Kumar Kulhar Vs. Rajasthan State Road Transport Corp.  INSC 1296 (27 July
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS. OF
2009 [Arising out of SLP(C) Nos.3889-3890 of 2008] Vijay Kumar Kulhar
....Appellant VERSUS Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation ....Respondent
Appellant, feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment
pronounced by Division Bench of High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan, at
Jaipur Bench in D.B. Civil Special Appeal (Civil) No. 195 of 2006 decided on
5.7.2007, arising out of the Award passed by learned Single Judge on 21.8.2006
in Misc. Appeal No.
1995, which in turn arose from the Award dated 5.12.1994 passed by Motor
Accident Claims Tribunal C.A. @ S.L.P.(C)Nos.3889-3890/08 2 (hereinafter
referred to as `Tribunal'), is before us challenging the same on variety of
We have accordingly heard learned counsel for the parties. Perused
Basic and material facts for deciding the said appeals are
mentioned herein below:
On 22.8.1983, the bus belonging to Rajasthan State Road Transport
Corporation (for short, 'RSRTC') was plying between Ramgarh to Jhunjhunu. At
the relevant point of time, it was being driven by PW-5 Ghosh Mohammad. When
the said bus reached near the crusher machine, after Jhunjhunu Bus Stand, a
truck bearing registration No. RJP 4120 loaded with stones overtook the bus
from right hand side and hit it, with the result driver of the bus lost its
control and it dashed against the stone bridge.
Since the bus was damaged in the said accident, RSRTC filed a
claim petition against the appellant for awarding compensation to the tune of
Rs. 43,078.80 before the Tribunal.
On notices being issued by the Tribunal, appellant herein, driver
and owner of the truck appeared C.A. @ S.L.P.(C)Nos.3889-3890/08 3 and filed
written statement denying the allegations made in the claim petition filed by
RSRTC. According to him, the bus had dashed against the bridge not because of
his fault but on account of rash and negligent driving of the bus by its driver
PW 5 Ghosh Mohammad.
On the strength of pleadings of the parties, the Tribunal framed
six issues. On appreciation of the evidence available on record, the Tribunal
came to the conclusion that both drivers, Ghosh Mohammad and present appellant
Vijay Kumar were responsible for the accident. Thus, Claims Tribunal proceeded
to dismiss the claim petition.
Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the said award of the
Tribunal, claimant RSRTC filed Misc. Appeal under Section 173 of the Motor
Vehicles Act in the High Court of Judicature at Rajasthan.
Learned Single Judge, after appreciating oral and documentary
evidence available on record, recorded a finding that accident had taken place
on account of rash and negligent driving of the truck by the appellant herein,
therefore, appellant would be liable to pay the amount of compensation.
Looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, the amount
claimed by RSRTC to the tune of Rs. 43078.80 was reduced to Rs. 40,000/-
together with interest at the rate of six per cent per annum from the date of
filing of the appeal till its payment.
Against the said award passed by the learned Single Judge,
appellant preferred Special Appeal (C) before the Division Bench of the High
Court. High Court considered the appeal on the question of its maintainability
in the light of provisions contained in Section 100-A of the Code of Civil
Procedure and also on the strength of the judgment of this Court in the case of
Kamal Kumar Datta and another vs. Ruby General Hospital Limited and others
reported in (2006) 7 SCC 613 and came to the conclusion that such intra court
appeal filed by the appellant after 1st July, 2002 would not be maintainable
and dismissed the same. Merit of the matter was not at all considered by the
In these appeals, the appellant has challenged not only the order
passed by the learned Single Judge awarding compensation of Rs. 40,000/- to
respondent but C.A. @ S.L.P.(C)Nos.3889-3890/08 5 also the order passed by
Division Bench in the Special Appeal (c).
Mr. Ravindra Bana, learned counsel appearing for the appellant
contended the following grounds :
that Division Bench committed an error in dismissing the Special Appeal (C)
holding therein that the same would not be maintainable;
Learned Single Judge has gravely erred in awarding compensation to respondent
even though it was not established that accident was caused solely due to rash
and negligent driving of the appellant.
Mr. S. K. Bhattacharya, learned counsel appearing for the
respondent submitted that against the well reasoned award passed by the learned
Single Judge as also the judgment of Division Bench holding that appeal was not
maintainable, no interference is called for and appeals deserve to be
It is pertinent to mention that as far as ground no.1 is
concerned, learned counsel for the appellant has not argued the same. Thus, we
are not required to answer the same.
P.W.5 Ghosh Mohammad driver of RSRTC Bus had lodged a report in
the Police Station, Jhunjhunu in respect of C.A. @ S.L.P.(C)Nos.3889-3890/08 6
the accident, registered as FIR No. 33/83 for the offence under Section 279 IPC
against the present appellant. Exh. 26 is the said report. No doubt, it is true
that appellant has been acquitted of the said offence but nothing turns on his
After the receipt of the report, police had prepared a spot map
Exh.1 wherein it has been noticed that left side of the truck had hit the right
side of the bus, as a result whereof, the bus was found in hanging position on
the left side of the bridge.
The mechanical examination report of the truck is marked as Exh.
37 in which it has been noticed that the mudguard on the left side of the truck
was dented and there were marks of peeling off and dents on the left side gate
of the truck.
Exh. 38 is the mechanical examination report of the bus according
to which front portion of the bus was damaged and was lying on the floor, the
steering control was also lying broken and there were damages on the right side
of the bus.
From the aforesaid evidence, it is clearly made out that left side
of the truck collided with right side of C.A. @ S.L.P.(C)Nos.3889-3890/08 7 the
bus and then it reached the main road. P.W.1 Mahinder Kumar Sharma conductor of
the bus and P.W.5, driver of the bus have deposed in one voice that the bus was
going at a moderate speed whereas the truck came at a high speed and dashed
violently to the rear right side of the bus as a result of which the bus dashed
against the bridge and broke the wall and was lying in a hanging position.
After carefully going through the FIR, the inspection reports of
both the vehicles and the oral evidence available on record, it is clearly made
out that it was truck driven by the appellant which had come in a rash and
negligent manner from behind and while attempting to overtake the bus had
dashed against it causing damage.
Once it is held that the accident was caused on account of rash
and negligent driving of the truck by the appellant, then obviously the
appellant would be liable to pay the amount of compensation, which has been
assessed by learned Single Judge at Rs. 40,000/-.
In the light of the foregoing discussion, we are of the opinion
that appeals have no merits and are C.A. @ S.L.P.(C)Nos.3889-3890/08 8
accordingly hereby dismissed but with no orders as to cost.
.....................J. [S.B. SINHA]
.....................J. [DEEPAK VERMA]
July 27, 2009.
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