The present matter is an appeal that is presented under Section 110-D of the
Motor Vehicles Act challenging the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal's decision,
Delhi dated 17 March 1966, which rejected the application filed for the recovery
of compensation. There are six appellants in the present matter, the first one
being the widow, the second one are the sons, third is the daughter of the
deceased, mother and father of the dead, i.e., Sham Lal Malik was appellant
numbers 4 and 5.
Name of the Case: Ishwar Devi Malik And Ors. vs. Union of India Through The
... on 19 March 1968
Decided by Delhi High Court
Citation: AIR 1969 Delhi 183
Bench: I. Dua, T. Tatachari
They all together applied as the deceased's remaining heirs to
claim the compensation amounting to Rs 4,50,000 due to the accident that
occurred on 26 December 1961 at Farash Khana Bus Stop at around 4 PM resulting
in the death of the said Sham Lal Malik.
The applicants in their affidavit
submitted that the deceased was 40 years old and was doing business from which
he earned around Rs 1700 monthly. According to the applicants, he was waiting
for the bus at the bus stop mentioned above. Soon after that, a Bus No. Dlp 230
reached the Bus Stop, and when the deceased put his foot on the footboard of the
bus, the conductor of the said bus in a rash and haphazard manner rang the bell,
knowing that the deceased has not even entered into the bus and the driver
started the bus.
The applicants further said that after some time, the said
Bus driver passed through another bus no. 730, which was standing very close to
the deceased due to which he was sand-witched between the two buses, which
resulted in serious chest injuries, and soon after that, he was declared dead at
around 6 PM by Irwin Hospital.
According to the applicants, the deceased died
due to the rash and negligent acts of the bus drivers and the conductor of the
bus No. 230 of route no. 2 and both were the employees of the Union of India who
were the Respondents No. 1-3. The applicants stated that the respondents were
held responsible for their employees' acts as the actions were carried during
their work, and thus, the respondents no. 1-3 were liable to pay the
compensation as claimed by the applicants.
The three crucial issues which were raised in the appellate court were:
- Whether the deceased, i.e., Sham Lal Malik, died due to the rash and
negligent acts of the driver and conductor of bus No. Dlp 230 at route no. 2
- Whether Sham Lal Malik (deceased) was guilty of contributory negligence?
- What is the quantum of compensation to be paid to the applicants, and
who should be liable to pay the compensation?
The safety of the passenger who is traveling in public transportation should be
the foremost concern to the person in charge of and control of public
transportation. Furthermore, Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939
has been applied according to which, an application for compensation arising
out of an accident of the nature specified in Section 110 (1) may be made by the
person who has sustained the injury, or where death has resulted from the
accident, by the legal representatives of the deceased, or by an agent duly
authorised by the person injured or the legal representatives of the deceased,
as the case may be, and also prescribes the Period within which such an
application may be made.
Also, Section 1-A of the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855,
according to which the beneficiaries of the deceased are entitled to the
compensation for monetary loss arises from the death of the individual of which
the recipients have been deprived. Moreover, the Court also applied a
principle to arrive at equitable compensation. According to this principle, the
monetary loss to the applicants must be determined by proportioning the loss to
them of the future financial gain and the advantage which came to them because
The Court discussed the first and second issues together as they both are
somehow connected. Concerning this, the Court examined the statements of three
eyewitnesses. But the main concern was with the eyewitness no. 3, i.e., Arjan
Dass. According to the tribunal ruling, this witness's testimony cannot be
considered and does not hold good as he is the deceased's real brother in law.
But the Court rejected this reasoning given by the tribunal and placed its
reliance upon the Supreme Court ruling in Masalti V. Uttar Pradesh
, where it
was held that even in a lawsuit involving criminal matter, the Court cannot
dismiss the evidence given by the interested person due to the fact that the
witness is interested in individual, but the Court should keep in mind and
accordingly examines the correctness and genuineness of the evidence.
held that the tribunal was wrong in not including the testimony of A.W7 as A.W1
and A.W3 also corroborated his correctness. The Court, based on the findings,
stated that the deceased boarded the bus when it was unmoving, but while he was
still putting his foot in the bus, and most of his body parts were lying outside
the bus. The conductor, knowing these facts rang the bell and the driver started
driving the bus.
This act of conductor was rash and negligent. The driver also
acted in a rash and negligent manner as he did not allow adequate clearance
while passing by the side of another standing Bus. For this, the Court also
placed reliance upon Kuldip Lal Bhardari v. Umed Singh
, in which there were
somewhat similar facts as that of the present case.
Regarding the question of contributory negligence on the part of the deceased,
i.e., Sham Lal Malik, the Court stated that the bus was motionless when the said
person in question boarded it, and thus, the issue of contributory negligence
does not arise.
For the third issue, the Court stated that there are two kinds of damages or
compensation, which are recoverable under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855. The
first where the compensation awarded is proportional to the loss resulting from
the death of the person named in Section 1-A of the said act. The second one,
which is provided under Section 2, talks about the loss done to the deceased's
The Court stated that the applicants did not file compensation under the
second type; thus, they were applicable only for the loss arising from the first
type. Hence, according to the Court, this type of compensation would be best
suited in the present case.
The Court applied the principle that the monetary
loss to the applicants has to be determined by proportioning the loss to them of
the future financial benefit and the pecuniary advantage that came to them
because of death. Based on the above formula, the Court ordered payment of
compensation to the deceased's wife and his children amounted to Rs 25,500 each
based on the calculations made by the Court and also ordered Rs 6,375 to be
payable each to the mother and the father of the deceased person i.e. Sham Lal
The Court ordered that both the driver and bus conductor are liable for rash and
negligent acts (respondents no. 4 & 5), and because of their actions, the
deceased had died.
The Court also held that that deceased, i.e., Sham Lal Malik was not liable for
contributory negligence on his part. Furthermore, the Court ordered compensation
to be payable to all the applicants. The court held that the Municipal
Corporation of Delhi (Respondent No. 2) and Delhi Transport Undertaking
(Respondent No. 3) are liable for the payment of compensation to the
Written By: Mudit Saraf
- AIR 1969 Delhi 183, para 2.
- AIR 1969 Delhi 183, para 8.
- AIR 1969 Delhi 183, para 37.
- Section 110-A, Motor Vehicles Act 1939.
- Section 1-A, Fatal Accidents Act 1855.
- AIR 1969 Delhi 183, para 43.
- AIR 1965 SC 202.
- 1966 Ace. C. J. 110 (Punj).
- AIR 1969 Delhi 183, para 39.
- AIR 1969 Delhi 183, para 43.
- AIR 1969 Delhi 183, para 52.