Jagbir Singh & Ors Vs. General
Manager, Punjab Roadways & Ors  INSC 216 (24 October 1986)
KHALID, V. (J) KHALID, V. (J) PATHAK, R.S.
CITATION: 1987 AIR 70 1986 SCR (3)1095 1986
SCC (4) 431 JT 1986 699 1986 SCALE (2)681
F 1992 SC1261 (12)
Motor Vehicles Act, 1939: ss. 110, 110A, 110B
and 110CC-Motor accident claim-Quantum of compensation- Determination by
Tribunal-Validity of-Rate of interest- Entitlement of the claimant.
A State Roadways bus met with an accident
resulting in the death of three persons. On an application being filed on
behalf of one of the persons, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarded a
compensation of Rs.93,600 to the widow and the minor children of the deceased,
with interest at 6 per cent per annum.
The claimants as well as the State appealed
to the High Court, which dismissed the claimants' appeal, and partly allowed
the appeal by the State. While holding that the accident was caused by the rash
and negligent act of the driver of the bus, the High Court reduced the
compensation to Rs.79,200 but confirmed the award of interest made by the
In the special leave petition it was
contended for the petitioners-claimants that they were entitled to an even
greater amount of compensation on account of the different sources of income
arising to the deceased.
Disposing of the special leave pention, the
HELD: The High Court erred in reducing the
quantum of compensation awarded by the Tribunal. There was sufficient material
on the record to justify the quantification determined by the Tribunal and
there was no reason why the amount should have been reduced. The amount of
compensation assessed by the Tribunal should, therefore, be maintained.
[1097B-D] The petitioners are entitled to
interest at 12 per cent per annum 1096 from the date of the application for
compensation to the date of payment.  Narchinva V Kamat & Anr. Etc.
v. Alfredo Antonio Doe Martins & Ors., AIR 1985 SC 1281 and Smt. Chameli
Wati & Anr. v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi & Ors., AIR 1986 SC 1191,
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Special Leave
Petition (Civil) No. 2023 of 1983.
From the Judgment and Order dated 26.8.82 of
the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in L.P.A. No. 1172/82.
Hardev Singh and R.S. Sodhi for the
The Order of the Court was delivered by
PATHAK, J. This case has been pending in this Court for some years. On November
21, 1983 we directed issue of notice on the special leave petition. Almost
three years later, on August 11, 1986 when the case was taken up it was found
that the respondents had not entered appearance yet and consequently notice was
directed to issue afresh, indicating this time that the case would be decided
on the merits of the controversy itself between the parties. On the latter date
when no one appeared for the respondents, the case was adjourned for two weeks
again to enable the respondents to enter appearance. Thereafter on September 22,
1986 an order was made for the last time directing issue of notice to the
respondents returnable on October 20, 1986 and intimating that the special
leave petition would definitely be taken up on that date for final disposal on
the merits of the case.
It was made clear that the case would not be
adjourned on any account. We find that the respondents continue to be absent.
No reason has been shown for their absence, and in the circumstances we proceed
to dispose of the case.
A bus belonging to the Punjab Roadways met
with an accident on February 13, 1971, which resulted in the death of three
persons. One of those persons was Balbir Singh. An application was filed by the
petitioners, who are the widow and minor children of Balbir Singh, for
compensation before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. By an order dated
October 23, 1975 the Tribunal held the claimants entitled to compensation in
the sum of Rs.93,600 with interest at 6 per cent per annum. Dissatisfied with
the order, the claimants as well as the State 1097 Government appealed to the
High Court of Punjab and Haryana.
The High Court dismissed the appeal filed by
the claimants and partly allowed the appeal by the State. The High Court, while
holding that the accident was caused by the rash and negligent act of the
driver of the bus, reduced the compensation to Rs.79,200 but confirmed the
award of interest made by the Tribunal.
After carefully considering the matter we
think that the High Court erred in reducing the quantum of compensation awarded
by the Tribunal. There was sufficient material, in our opinion, to justify the
quantification determined by the Tribunal and we see no reason why the amount
should have been reduced. It was strenuously contended by learned counsel for
the petitioners that the petitioners are entitled to an even greater amount of
compensation, in view of the different sources of income arising to the
deceased Balbir Singh. We think, however, that having regard to the material on
the record the amount of compensation assessed by the Tribunal should be
maintained. Accordingly we restore the order of the Tribunal awarding
compensation in the sum of Rs.93,600.
In regard to the interest, however, we think
the petitioners are entitled to a higher rate of interest than that awarded by
the Tribunal and confirmed by the High Court. We find that in Narchinva V.
Kamat and Anr. Etc. v. Alfredo Antonio Doe Martins & Ors., A.I.R. 1985 SC
1281, this Court awarded interest at 12 per cent from the date of the accident
up to the date of payment. Subsequently in Smt.
Chameli Wati & Anr. v. Delhi Municipal
Corporation of Delhi and Others, A.I.R. 1986 SC 1191, a larger Bench of this
Court awarded compensation at 12 per cent per annum from the date of the
application for compensation. We are of opinion that the petitioners should be
entitled to interest at 12 per cent per annum from the date of the application
for compensation to the date of payment. We order accordingly.
The special leave petition is disposed of in