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Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation v/s Alexis Sonier and Others.

    S.B. Civil Misc. Appeal Nos. 2629 of 2003 and 133 of 2004

    Decided On, 23 April 2010

    At, High Court of Rajasthan Jaipur Bench

    By, THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: DALIP SINGH
    By, J.

   



Judgment Text

1. I.S.B. Civil Misc. Appeal No. 2629/2003

This misc. appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has been filed against the award passed by the learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jaipur District, Jaipur dated 29.09.2003 in Motor Accident Claim Case No. 96/1991 (511/1988) whereby the learned Tribunal has allowed the claim application and has passed an award of Rs. 1,25,15,002/- (Rs.One Crore Twenty Five Lakhs Fifteen Thousand and Two only) in favour of the claimant-respondent after converting the amount from U.S.Dollars to Indian Rupee for some of the heads under which compensation has been awarded in U.S.Dollars.

2. Being aggrieved by the award, the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as "the appellant Corporation") has preferred this appeal.

3. The brief facts which give rise to this appeal are that on 08.01.1988 the claimant-respondent Alexis Sonier was participating in a march for peace along with citizens from various other countries on foot from Ahmedabad in the State of Gujarat to Rajghat in New Delhi. The claimant-respondent is an American citizen from the United States of America. While participating in the aforesaid peace march along with group of other persons, between Jaipur and Delhi near Chandwaji, it was alleged, that a bus of the appellant Corporation bearing registration No. RNP-897 which was being driven the by the respondent No. 2 rashly and negligently at a very high speed came and struck the claimant-respondent from behind. As a result of which, he fell down on the road and became unconscious as a result of the injuries he sustained in the said accident. He was taken to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital, Jaipur where it was found that among other injuries he had received a head injury. During the course of treatment three surgical operations were performed on the claimant-respondent, however, the claimant-respondent did not regain consciousness. On medical advice, he was shifted to Vadilal Sarabhai Hospital, Ahmedabad in the State of Gujarat and despite all possible efforts, the condition of the claimant-respondent did not improve. The claimant-appellant was then discharged from the Hospital at Ahmedabad on 22.04.1988 and shifted by air under medical supervision of the Doctors to United States.

4. The claim petition was filed before the learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jaipur District, Jaipur on 07.07.1988. It was stated in the claim petition that age of the claimant-appellant was 22 years at the time of accident and that he was a resident of California in United States. It was further stated that the claimant-appellant was working as a Carpenter and was earning about 2000 USD per month equivalent to Rs. 28,000/-, as per rate prevailing at the time of filing of the claim petition. In the claim petition, it was stated in para 10 that as a result of the injuries the claimant-appellant had not regained consciousness and was continuously undergoing treatment in United States. In the claim petition, the claimant -appellant made a claim for damages both special and general under the head of expenses incurred for treatment in India, expenses for transfer by air, medical expenses for treatment in United States both under Medical Scheme and expenses borne by parents of claimant-appellant. Damages were also claimed for future medical expenses, loss of income, loss of income for the attending mother, expenses for engaging attendant as well as expenses for sending of commissions for recording evidence to the United State of America. Under the head of General Damages, compensation was claimed for pain and suffering and mental agony as well as loss of amenities and enjoyment of life and future income.

5. The appellant-Corporation filed their reply to the claim petition. Though the Driver of bus in question did not file any reply to the claim petition despite service and proceedings were taken ex-parte against him vide order dated 04.11.1988 passed by the learned Tribunal. The appellant Corporation raised certain preliminary objections regarding maintainability of the claim petition on account of it not having been filed by the claimant-appellant himself but by Mr. Surendra Nath Singh Javeria and his locus standi to file the same was challenged. The appellant-Corporation also denied the manner in which the accident occurred, as stated in the claim application and alleged that the accident occurred on account of the negligence of the claimant himself. It was alleged that it was a case of contributory negligence on the part of the claimant who was trying to cross the road but midway he back tracked and met with the accident. The appellant Corporation also stated that the best medical facilities were available at Jaipur and there was no need to shift the claimant from Jaipur to Ahmedabad and without having taken the full treatment at Jaipur itself, the claimant had proceeded to Ahmedabad and thereafter to the United States without proper treatment. Under these circumstances, the Corporation cannot be held liable for the condition of the claimant respondent No. 1. It was also stated that the expenses as shown in the claim application were high and exaggerated so also the amount of compensation claimed.

6. On the pleadings of the parties, the following issues were framed by the learned Tribunal:

1. Whether on 08/01/1988 non-petr. No. 2 drove the Bus RNP 897 rashly or negligently at the Jaipur-Delhi Road near village Lakher and hit Alexis, as a result of which Alexis got injured and his mother had to face many difficulties in transportation etc.

2. Whether non petitioner No. 2, was driver of the above vehicle and was in the employment of non-petitioner No. 1 and was driving for the benefit of the same at the time of accident.

3. Whether the petitioners are entitled to get the amount claimed, if yes then, how much amount and from whom

4. Whether the petitions have not been presented according to law, and so, are not maintainable.

5. Relief.

7. The learned Tribunal decided issue No. 4 first and held that in the facts and circumstances which have come on record the presentation of claim application was in accordance with law and the same cannot be rejected for want of proper presentation.

8. While deciding the issue No. 1, the learned Tribunal after going through the evidence of the eye witnesses who were present along with the claimant in the march for peace. The claimant also filed documentary evidence in the form of the site plan, prepared during the investigation by the Police along with challan papers including Exhibit-52, the site plan. While discussing the evidence of the eye witnesses and the documentary evidence, the learned Tribunal came to the conclusion that it was amply proved on the basis of the evidence that the accident occurred on account of negligence on the part of the driver of the appellant-Corporation and decided the issue No. 1 in favour of respondent No. 1 -claimant.

9. So far as the issue No. 2 is concerned, the same was decided in favour of the claimant and against the appellant Corporation as the ownership of the Bus and the fact that the same was driven by the driver of the appellant Corporation has not been contested. So far as issue - No. 3 is concerned, which relates to the award of damages, the learned Tribunal bifurcated the evidence in two parts. In the first part, were the witnesses who deposed with regard to the condition of the claimant, treatment provided to the claimant and the expenses incurred for the treatment in India and in the other part with regard to the evidence recorded on commission in the United States with regard to the expenses incurred in the treatment and treatment given to the claimant in the United States. On the basis of the evidence on record, the learned Tribunal came to the following findings, as regards the damages both special and general to be awarded to the claimant:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a) Special Damages Dollars Rs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- i. Expenses incurred on treatment in 50,000/- India. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ii. Air Fare for Jaipur to Ahmedabad 4,000/- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- iii. Air Far for Ahmedabad to USA 1,00,000/- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- iv. Medical expenses in USA borne by 125,348.01 Medical -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- v. Medical expenses in USA borne by 25,000.00 parents -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- vi. Future expenses on Medical 4,00,000/- Treatment -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- vii. Loss of income by the claimant 408,000.00 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- viii. Loss of income of attending mother 81,584.00 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ix. Future expenses for management 60,000.00 of attendant -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x. Expenses on Two Commissions 1,61,954/- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (b) General Damages -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- i. For pain, sufferance and mental 10,00,000/- agony -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ii. For loss of amenities and 10,00,000/- enjoyment of life -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total $699932.01 Rs. 27,15,954/- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, total damages in Rupees : (699932.01 X 14) + 2715954 =Rs. 12515002.14/-In round figure it is Rs. 1,25,15,002/-

10. Based upon the above, the learned Tribunal awarded an amount of Rs. 1,25,15,002/- with interest at the rate of 6% per annum w.e.f. the date of presentation of the claim application i.e. 07/07/1998 to the claimant out of which an amount of Rs. 25,000/- was ordered to be paid to the two Commissioners who were appointed for recording the evidence and an amount of Rs. 1,16,411.69p was to be given credit towards expenses incurred and amount paid by way of palliative grounds by the appellant Corporation for the treatment, etc. given in India to the claimant.

11. Being aggrieved by the aforesaid award dated 29.09.2003, the appellant Corporation has come up in appeal before this Court.

12. Before concluding the arguments on 30.03.2010 an opportunity was given to the parties to arrive at a mutual settlement regarding the claim. However, today it was submitted by the learned Counsel for the appellant on instructions from the appellant Corporation that the Corporation is in no position to negotiate the matter.

13. I have heard learned Counsel for the parties and perused the record. Learned Counsel for the appellant made the following submissions in support of the appeal:

14. It was contended that the evidence in the present case was recorded under the orders of the learned Tribunal on commission after the claimant moved an application before the learned Tribunal which was allowed vide order dated 11.07.1990 and according to which the learned Tribunal had only permitted the commissioner appointed for the purpose to go to the United States and record the statement of 11 persons, as mentioned in the said order.

15. Learned Counsel for the appellant contended that the Commission exceeded his authority delegated to him by the Court by recording the statements of AW-10A to AW-19, all of whom except AW-18 were persons not named in the order dated 11.07.1990 and accordingly, the evidence of all these witnesses except AW-19 deserves to be excluded from the consideration.

16. The second submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant Corporation is that the learned Tribunal erred in awarding damages under the head of "Special Damages" in (iv) Medical expenses in USA borne by "Medical" amounting to compensation of 125,348.01 USD. The submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant is that so far as the aforesaid expenses are concerned, it has been admitted by the witness AW-18 that in the State of California in the United States of America there is in enforce a "Medical Program" and under Section 14124.70 in the case of persons who are not covered under any insurance scheme and are unable to pay their own medical expenses all the medical expenses are borne by the State. It was thus, contended that since the aforesaid amount which has been awarded under the head of Medical Expenses borne by the Medical, the claimant cannot be held entitled to receive the aforesaid amount and, therefore, out of the total compensation amount of 125,348.01 USD awarded towards medical expenses incurred under the Medical Scheme deserves to be reduced.

17. The next submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant is that the claimant has failed to prove the negligence on the part of the driver of the bus of the appellant-Corporation and that the learned Tribunal has erred in applying the principle of res ipsa loquitur in the facts and circumstances of the present case, At the same time, it was also contended that it was a case of contributory negligence on the part of the claimant as mentioned in the reply to the claim petition in para No. 6 and, therefore, the learned Tribunal has erred in holding the appellant liable and awarding the entire damages against the appellant-Corporation whereas the same ought to have been reduced on account of the contributory negligence of the claimant himself.

18. Learned Counsel for the appellant also contended and raised submissions in respect of the preliminary objection submitted before the learned Tribunal regarding the maintainability of the claim and the same not having been filed in accordance with the provisions contained under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

19. Learned Counsel for the respondent-claimant on the other hand submitted that so far as the submissions of the appellant regarding exclusion of the evidence recorded by the Commissioner of the witnesses AW-10A to AW-19 except AW-18 is concerned, the Commissioner recorded the evidence of the witnesses who were produced by the claimant and the counsel for the Corporation who was present did not at that time raised any objections to the production of the said witness before him by the claimant. It was further submitted that after the return of commission, the commissioner gave his report before the learned Tribunal along with the recorded evidence and the appellant-Corporation or the counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant-Corporation did not raise any objection before the learned Tribunal to the aforesaid set of evidence being taken on record, as would be evident from the ordersheets of the proceedings of the learned Tribunal dated 24.06.1991. The learned Counsel for the respondent-claimant, therefore, submitted that the objection, if any, to the evidence recorded by the commissioner and irregularity if at all in that behalf had been waived by the appellant-Corporation consciously and, therefore, it was not open for the Corporation to raise the aforesaid objections.

20. So far as the question of award of compensation for the Medical amount is concerned, learned Counsel for the claimant-respondent drew the attention of the court to the statements of AW-18 who clearly stated that in the event of the Injured-Claimant receiving any compensation, the Medical department of State would have a lien on the aforesaid amount of compensation awarded to the Injured for actual expenses incurred by the State under the said Scheme and, therefore, the amount which has been awarded would be liable to be paid to the Medical department of the State of California.

21. On the question of negligence, learned Counsel for the appellant pointed out after going through the evidence that from the side of the claimant there was unimpeachable evidence of the eye witnesses who had clearly deposed regarding the manner in which the accident was caused which clearly establishes that the accident in which the claimant received injuries was solely on account of rash and negligent driving of the Driver of the vehicle of the appellant-Corporation. At the same time, learned Counsel for the respondent-Claimant stated that while the claimant has discharged his burden by proving the fact of accident by producing the eye witnesses, the appellant-Corporation had failed to lead any evidence regarding the manner in which the accident occurred. On the contrary, the only evidence which was produced by the appellant-Corporation was in the form of NAW-1 Banwari Lal, the Driver of the bus of the Corporation as well as the Conductor of the said bus NAW-2 Dinesh and both these witnesses had only denied that any accident in fact had took place with their bus. These two witnesses have not deposed anything about the alleged contributory negligence of the claimant. Learned Counsel for the respondent-Claimant, therefore, contended that while there is ample proof regarding the fact of the accident of the claimant with the bus in question, the only evidence which was led by the appellants was denying the fact of accident with bus at all and no evidence has been led with regard to the contributory negligence, as alleged by the appellant-Corporation in their reply. Learned Counsel for the respondent, therefore, contended that there was no force in the submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant on this issue.

22. So far as the presentation of claim application is concerned, learned Counsel for the appellant-Corporation contended that presentation had been made by the authorized representative and which was on the basis of vakalatnama, the authority given by the mother of the claimant Mrs. Dominique Sonier as the next friend of the claimant who was in no position to file the claim himself on account of his physical condition. This has been reiterated by the witness of the claimant and not disputed by the parents who are looking after the claimant as his parents and next friends.

23. On the basis of the above, learned Counsel for the respondent-Claimant contended that appeal is totally without merits and the same deserves to be dismissed.

24. I have given my thoughtful consideration to the rival submissions and perused the record.

25. So far as the question with regard to the commission having exceeded its authority in recording the statements of the witnesses other than those mentioned in the order of the learned Tribunal dated 11.7.1990 is concerned, I am of the view that the appellant-Corporation could have objected to the same in the very first place by filing objections before the learned commissioner himself when the witnesses were produced before the Commission in the United States. The witnesses who were produced were also cross examined by the counsel for the appellant-Corporation and no objection in this behalf was raised with regard to any of the witnesses from AW-10A to AW-19 by the learned Counsel for the appellant-Corporation. At the same time, after the commission returned after recording the evidence and the commissioner submitted his report before the learned Tribunal, the order-sheet of the proceedings on 24.6.1991 shows that commissioner Shri Bhag Chand Jain, Advocate produced the record before the learned Tribunal along with the statements of ten witnesses whose statements have been recorded by him. The learned Tribunal has then proceeded to record in its ordersheet dated 24.6.1991 that it inquired from the counsel for the appellant-Corporation whether he had any objection in taking on record the statements of witnesses viz., Dr. E. Scott Conner, Dr. Thomas Z. Weber, Mr. Courtney Billups, Mr. Kent Furguson, Mr. Walter Joseph Babine, Mr. Jan Robert, Mrs. Nancy Brooks, Miss Maureen McKenzie, Mrs. Carole Kellogg and Mr. Ivan Sonier. The counsel for the appellant-Corporation on being asked specifically with reference to the above named witnesses stated before the Tribunal that he has no objection to the statements of these witnesses being taken on record. Hence, the learned Tribunal ordered for the aforesaid evidence of AW-10A to AW-19 being taken on record. For ready reference, the order-sheet of the learned Tribunal dated 24.6.1991 is reproduced hereunder:



26. In the facts and circumstances, therefore, I am of the view that the appellant-Corporation had two opportunities to raise objections with regard to recording of the evidence by the Commission of witnesses other than those named. The first opportunity, as has been stated above, arose when the witnesses were produced before the Commissioner for recording their statements in U.S.A. and no objection to that effect was raised by the counsel for the appellant-Corporation. The second opportunity arose when the Commission returned and the report was submitted by the Commission before the learned Tribunal on 24.06.1991 and consciously the counsel for the appellant-Corporation stated that he had no objection to the statement of the witnesses named above and recorded in the ordersheet being taken on record. In that view of the matter, I find no force in the submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant-Corporation so as to warrant interference in appeal on the aforesaid ground for setting aside the award passed by the learned Tribunal. It may also be added that in this case the accident took place 22 years ago on 08.01.1988 and despite the award having been passed in the year 2003, the claimant has not received any amount apart from Rs. 1,16,411.69p and the compensation awarded has only remained illusory. If the submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant was to be accepted, it would certainly result in re-trial and again requiring fresh set of evidence to be recorded. If the appellant-Corporation had any objection they could have stated so before the learned Tribunal in the year 1991 itself and remedial measures could have been taken then and there.

27. Having taken note of the facts mentioned above, I am of the view that in the facts and circumstances of this case the award passed by the learned Tribunal does not call for any interference on the aforesaid count.

28. So far as the next submission with regard to their being no negligence on the part of the Driver of the appellant-Corporation or that the Insured-Claimant himself contributed to the accident is concerned, I have perused the evidence on record. On the part of the claimant in the claim petition, in the description of the accident as given in paragraph No. 10 of the claim petition, it was stated that the claimant was participating in a march for peace which started from Ahmedabad on 04.12.1987 and on 08.01.1988 when the said march for peace reached near about Chandwaji (in the District Jaipur in Rajasthan) at about 1:30 PM a bus of the appellant-Corporation being driven by the Driver-respondent No. 2 at very fast speed, rashly and negligently without caring for the driving regulations came from the side of Jaipur and struck the claimant from behind. As a result of the aforesaid act, the claimant received injuries on account of which the claimant is even today in an unconscious state and undergoing treatment.

29. To the aforesaid averments made in para 10 of the claim petition, the respondent-Claimant in para 6 of their reply denied the averments made in para 10 of the claim petition. It was stated in reply as follows:



30. A perusal of the above reply goes to show that so far as the appellant-Corporation is concerned, the fact of accident is not denied. All that has been stated is that the driver of the vehicle saw a group of 20-25 persons going on the road and crossing it from left to right. On seeing them crossing the road, the driver of the bus reduced the speed. While most of these persons had crossed the road, one person who was left behind and had crossed nearly half the road saw a vehicle approaching from opposite side i.e. from the side of New Delhi and immediately turned back to go towards the left of the road. Realizing that the bus was approaching from the side of Jaipur, it was stated that as a result of his own action, this person who back tracked came into contact with the rear portion of the bus and fell on the road. It was, therefore, stated that the Injured has himself contributed to the accident and the corporation is not liable as in case he had not back tracked while crossing the highway there would have been no accident with the bus of the appellant-Corporation.

31. Despite the aforesaid pleadings in which the fact of accident has been admitted and an effort was made to by the appellant-Corporation to show that the accident occurred as a result of the act of the claimant himself who contributed towards the accident, the only evidence which the appellant-Corporation led was in the form of NAW-1- the Driver of the bus and NAW-2 -the Conductor of the bus and both these witnesses flatly denied that any accident took place with the bus No. RNP-897.1 am, therefore, of the view that having admitted the fact of accident in the pleadings in reply to para No. 10, the evidence of NAW-1 and NAW-2, the only witnesses produced by the appellant-Corporation, cannot be relied upon to show that no accident occurred as a result of the driving of the bus of the appellant-Corporation. It was for the appellant-Corporation to have led evidence in support of their plea to show that there was contributory negligence on the part of the claimant. As has been stated above, the only evidence produced is in the form of NAW-1 and NAW-2 who have denied the fact of accident in its entirety before the learned Tribunal and there being no evidence produced by the appellant-Corporation on their plea of contributory negligence, I find that the learned Tribunal has not committed any error in deciding the aforesaid issue. Moreover, the evidence led by the claimant remained unrebutted in the present case. The burden to prove the plea of contributory negligence lies upon the party which raises the aforesaid plea and the appellant having raised the aforesaid plea in their reply failed to lead any evidence in support of the said plea. Apart from the above, a look at the site plan (Exhibit-52) on which the learned Counsel for the appellant-Corporation sought to rely upon also shows that the bus was driven at a sufficiently high speed. In the memo of appeal, the contents of the site plan have been reproduced at page Nos. 14 and 15. On the left side of the road, the place where the accident took place and where there are blood stains has been shown as point 'A' and the point 'A' is between the points 'B' and 'C which shows the skid marks of the tyres of the bus which are about 32 feet in length which go to show that the speed of the bus at the relevant time was quite fast and it could not stop immediately. The site plan (Exhibit-52) shows that for 20 feet before the impact at point 'A' there are skid marks of the tyre and the continue for another 12 feet beyond the impact point upto point 'C. Thus, the averments made in the claim petition that the bus was being driven rashly and negligently and at a fast speed stand corroborated from the aforesaid piece of evidence as well as the oral evidence and I find no reason to interfere with the findings arrived at by the learned Tribunal in this behalf. There is no force in the submission of the appellant on the plea of contributory negligence inasmuch as the Corporation failed to discharge the burden on the plea raised by it.

32. So far as the objection with regard to the presentation of the claim petition, as raised by the counsel for the appellant-Corporation is concerned, it is amply proved on record that the condition of the claimant is not such that the claimant is fully conscious or he can even understand or file any claim petition himself. The claimant was at the time of filing of claim petition undergoing treatment in United States of America of which country the claimant is a citizen. The claim petition, in the circumstances be filed on his behalf by a next friend. In the present case, the mother of the claimant has filed the claim petition giving authority to the counsel in India to file the claim on behalf of the claimant. The objection is that the claim petition is not signed and nor it is verified even by the mother of the claimant and the same has been signed by the counsel who has filed the claim petition before the learned Tribunal. The provisions of Motor Vehicles Act in this behalf regarding filing of claim petitions are no doubt contained in Section 166. Sub-section (2) of Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act reads as follows:

(2) Every application under Sub-section (1) shall be made, at the option of the claimant, either to the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred or to the Claims Tribunal within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the claimant resides or carries on business or within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant resides, and shall be in such form and contain such particulars as may be prescribed:

Provided that where no claim for compensation under Section 140 is made in such application, the application shall contain a separate statement to that effect immediately before the signature of the applicant.
33. However, apart from the aforesaid provision, the Act also contains provisions under Sub-section (6) of Section 158 and Sub-section (4) of Section 166 which may also be taken note of Sub-section (6) of Section 158 of the Act reads as follows:

(6) As soon as any information regarding any accident involving death or bodily injury to any person is recorded or report under this section is completed by a police officer, the officer incharge of the police station shall forward a copy of the same within thirty days from the date of recording of information or, as the case may be, on completion of such report to the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction and a copy thereof to the concerned insurer, and where a copy is made available to the owner, he shall also within thirty days of receipt of such report, forward the same to such Claims Tribunal and Insurer.
34. Sub-section (4) of Section 166 of the Act which has been introduced vide amending Act No. 54 of 1994 reads as follows:

(4) The Claims Tribunal shall treat any report of accidents forwarded to it under Sub-section (6) of Section 158 as an application for compensation under this Act.
35. Reading Sub-section (6) of Section 158 along with Sub-section (4) of Section 166 goes to show that even the report with regard to the accident made to the police and which is required to be sent by the concerned police officer to the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction shall be treated as an application for compensation under this Act. If Sub-section (2) of Section 166 and Sub-section (4) of Section 166 along with Sub-section (6) of Section 158 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 are to be read together, it would seen that by the Amending Act of 54 of 1994, the strict provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 166 have been considerably watered-down and a mere report of the accident forwarded to the Claims Tribunal can be treated as an application for compensation under the Act. In that view of the matter, the presentation of a claim petition by the counsel and petition having been signed only by the counsel and not by the next friend of the claimant who resides in the United State of America and in no state to travel or even fully understand the implications or narrate the events, it could not be stated in the facts and circumstances of the present case which have come on record hereinabove that the present claim petition for compensation was not duly presented or that the learned Tribunal could not have registered the same and decide the same in favour of the claimant and allow the same. Apart from the above, the father of the claimant has also deposed as AW-19 and has supported the claim petition. He was examined in the United States of America. He was cross-examined by the counsel for the appellant-Corporation. No suggestion was made to the father of the claimant-Injured that he or his wife, the mother of the claimant, did not authorize the filing of claim petition for compensation on behalf of appellant-Claimant. In case, there was any doubt in the minds of the appellants that the claimant-respondent or his parents had not authorized the filing of this claim, question could have been asked in this regard in cross examination. Even as per the form appended to the Rajasthan Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Rules, the claim application can be signed by the claimant or his authorized agent. In this case the claim petition has been signed by the Advocate in which favour the power of attorney was given by the next friend (mother of the claimant).

36. Strict Rules of pleadings which apply to suits and their verification under the Code of Civil Procedure and their presentation are not required to be applied in claims before the learned Tribunal and the present one is such a case which can safely be considered to be an exception so as to bend the Rules of procedure if required to enable the claimant to seek justice. In the facts and circumstances, I find no infirmity in the judgment of the learned Tribunal and the aforesaid sub-mission of the learned Counsel for the appellant-Corporation is rejected.

37. The last submission which was made was with regard to the amount of damages awarded in respect of Medical, expenses to be reimbursed under the said Scheme. A perusal of the award passed by the learned Tribunal goes to show from para 56 onwards that the learned Tribunal has dealt with the aforesaid question. So far as the scheme of Medical is concerned, the claimant's witness AW-18 Mrs. Carole Kellogg has stated that she works in the State of California in the Medical Recovery Program as a Collection Representative. She has further stated that the aforesaid program has been constituted under the Laws of California State and Federal Laws of United States of America. As per the aforesaid Scheme, those persons who are not covered under any Insurance Scheme such as the claimant, they are provided this Medical facility. It was stated by the witness that a person whom the aforesaid facility is extended if he does not receive any compensation in that event the Medical department would not be entitled to recover any amount from such person but where the compensation is awarded, the Medical department would have a lien over the said amount awarded to the injured person. From the evidence on record it is no doubt established that an amount of 125,348.01 USD was spent by the department towards the treatment of the claimant as is evident from the findings given by the learned Tribunal in para 62 of the impugned judgment based upon the evidence produced before the learned Tribunal. However, so far as the right of the claimant to receive the aforesaid amount which has been awarded by the learned Tribunal is concerned, the same appears to be doubtful. Assuming that the claimant is entitled to the aforesaid amount, there is no manner for the courts in India to verify the fact as to whether or not the aforesaid amount has been paid to the concerned Medical department by the claimant. Merely because the counsel for the claimant has produced a letter sent by the representative of the Medical Program along with the statement of payments that would not entitle the claimant to receive the aforesaid amount from the appellant-Corporation and the courts in India would not be in a position to verify the aforesaid fact. Apart from the above, no statutory enactment of any such Scheme was produced before the court in evidence of existence of such a Scheme for this Court to take cognizance of. A perusal of the cl

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aim petition also goes to show that for the amount spent by the Medical Program and for reimbursing the aforesaid amount to the said department there is no specific averment in the claim petition. In the absence of the same, it would be difficult for this Court to speculate and award compensation for expenses which have in fact not being incurred by the claimant towards his treatment but admittedly having been provided by the State under the Medical Program. 38. Learned Counsel for the respondent-Claimant produced before the court a printed booklet titled as "Medical Guide", However, it does not contain any mention as to under what authority and of the Government of which Country the same has been published. Section 84 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 reads as follows: 84. Presumption as to collections of laws and reports of decisions.-The Court shall presume the genuineness of every book purporting to be printed or published under the authority of the Government of any country, and to contain any of the laws of that country, and of every book purporting to contain reports of decisions of the Courts of such country. 39. In the instant case, the aforesaid Medical guide said to contain the provisions of Medical Program in the State of California in U.S.A. does not disclose the authority under which and of which Govt. of the Country the same has been published. In that view of the matter, it would be difficult for this Court to rely upon the aforesaid Medical Program Guide, alleged to contain the Rules relating to the medical program of the State of California in the United States of America. The judgment of the learned Tribunal to this effect awarding an amount of 1,25,348.01 USD under the head of special damages under para (iv) in the facts and circumstances, cannot be awarded to the claimant. There is also no claim made for this amount in the claim petition. Also there is no method to verify whether after receipt of this amount it has been reimbursed by the claimant to the State of California Medical Department. It would be thus hazardous for this Court to allow the said amount as compensation to the respondent-claimant. 40. So far as the other amount awarded to the claimant are concerned, learned Counsel for the appellant has not raised any specific or serious objection in respect of the quantum of compensation for the aforesaid amount and the same are maintained. 41. In the result, while maintaining the findings in respect of the issues and award of claim to the claimant-respondent, this appeal is partly allowed and only for the amount of 1,25,348.01 USD under the category "Special damages" in para (iv) which is disallowed for the reasons stated above. The remaining part of the award is maintained i.e. the claimant Alexis Sonier shall be entitled to compensation of Rs. 27,15,954/- plus 5,74,584 USD only. 42. In the facts and circumstances, there shall be no order as to costs. 2. S.B. Civil Misc. Appeal No. 133/2004 43. This appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has been filed by the claimant-injured for enhancement of the amount awarded by the learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jaipur District, Jaipur. 44. As has been discussed above, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, the learned Tribunal has awarded compensation which cannot be said to be inadequate. The basic principle for the award of compensation being awarded of just compensation under the provisions of Motor Vehicles Acts, it cannot be said that the present award calls for any interference. Moreover, as has been discussed hereinabove, this Court has found that the claimant is not entitled for special damages to the amount of 125,348.01 USD on account of Medical expenses incurred in USA and borne by Medical Department for the treatment of the claimant. 45. Consequently, I do not find any merit in this appeal and the same is accordingly dismissed. 46. In the facts and circumstances, there shall be no order as to costs.
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