Managing Director B.M.T.C. Vs.
Union of India &
ANR.  INSC 757 (30 April 2008)
A.K.MATHUR & ALTAMAS KABIR
O R D E R CIVIL APPEAL NO.3164 OF 2008 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.12854 of
2006) Leave granted.
This appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment of the High
Court dated 31st May, 2005 in M.F.A. No.5166 of 2002 whereby the
learned Single Judge set aside the order passed by the MACT Court and
allowed the appeal preferred by the Union of India through the Officer
Commandant Army School of Mechanical. The learned Single Judge reversed the
judgment of the Claims Tribunal and awarded a compensation and apportioned it
to 50% 50% holding the appellant herein responsible for this accident on the
basis of contributory negligence.
We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
The brief facts which are necessary for the disposal of this appeal are that
on 30th January, 1994 at -2- about 7.20 p.m. in the evening the applicant
Bistal Seff was driving the three tons capacity Swaraj Mazda vehicle bearing
registration No.92D- 90-299 KST on Bangalore Bellary Road near Canara Bank bus
stop at Hebbala i.e. at a distance of about half a kilometer from Hebbala
Police Station. He was driving the vehicle at the speed of about 45 K.M. per
hour. It is alleged by the claimant that the vehicle MEF 1543 driven by the
respondent (appellant herein) overtook the claimant's vehicle and suddenly
stopped on the road without giving any signal. Therefore, the respondent herein
could not stop the vehicle in time and dashed against the vehicle of the
appellant. It is alleged that the driver of the appellant herein was
responsible for this accident. He claimed compensation against the appellant in
a sum of Rs.1,40,773/- and expenses of Rs.16,400/- as labour totalling
Rs.1,57,173/-. The claim was contested by the appellant respondent and the
Claims Tribunal after considering the evidence on record came to conclusion
that the claimant's claim is without any basis as the claimant was responsible
for the accident and not the appellant respondent. The M.A.C.T. Court after
considering the relevant documents, i.e. the charge sheet (Exh.P-2), the
Inquest Report (Exh. P-4), the -3- sketch (Exh. P-3), report of the Motor
Vehicle Inspector (Exh.P-5) came to the conclusion that it is the
claimant-respondent herein who was responsible for this accident. The Claim
Petition was dismissed.
Aggrieved against this, the claimant filed an appeal before the High Court.
The learned Single Judge of the High Court without adverting to
the facts and the reasons given by the MACT Court apportioned the
claim of both and held them contributory negligent and directed that for the
claim of Rs.1,57,173/- both the appellant and respondent shall contribute to
the extent of 50% i.e. compensation in the sum of Rs.78,587/- with interest of
6% per annum from the date of filing of petition till the payment is made.
Aggrieved against this order, the respondent (non claimant) has filed the
After hearing learned counsel for both the parties and perusing the record,
we fail to understand the reason given by the learned Single Judge of the High
Court for making the case of contributory negligence.
In fact on the finding recorded by the MACT Court it is more than
apparent that the appellant's vehicle was supposed to stay at the bus stand
and that the bus was standing there, the -4- claimant who was driving the
vehicle in rash and negligent manner came and dashed on the appellant's bus on
rear side. This version has been fully substantiated by the Claims Tribunal on
the basis of the relevant documents, i.e. the charge sheet (Exh.P-2), the
Inquest Report (Exh. P-4), the sketch (Exh. P-3) and the report of the Military
(Exh.P-5). On the basis of all these facts, the MACT Court came to the
conclusion that it is military's vehicle which collided against the
appellant's vehicle and responsibility for this unfortunate accident is on
claimant. Consequently, the view taken by the MACT Court appears to
be justified as it is based on the evidence. Learned Single Judge of the
High Court allowed the appeal without adverting to the facts and the
finding recorded by the MACT Court. Therefore, the view taken by the
High Court that there is a contributory negligence is without any reason
Consequently, we set aside the order of the learned Single Judge of the High
Court and allow this appeal and dismiss the claim.
-5- Any observation made in this case pertains to the decision of this case
only and will not prejudice the criminal case of the respondent, if it is
pending in the Trial Court.