the decision in Mackinnon Machkenzie & Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Ibrahim Mahommed Issak, [1970] 1 SCR 869 wherein this Court has construed the expression 'arising out of employment' appearing in section 3 of the Workmen's Compen- sation Act, 1923 and has laid down that there must be a causal relationship between the accident and the employment.

Shri Sanghi has urged that similarly there must be a causal relationship between the accident and the user of the motor vehicle for the purpose of maintainability of a claim under section 92A of the Act.

With regard to the submission of Shri Sanghi that the persons who sustained injuries as a result of the explosion and fire in the' petrol tanker were pilfering petrol which had leaked out from the tanker and that the explosion and fire was the result of this unlawful activity of those persons, we find that Claims Tribunal has recorded a finding that persons from the village Kavatha had gathered with their tins and barrels with the intention to pilfer petrol from the tanker and while pilfering the petrol probably ignition was caused by friction, but the said finding of the Claims Tribunal has not been upheld by the High Court. The learned Single Judge has observed:

"The learned member was influenced by the fact that certain villagers were trying to pilfer from the tanker to indicate that the explosion was a direct consequence of the attempt of pilfering the petrol from the tanker. In my view, the learned member was not justified in proceeding on the assumption that all the injured and the deceased were engaged in pilfering the petrol and the explosion was a direct consequence of the same...............

It would not be just to hold that all the injured as also the deceased 46 who met their fate on account of the explosion were all engaged in the crime of pilfering of the petrol." The Appellate Bench affirming the said finding of the learned Single Judge has laid down:

"The learned Single Judge has also rightly pointed out that there was also no evidence whatsoever that the person or persons in respect of whose deaths compensation had been claimed under section 92-A were themselves actually committing theft or pilferage of petrol at the time of their deaths. These victims could have been only curious bystand- ers at the site of the accident.... We find that in the instant case the papers and docu- ments including the F.I.R. and the panchnama produced before the Tribunal did not establish that the fire was ignited by someone careless- ly throwing a match stick." We find no ground for interfering with these findings recorded by the High Court and we must proceed on the basis that the persons who sustained injuries as a result of the explosion and fire in the petrol tanker were not indulging in any unlawful activity which may have caused the said explosion and fire. The matter has, therefore, to be exam- ined in the light of the meaning to be assigned to the words "arising out of" in the expression "accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle" in section 92-A.

The words "arising out of" have been used in various statutes in different contexts and have been construed by Courts widely as well as narrowly, keeping in view the context in which they have been used in a particular legis- lation.

In Heyman v. Darwins Ltd., [1942] A.C. 356 while con- struing the arbitration clause in a contract, Lord Porter expressed the view that as compared to the word "under", the expression "arising out of" has a wider meaning. In Union of India v. E.B. Aaby's Rederi A/S, [1975] A.C. 797 Viscount Discount Dilhorne and Lord Salmon stated that they could not discover any difference between the expression "arising out of" and "arising under" and they equated "arising out of" in the arbitration clause in a Charter Party with "arising under".

In Samick Lines Co. Ltd. v. Owners of the Antonis P. Lemos, [1985] 2 WLR 468 the House of Lords was considering the question 47 whether a claim for damages based on negligence in tort could be regarded as a claim arising out of an agreement under section 20(2)(1)(h) of the Supreme Court Act, 1981 and fell within the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court.

The words "any claim arising out of any agreement relating to the carriage of goods in a ship or to the use or hire of a ship" in section 20(2)(i)(h) were held to be wide enough to cover claims, whether in contract or tort arising out of any agreement relating to the carriage of goods in a vessel and it was also held that for such an agreement to come within paragraph (h), it was not necessary that the claim in question be directly connected with some agreement of the kinds referred to in it. The words "arising out of were not construed to mean "arising under" as in Union of India v. E.B. Aaby's A/S, supra which decision was held inapplicable to the construction of section 20(2)(1)(h) and it was ob- served by Lord Brandon:

"With regard to the first point, I would readily accept that in certain contexts the expression "arising out of" may, on the ordi- nary and natural meaning of the words use, be the equivalent of the expression "arising under", and not that of the wider expression "connected with". In my view however; the' expression "arising out of' is, on the ordi- nary and natural meaning of the words used, capable, in other contexts; of being the equivalent of the Wider expression "connected with". Whether the expression "arising out of has the narrower or the wider meaning in any particular ease must depend on the context in which it is used".

keeping in view the context in Which the expression was used in the statute it was construed to have the wider meaning viz. "connected With".

In the context of motor accidents the expressions "caused by" and "arising out of" are often used in statutes.

Although both these expression's imply a causal relation- ship: between the accident resulting in injury and the use of the motor vehicle but they differ in the degree of prox- imity of such relationship. This distinction has been lucid- ly brought out in the decision of the High Court of Austra- lia in Government Insurance Office of N. S.W. v. R.J.

Green's, case supra wherein Lord Barwick, CJ has stated:

"Bearing in mind the general purpose of the Act I think the expression 'arising out of must be taken to require a less 48 proxionship of the injury to the relevant use of the vehicle than is required to satisfy the words `caused by'. It may be that an associa- tion of the injury with the use of the vehicle while it cannot be said that that use was causally related to the injury may yet be enough to satisfy the expression 'arise out of' as used in the Act and in the policy." (p. 433) In the same case, Windeyer, J. has observed as under:

"The words 'injury caused by or arising out of the use of the vehicle' postulate a causal relationship between the use of the vehicle and the injury. `Caused by' connotes a `di- rect' or 'proximate' relationship of cause and effect. 'Arising out of' extends this to a result that is less immediate; but it still carries a sense of consequence." (p. 447) This would show that as compared to the expression "caused by", the expression "arising out of" has a wider connotation. The expression "caused by" was used in sections 95(1)(b)(i) and (ii) and 96(2)(b)(ii) of the Act. In section 92-A, Parliament, however, chose to use the expression "arising out of" which indicates that for the purpose of awarding compensation under section 92-A, the causal rela- tionship between the use of the motor vehicle and the acci- dent resulting in death or permanent disablement is not required to be direct and proximate and it can be less immediate. This would imply that accident should be connect- ed with the use of the motor vehicle but the said connection need not be direct and immediate. This construction of the expression "arising out of the use of a motor vehicle" in section 92-A enlarges the field of protection made available to the victims of an accident and is in consonance with the beneficial object underlying the enactment.

Was the accident involving explosion and fire in the petrol tanker connected with the use of tanker as a motor vehicle? In our view, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, this question must be answered in the affirma- tive. The High Court has found that the tanker in question was carrying petrol which is a highly combustible and vola- tile material and after the collision with the other motor vehicle the tanker had fallen on one of its sides on sloping ground resulting in escape of highly inflammable petrol and that there was grave risk of explosion and fire from the petrol coming out of the tanker. In the 49 light of the aforesaid circumstances the learnedJudges of the High Court have rightly concluded that the collision between the tanker and the other vehicle which had occurred earlier and the escape of petrol from the tanker which ultimately resulted in the explosion and fire were not unconnected but related events and merely because there was interval of about four to four and half hours between the said collision and the explosion and fire in the tanker, it cannot be necessarily inferred that there was no Causal relation between explosion and fire. In the circumstances, it must be held that the explosion and fire resulting in the injuries which led to the death of Deepak Uttam More was due to an accident arising out of the use of the motor vehicle viz. the petrol tanker No. MKL 7461.

Shri Sanghi has also raised a question as to the proce- dure to be followed by the Claims Tribunal while/adjudicat- ing claims under section 92A of the Act and has submitted that such claims have to be adjudicated upon like other claims under section 110A of the Act and that claimant must first adduce evidence to establish his/her case and that the owner as well as the insurer of the vehicle in question must have a right to adduce evidence to rebut the same. In this context, it may be mentioned that procedure for adjudication of a claim petition under Section 110A of the Act by the Accident Claims Tribunal is contained in Rules 291 to 311 of the Bombay Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules'). The said Rules prescribe a form for filing a claim petition and the documents to be filed along- with it (Rule 291), examination of the applicant (Rule 293), issue of notice to the opposite party (Rule 297), filing of written statement by the opposite party (Rule 298), framing of issues (Rule 299), recording of evidence (Rules 300 and 301), local inspection (Rule 302) and judgment and award of compensation (Rule 306).

After the enactment of section 92-A, amendments have been made in the Rules in 1984.

In Rule 291A which has been inserted by such amendments, it has been provided that:

"Notwithstanding anything contained in rule 291, every application, for a: claim under section 92A shall be filed before the Claims Tribunal in triplicate and shall be signed by the appellant and the following documents be appended to every such application, namely, 50 (i) Panchnama of the accident;

(ii) First information report;

(iii) Injury CertifiCate or in case of death, postmortem report or death certificate and;

(iv) a certificate regarding ownership and insurance particulars of vehicle involved in the accident from the Regional Transport Officer or the Police".

Rule 297 was substituted by the fallowing, provision:

"297. Notice to opposite party (1) If the application is not dismissed under rule 296, the Claims Tribunal shall, on an application in writing made to it by the applicant, sent to the owner or the driver of the vehicle or both from whom the applicant claims relief (here in after re- ferred to as "the opposite party") and the insurer, a copy of the application, together with a notice of the date on which it will dispose of the application, and may call Upon the parties to produce on that date any evi- dence which they may wish to tender.

(2) Where the applicant makes a claim for compensation under section 92A, the Claims Tribunal shall give notice to the owner and insurer, if any, of the vehicle involved in the accident directing them to appeal on a date not later than ten days from the date of issue of such notice The date so fixed for such appearance shall also be not later than fifteen days from the receipt of the claims application filed by the claimant. The Claims Tribunal shall state in such notice that in case they fail to appear on such appointed date the Tribunal will, proceed ex parte on the presumption that they have no contention to make against the award of compensation." Rule 306 A empowers the Claims Tribunal to obtain what- ever supplementary information and documents which may be found necessary from the police, medical and other authori- ties and proceed to award the claim whether the parties who were given notice to appear or not on the appointed date.

Rule 306B lays down:

51 "(1) The Claims Tribunal shall proceed to award the claim of compensation under section 92A on the basis of (i) registration certifi- cate of the motor vehicle involved in the accident;

(ii) insurance certificate or policy relating to the insurance of the vehicle against third party risks;

(iii) panchnama and first information report;

(iv) post-mortem certificate or death certifi- cate; or certificate of injury from the medi- cal officer; and

(v) the nature of the treatment given by the medical officer who has examined the victim.

(2) The Claims Tribunal in passing orders, shall make an award of compensation of fifteen thousand rupees in respect of the death and of seven thousand five hundred rupees in respect of the permanent disablement to be paid by insurer or owner of the vehicle involved in the accident.

(3) Where compensation is awarded to two or more persons, the Claims Tribunal shall also specify the amount payable to each of them.

(4) The Claims Tribunal in passing order under subrule (2) shall direct the insurer or owner of the vehicle involved in the accident to pay the amount of compensation to the claimant within two weeks from the date of the said order.

(5) The Claims Tribunal shall as far as possible dispose of the application for compensation within forty-five days from the date of receipt of such application".

Rule 306C prescribes the procedure of disbursement of compensation under Section 92A to the legal heirs in case of death. The submission of Shri Sanghi is that in spite of the aforesaid amendments which have been introduced in the Rules after the enactment of section 92A, the Claims Tribunal is required to follow the procedure contained in the other rules before awarding compensation under section 92A of the Act. In other words, it must proceed to adjudicate the claim 52 after the opposite party is afforded an opportunity to file the written submission under Rule 298, by framing issues under Rule 299 and after recording evidence in accordance with rules 300 and 301 and that it is not permissible for the Claims Tribunal to make an order purely on the basis of the documents referred to in Rules 29 IA, 306A and 306B. In our opinion, the said submission of Shri Sanghi cannot be accepted. The object underlying the enactment of section 92A is to make available to the claimant compensation amount to the extent of Rs. 15,000 in case of death and Rs.7,500 in case of permanent disablement as expeditiously as possible and the said award has to be made before adjudication of the claim under section 110A of the Act. This would be apparent from the provisions of section 92B of the Act. Section 92B(2) of the Act provides that a claim for compensation under section 92A in respect of death or permanent disable- ment of any person shall be disposed of as expeditiously as possible and where compensation is claimed in respect of such death or permanent disablement under section 92A and also in pursuance of any right on the principle of fault, the claim for compensation under section 92A shall be dis- posed of'as aforesaid in the first place. With a view to give effect to the said directive contained in section 92B of the Act, the Maharashtra Government has amended the Rules and has inserted special provisions in respect of claims under section 92A in rules 291A, 291B, 297(2), 306A, 306B, 306C and 306D of the Rules. The object underlying the said provisions is to enable expeditious disposal of a claim petition under Section 92A of the Act. The said object would be defeated if the Claims Tribunal is required to hold a regular trial in the same manner as for adjudicating a claim petition under section 110 A of the Act. Morever, for award- ing compensation under section 92A of the Act, the Claims Tribunal is required to satisfy itself in respect of the following matters:

(i) an accident has arisen out of the use of a motor vehicle;

(ii) the said accident has resulted in permanent disablement of the person who is making the claim or death of the person whose legal representative is making the claim;

(iii) the claim is made against the owner and the insurer of the motor vehicle involved in the accident;

The documents referred to in Rules 291A and 306B will enable the Claims Tribunal to ascertain the necessary facts in regard to these matters. The panchnama and the First information Report will show 53 whether the accident had arisen out of the use of the motor vehicle in question. The Injury Certificate or the post- mortem report will show the nature of injuries and the cause of death. The Registration Certificate and Insurance Certif- icate of the motor vehicle will indicate who is the owner and insurer of the vehicle. In the event of the Claims Tribunal feeling doubtful about the correctness or genuine- ness of any of these documents or if it considers it neces- sary to obtain supplementary information or documents, Rules 306A empowers the Claims Tribunal to obtain such supplemen- tary information or documents from the Police, medical or other authorities. This would show that Rules 291A, 306A and 306B contain adequate provisions which would enable the Claims Tribunal to satisfy itself in respect of the matters necessary for awarding compensation under section 92A of the Act and in view of these special provisions which were introduced in the Rules by the amendments in 1984, the Claims Tribunal is not required to follow the normal proce- dure prescribed under the Act and the Rules with regard to adjudication of a claim under section 110A of the Act for the purpose of making an order on a claim petition under section 92A of the Act.

In the result, we find no merit in this special leave petition which is accordingly dismissed. By order dated January 7, 1991, while directing issue of notice on the special leave petition, it was ordered that the issue of the said notice shall be subject to the condition that the petitioners shall deposit a sum of Rs.5,000 in the Registry of this Court towards cost of the respondent and that the notice shall be issued only after the amount of cost has been deposited and the said amount shall be paid over to the respondent on her putting in appearance in this Court and the payment of the amount of cost to the respondent shall be irrespective of the result of the special leave petition. In view of the said order, no further direction with regard to costs is necessary.

G.N. Petition dismissed.

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