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6 Important Supreme Court Judgments Pronounced Today [Friday, November 16, 2018]

1. Mahendra Pratap Dubey v. Managing Officer, Evacuee Property

Administration of Evacuee Property Act, 1950 - Section 10(2)(o) - Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 - Validity of the Sale Certificate - Once it is held that no sale certificate issued in favour of respondent by the Custodian of Evacuee Property, under the 1950 Act is forthcoming nor any entry in the official register is found in that regard, all persons claiming through him must suffer the consequences of such a finding of fact.

Petitioner's Advocate : Mohan Pandey
Respondent's Advocate : E.C. Agrawala
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Deepak Gupta
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar


2. Vijay Pullarwr v. Hanuman Deostan

Public Trusts Act, 1950 (Maharashtra) - Whether the property is a property of the trust and including the question as to whether it should be so recorded as the property of the trust, is a matter exclusively within the domain of the Charity Commissioner.

Petitioner's Advocate : Rameshwar Prasad Goyal
Respondent's Advocate : Karunakar Mahalik
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Deepak Gupta
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar

3. Vimla Devi v. National Insurance Company Limited

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - The Act is a beneficial piece of legislation enacted to give solace to the victims of the motor accident who suffer bodily injury or die untimely. The Act is designed in a manner, which relieves the victims from ensuring strict compliance provided in law, which are otherwise applicable to the suits and other proceedings while prosecuting the claim petition filed under the Act for claiming compensation for the loss sustained by them in the accident.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Section 158 - Production of certain certificates, licence and permit in certain cases.



Section 158 of the Act casts a duty on a person driving a motor vehicle to produce certain certificates, driving licence and permit on being required by a police officer to do so in relation to the use of the vehicle. Sub­section (6), which was added by way of amendment in 1994 to Section 158 casts a duty on the officer in­charge of the police station to forward a copy of the information (FIR)/report regarding any accident involving death or bodily injury to any person within 30 days from the date of information to the Claim Tribunal having jurisdiction and also send one copy to the concerned insurer. This sub­section also casts a duty on the owner of the offending vehicle, if a copy of the information is made available to him, to forward the same to the Claims Tribunal and the insurer of the vehicle.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Section 166 - Application for compensation.

The Claims Tribunal is empowered to treat the report of the accident on its receipt as if it is an application made by the claimant for award of the compensation to him under the Act by virtue of Section 166 (4) of the Act and thus has jurisdiction to decide such application on merits in accordance with law.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Sections 158 (6) and 166 (4) 

The object of Section 158(6) read with Section 166(4) of the Act is essentially to reduce the period of pendency of claim case and quicken the process of determination of compensation amount by making it mandatory for registration of motor accident claim within one month from the date of receipt of FIR of the accident without the claimants having to file a claim petition.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Sections 140, 163A and 166 - Liability to pay compensation in certain cases on the principle of no fault - Special provisions as to payment of compensation on structured formula basis - Application for compensation.

There are three Sections, which empower the Claims Tribunal to award compensation to the claimant, viz., Section 140, Section 163­A and Section ­166 of the Act. So far as Section 140 of the Act is concerned, it deals with the cases for award of compensation based on the principle of no fault liability. So far as Section 163A of the Act is concerned, it deals with special provisions as to payment of compensation and is based on structured formula as specified in Second Schedule appended to the Act. While claiming compensation payable under Section 140 and Section 163A of the Act, the claimant is not required to prove any wrongful act, neglect or default of the person concerned against whom the claim is made by virtue of Section 140 (4) and Section 163A ( 2 ) of the Act.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Sections 166, 168 and 169 - Application for compensation - Award of the Claims Tribunal - Procedure and powers of Claims Tribunals.

The claim petition filed under the Act is neither a suit nor an adversarial lis in the traditional sense but it is a proceeding in terms of and regulated by the provisions of Chapter XII of the Act, which is a complete Code in itself.

7 Reasons

The Claims Tribunal and the High Court were justified in dismissing the appellants’ claim petition. In our view, the appellants’ claim petition ought to have been allowed for awarding reasonable compensation to the appellants in accordance with law. This we say for the following reasons. 



First, the appellants had adduced sufficient evidence to prove the accident and the rash and negligent driving of the driver of the offending vehicle, which resulted in death of Rajendra Prasad. 

Second, the appellants filed material documents to prove the factum of the accident and the persons involved therein. 

Third, the documents clearly established the identity of the Truck involved in the accident, the identity of the driver driving the truck, the identity of the owner of the Truck, the name of the insurer of the offending Truck, the period of coverage of insurance of the Truck, the details of the lodging of FIR in the concerned police station in relation to the accident. 

In our view, what more documents could be filed than the documents filed by the appellants to prove the factum of the accident and the persons involved therein. 

Fourth, so far as the driver and owner of the Truck were concerned, both remained ex parte since inception and, therefore, neither contested the appellants’ claim petition nor entered into the witness box to rebut the allegations of the appellants made in the claim petition and the evidence. An adverse inference against both could be drawn. 

Fifth, so far as the Insurance Company is concerned, they also did not examine any witness to rebut the appellants’ evidence. The Insurance Company could have adduced evidence by examining the driver of the offending Truck as their witness but it was not done. 

Sixth, on the other hand, the appellants examined three witnesses and thereby discharged their initial burden to prove the case. 

Seventh, if the Court did not exhibit the documents despite the appellants referring them at the time of recording evidence then in such event, the appellants cannot be denied of their right to claim the compensation on such ground. In our opinion, it was nothing but a procedural lapse, which could not be made basis to reject the claim petition. It was more so when the appellants adduced oral and documentary evidence to prove their case and the respondents did nothing to counter them. 

In the light of the aforementioned seven reasons, we are of the considered opinion that the appellants were able to prove the factum of the accident so also the factum of rash and negligent act of the driver causing the accident. It is also proved that the offending Truck was insured with respondent No. 1 at the time of accident and was owned by respondent No. 3.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - How much compensation the appellants are entitled to claim for the death of their bread earner R. 



It has come in the evidence that the deceased was around 25 years of age and left behind him his wife and two minor children. It has also come in evidence that he was earning around Rs.10,000/­ per month. Having regard to all the facts and circumstances of the case, we consider it proper to take Rs.5000/­ to be his monthly income. Deducting 1/3rd towards personal expenses, we get around Rs.3300/­. The appellants are also entitled to claim loss of future prospect at the rate of 40%, which works out to Rs.1320/­ thus making a total income of Rs.4620/­. Applying the multiplier of 18, we get Rs.4620x12 x18 = Rs.9,97,920/­. To the aforementioned amount, we add and accordingly award Rs.15,000/­ for funeral expenses, Rs.15,000/­ for loss of the estate and Rs.1,00,000/­ for loss of spousal and parental consortium. In this way, the appellants (claimants) are held entitled to claim Rs.11,27,920/­ by way of compensation from the respondents jointly and severally. The amount awarded by this Court shall carry interest at the rate of 6% p.a. from the date of claim petition till realization. In view of the foregoing discussion, the appeal succeeds and is allowed. Impugned order is set aside. The appellants’ claim petition is allowed in part as indicated above against the respondents jointly and severally. Respondent No.1­ Insurance Company is directed to deposit the awarded sum within 3 months with the Claims Tribunal for being paid to the appellants after proper verification.

Petitioner's Advocate : Ansar Ahmad Chaudhary
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indu Malhotra
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre

4. Sumer Singh Jat v. State of Rajasthan

Civil Appeal - The need to remand the case has been occasioned as the Division Bench has not assigned any reason for dismissal of the appeals. In the absence of any discussion on the issues which have arisen in these cases and in the absence of any finding on the submissions urged by the parties, it is not possible to affirm the order. Indeed, none of the submissions urged by the appellants are mentioned much less dealt with either way on the merits of the case. In view of the abovementioned reason, the appeals succeed and are accordingly allowed. The impugned judgments/orders are set aside. The appeals out of which these appeals arise are restored to their respective numbers before the High Court for their fresh disposal on merits in accordance with law.

Case Number : C.A. No. 11047 - 11061 of 2018 16-11-2018
Petitioner's Advocate : Aishwarya Bhati
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indu Malhotra
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre

5. Santosh @ Santhosh Kumar v. State of Kerala

Abkari Act - Section 55 (1) - Insofar as the jail sentence is concerned, it may vary and extend up to 10 years depending upon the facts of each case, but insofar as the fine amount is concerned, the Court has to impose the minimum amount of Rs. one lakh. However, the Court has discretion to impose fine more than Rs. one lakh depending upon the facts of each case.

The incident in question is of the year 2007; Second, the appellant has undergone jail sentence of 1 year 3 months out of three years total period of jail sentence awarded by the High Court; Third, the appellant was never involved in any criminal activity except the case at hand; and the last, out of three accused, one was given the benefit of doubt, we are of the considered opinion that the appellant has made out a case for interference in the quantum of sentence awarded to him by the High Court. In view of the foregoing discussion, the appeal succeeds and is accordingly allowed. The impugned order is modified to the extent that the appellant is now awarded jail sentence of "already undergone". However, so far as the fine amount of Rs. one lakh 7 imposed by the Courts is concerned, it is modified and accordingly enhanced from Rs. one Lakh to Rs. one Lakh Fifty Thousand (Rs.1,50,000/­). In other words, the appellant is now awarded jail sentence of "already undergone" and a fine of Rs.1,50,000/­. Failure to deposit the enhanced fine amount, the appellant will have to undergo one more year of jail sentence.



Petitioner's Advocate : K. Rajeev
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indu Malhotra
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre

6. Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited v. Engineering Workerss Association

Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Section 10 - The need to remand the case has been occasioned on account of one factual error committed by the High Court while dealing with two submission of the appellant (employer) in Para 34 of the impugned order. It is noticed that while dealing with the submissions of the appellant(employer), viz., that the reference made to the Industrial Tribunal is improperly and presumptuously worded and secondly, the Industrial Tribunal travelled beyond the scope of the reference, the High Court instead of quoting the reference, by mistake quoted the operative portion of the award passed by the Industrial Tribunal and treated the operative portion of the award as reference and proceeded to examine the submissions and rejected the same. In our opinion, this being obviously an error apparent on the face of the record of the case and rightly admitted by the learned counsel appearing for the respondents, we have no option but to set aside the impugned order and remand the case to the High Court for deciding the writ petitions afresh on merits.

Petitioner's Advocate : Gopal Singh
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indu Malhotra
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre

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