Ravi Vs Badrinarayan
J U D G M E N T
Deepak Verma, J.
hands of destiny played havoc with the life of Ravi, then aged 8 years, on account
of motor road accident, on 7.10.2001 at about 8.30 AM, when rear side of truck bearing
Registration No. RJP - 1008, driven by Respondent No. 1 - Badrinarayan, owned by
Respondent No. 2 - Prahlad Singh and insured with Respondent No. 3 - M/s. National
Insurance Company Limited, hit the victim, causing multiple injuries to him. To
add to his miseries, his claim petition filed under Section 140 and 166 of the
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter shall be referred to as 'M.V. Act') before
Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jaipur (for short, `MACT'), registered as Claim
Petition No. 865 of 2004, came to be dismissed on 19.9.2007 by learned
Presiding Judge of the said Tribunal, mainly on the ground that formal FIR of the
incident was lodged belatedly and Appellant failed to establish that on the
fateful day, the said truck was involved in a motor road accident causing
injuries to him.
appeal filed before the learned Single Judge of the High Court of Judicature for
Rajasthan, Jaipur under Section 173 of the M.V. Act also came to be dismissed
on 29.10.2007. Thus, all hopes of, at least, getting some amount of compensation
to mitigate the miseries of the victim so as to lead a respectful and decent
life had come to a grinding halt. It is under these circumstances, he has
preferred the present appeal.
question which arises for our consideration in this Appeal is as to whether delay
in lodging the FIR of the accident could prove fatal so as to result into
dismissal of the Claim Petition filed by the claimant?
shorn of unnecessary details are as under:- On 7.10.2001, at about 8.30 AM,
Ravi was attending to his call of nature, just in front of his house. There appears
to be a 20' wide kutcha road in front of the said house. At that time, Respondent
No. 1, Badrinarayan, was reversing truck bearing Registration No. RJP - 1008.
Since there was no conductor, probably, he was not able to notice that Ravi was
sitting on the side of the road, thus while reversing the vehicle rashly and
negligently, it hit him from behind. The said accident was witnessed by AW 1 -
Suresh Kumar, father of the victim and AW 2, Hari Narayan. Soon after the accident,
both of them took Ravi to the hospital for treatment. Thus, they were not in a
position to lodge the FIR immediately. Even though police had come to the
hospital to record FIR but it could not be recorded on account of mental agony and
stress through which AW 1 - Suresh Kumar was passing. Obviously at that point
of time, he was more concerned to get the medical treatment for his son rather
than lodging FIR. Being a common man, oblivious of the niceties of law, he did
not deem it necessary to lodge the FIR immediately. Statements of Hari Narayan,
Suresh Kumar, Asif Khan and Ravi were recorded under Section 161 CrPC. On notice
being issued under Section 133 of the M.V. Act, the owner of the vehicle
submitted the following reply : "It is submitted that as per the
registration I am owner of truck no. RJP- 1008. On 7.10.2001 and at the time of
the accident, my truck was being driven by the driver Badri Narayan S/o sh. Ram
Nath Cast, Brahmin, Age 45 years R/o Purana Ghat, opposite Khaniya Dayal Hospital,
Police Station - Transport Nagar, Jaipur. I was informed about the said
accident on phone on the very same day. Sd/- (Prahlad Singh) Dated:
admission of Prahlad Singh, owner of the vehicle, amply proves that he was
aware of the accident and knew that his truck bearing Registration No. RJP -
1008 had met with accident on 7.10.01. Even though the aforesaid statement of
Respondent No. 2, Prahlad Singh, was recorded on 16.3.2002, but in this statement
he has categorically admitted that he was informed about the said accident on
phone on the very same day, i.e., on 7.10.01. It is also not in dispute that at
the relevant point of time the said truck was being driven by Respondent No. 1,
Badrinarayan, a fact also admitted by the owner of the truck.
of the victim, Suresh Kumar, lodged formal FIR under Section 154 of the CrPC on
26.1.2002, almost after 3 months from the date of the accident, giving details
of the said accident.
as mentioned hereinabove, the Appellant, being minor, filed a claim petition
through his father, before MACT claiming Rs. 11 lakhs to be awarded to him as
notices being issued, Respondent Nos. 1 and 2, driver and owner of the truck
respectively, remained absent, despite due service. Thus, they were proceeded
ex- parte. Written statement was filed only by Respondent No. 3, the Insurance
Company. But the Respondents did not lead any evidence in rebuttal to the
evidence led by the Appellant. Even the driver of the truck did not enter the Witness
Box to deny the factum of the accident.
the aforesaid circumstances, we have to examine whether the said truck was involved
in the accident and if so, to what extent victim Ravi could be compensated.
the accident that had taken place on 7.10.2001 at 8.30 AM, formal FIR was lodged
by Appellant's father with Police Station, T.P. Nagar, Jaipur on 26.1.2002 at 12.15
PM. Critical perusal thereof shows that Appellant's father had given the exact and
vivid description of the accident and the injuries sustained by his son Ravi in
the said accident. He has further disclosed therein that since 7.10.2001, his
son Ravi was time and again admitted in the Hospital and was undergoing
treatment, he could not lodge the FIR immediately.
further mentioned that police had come to the Hospital next day to record the FIR
and complete other formalities, but everyone present there suggested that since
Respondent no.1 was the neighbour of the Appellant, it was not desirable to lodge
an FIR and instead the matter of compensation could be sorted out in an amicable
manner amongst themselves. In view of this, FIR was not lodged immediately or
soon after the accident. Secondly, Ravi was still in Hospital undergoing treatment,
attending to which was more important for him than lodging the FIR. Hence,
there was delay in lodging the FIR.
has already been mentioned hereinabove that in response to the notice issued under
Section 133 of M.V. Act, Respondent No.2, the owner of the vehicle, Prahlad Singh
categorically admitted that his vehicle had met with an accident on 7.10.2001
and he was intimated about the same on phone the very same day. Thus, on this
admission, it is clearly made out that the vehicle in question was involved in
the accident, causing physical injuries to Ravi.
7.10.2001, Ravi was admitted in the hospital, his injury report form was also filled
up by the attending doctors, which bears the signature of Ravi's father Suresh.
It is clearly mentioned therein that the cause of injury was road transport accident
at about 9.00 a.m. on 7.10.2001, near his house. Suresh, father of the victim, further
declared that at that time he did not want any medical examination relating to
police case regarding the injuries caused to his son.
the formal FIR was registered by Suresh on 26.1.2002, a charge-sheet dated
21.03.2002 against Badrinarayan was prepared for commission of offences under Section
279 and 338 of the IPC and it was requested that legal action against accused Badrinarayan
be taken. This report was prepared by SHO of the concerned Police Station.
the aforesaid facts and circumstances, it is amply proved that the aforesaid
truck was involved in the road accident, which had caused injuries to Ravi. No doubt,
it is true that there has been delay in lodging the FIR but the same has already
been explained by Suresh. The explanation offered by him is not only satisfactory;
it inspires confidence as cogent and valid reasons have been assigned therein. Not
only this, a consistent stand has been taken by Suresh right from the beginning
till the lodging of the F.I.R.
reasons for delay are as under :-
was seriously injured, thus it was more important for Suresh to get him treated
had arrived at the hospital, where injury report was prepared in which it was mentioned
that injuries were caused on account of road accident at 9.00 a.m. on
categorical admission made by Prahlad Singh, owner of the truck, that vehicle in
question was involved in the accident on 7.10.2001, when the same was being
driven by Badrinarayan and this information was conveyed to him on phone the
very same day.
could not be lodged immediately as other persons in the locality pressurised
Suresh that it could be sorted out amicably since Badrinarayan, the driver of
the vehicle, was his neighbour.
was not aware of the niceties of law that lodging of FIR was condition
precedent before filing the Claim Petition. All these facts find place in the
formal FIR which was registered on 26.01.2002 at the instance of Suresh
cumulative effect of the aforesaid events clearly established that accident had
taken place on 7.10.2001 at about 8.30 in the morning on account of rash and negligent
reversing of the truck by driver Badrinarayan, owned by Respondent No. 2, Prahlad
Singh. Under these circumstances, it cannot be said that delay in lodging the FIR
could have proved fatal to the claim case filed by Ravi.
of the aforesaid events would show the bona fides of Suresh. As mentioned
hereinabove, a consistent stand has been taken right from the beginning till the
lodging of the FIR. The chronological events narrated hereinabove inspire confidence
and it does not smack of a concocted case which has been filed against the driver
and the owner of the vehicle only with an intention to get compensation.
is well-settled that delay in lodging FIR cannot be a ground to doubt the claimant's
case. Knowing the Indian conditions as they are, we cannot expect a common man
to first rush to the Police Station immediately after an accident. Human nature
and family responsibilities occupy the mind of kith and kin to such an extent that
they give more importance to get the victim treated rather than to rush to the Police
Station. Under such circumstances, they are not expected to act mechanically with
promptitude in lodging the FIR with the Police. Delay in lodging the FIR thus, cannot
be the ground to deny justice to the victim. In cases of delay, the courts are required
to examine the evidence with a closer scrutiny and in doing so; the contents of
the FIR should also be scrutinized more carefully. If court finds that there is
no indication of fabrication or it has not been concocted or engineered to
implicate innocent persons then, even if there is a delay in lodging the FIR, the
claim case cannot be dismissed merely on that ground.
purpose of lodging the FIR in such type of cases is primarily to intimate the police
to initiate investigation of criminal offences. Lodging of FIR certainly proves
factum of accident so that the victim is able to lodge a case for compensation
but delay in doing so cannot be the main ground for rejecting the claim
petition. In other words, although lodging of FIR is vital in deciding motor accident
claim cases, delay in lodging the same should not be treated as fatal for such
proceedings, if claimant has been able to demonstrate satisfactory and cogent
reasons for it. There could be variety of reasons in genuine cases for delayed
lodgment of FIR. Unless kith and kin of the victim are able to regain a certain
level of tranquility of mind and are composed to lodge it, even if, there is delay,
the same deserves to be condoned. In such circumstances, the authenticity of
the FIR assumes much more significance than delay in lodging thereof supported
by cogent reasons.
the case in hand, the Claims Tribunal as well as the High Court, committed grave
error in not appeciating the mental agony through which Suresh was passing, whose
son was severely injured.
the light of the aforesaid discussion, we are of the considered opinion that the
MACT as well as High Court committed error in coming to the conclusion that lodging
the FIR belatedly would result in dismissal of the claim petition.
the question comes for consideration as to how much amount can be awarded to
the Appellant. Record shows that victim is now aged about 16 years but is still
prosecuting his studies in class V only. Apparently, on account of nature of
injuries sustained by him, he was unable to prosecute his studies in right
earnest and lagged behind in the same. Medical Board Certificate issued by Government
R.D.B.P. Jaipuria Hospital, Jaipur dated 17.12.2004 shows that he has suffered the
following injuries and was admitted as many as on four occasions in the
hospital, intermittently : "Diagnosis: Abdominal Injury with fractured Pelvis
stricture urethra with ruptured urethra couplet transacted urethra (Case No.
020762) IInd Adm. 10.11.2001 to 12.11.2001, IIIrd Adm. 27.11.01 to 12.12.01;
IVth Adm. 28.12.01 to 1.1.2002."
is to be noted that in a case where injury sustained by victim is of permanent nature,
he suffers much more than the person who succumbs to the injury. In such cases,
the injured has to carry on the burden of permanent disability throughout his life,
which is certainly much more painful to the victim. In the present case, the Appellant
had suffered an injury of permanent nature as a result of which he is not able to
control his urine. He has to suffer with it throughout his life; thus the compensation
should not only be adequate but proper also.
account of aforesaid injury, his permanent physical disability has been assessed
at 50%. This report of the experts further shows that he is unable to control urine
and suffers from continence disability which could not be cured even after surgical
operation and frequent dilatation still takes place.
has also been accordingly issued a permanent disability certificate by the said
Medical Board. Therefore, the said certificate clearly establishes that Appellant
had sustained permanent disability to his own body to the extent of 50% and
even after several surgeries; he was not able to control his urination. We can
well appreciate and imagine the problems and difficulties of a young boy aged
16 years, who is not able to control his urination and spoils his clothes even
while attending school. We have been given to understand that he is required to
go with additional sets of clothings so that he could change the same, in case
they are spoiled. This is the state of affairs even as on date. We do not doubt
the genuineness and correctness of the aforesaid certificate. Even otherwise,
Respondents have also not contended that this certificate is forged or fabricated
and has been obtained with an intention to get compensation
looking into the matter from all angles, it is clearly established that in the said
accident, Appellant had suffered severe injuries of permanent nature which have
not been cured till date despite several surgeries. In our most modest computation,
looking into the nature of injuries which are permanent in nature, we are of the
opinion that a total amount of Rs. 2,50,000 (Rs. 2.5 Lakhs) to be awarded to the
Appellant payable by Respondents jointly and severally, would meet the ends of justice.
The aforesaid amount would also carry interest @ 6% p.a. from the date of filing
of petition till the same is actually paid. As a result thereof, award of the
Claims Tribunal and judgment and order of the High Court; are hereby set aside
and quashed, instead the Appellant's claim petition is allowed as mentioned above
with costs throughout. The appeal is allowed accordingly. Counsel's fee quantified
at Rs. 10,000/-.