mere non marking of documents as Exibits is only procedural lapse not fatal = 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. 27. Second, the appellants filed material documents to prove the factum of the accident and the persons involved therein. 28. 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 13 FIR in the concerned police station in relation to the accident. 29. 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. 30. 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. 31. 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 14 examining the driver of the offending Truck as their witness but it was not done. 32. Sixth, on the other hand, the appellants examined three witnesses and thereby discharged their initial burden to prove the case. 33. 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.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 11042 OF 2018
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 17321 of 2016)
Vimla Devi & Ors. ….Appellant(s)
VERSUS
National Insurance Company
Limited & Ors. ….Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal is filed by the claimants against
the final judgment and order dated 23.03.2015
1
passed by the High Court of Judicature for
Rajasthan Bench at Jaipur in SBCMA No. 1739 of
2007 whereby the High Court dismissed the appeal
filed by the claimants and affirmed the award dated
05.12.2005 passed by the MACT Chomu (Jaipur) in
MAC Case No. 48/2005.
3. In order to appreciate the issues arising in the
case, it is necessary to set out the relevant facts
hereinbelow.
4. The appellants are the claimants/plaintiffs
whereas the respondents are the nonapplicants/defendants
in the claim petition out of
which this appeal arises.
5. One Rajendra Prasad aged around 25 years
was travelling in the passenger Bus bearing No.RJ07­P­2151
as its bona fide passenger on 03.06.2003
for going to a place called “Chomu”. When the Bus
reached near Police Station, Chomu, a Truck
2
bearing No. HR­55A­7729, which was going towards
Jaipur from Chomu came on a high speed and
dashed against Bus. The impact of dash against the
Bus was so violent that Rajendra Prasad, who was
sitting inside the Bus, sustained grievous injuries
resulting in his instant death. This led to filing of
the FIR No. 214/2003 in Police Station, Chomu.
6. It is this incident, which gave rise to initiation
of two legal proceedings, namely, criminal and civil.
So far as the criminal proceedings are concerned, a
charge sheet (1/2003) was filed by the State against
the driver of the offending Truck in the Court of
Magistrate under Section 304­A of the Indian Penal
Code, 1860 (in short, “IPC”).
7. So far as the civil proceedings are concerned
with which we are concerned in this appeal were
filed by the appellants herein (claimants), who are
the wife and the two minor children of the
3
deceased, against the Insurance Company
(respondent No. 1), driver (respondent No. 2) and
the owner (respondent No. 3) of the offending Truck
under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act
(hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) before the Motor
Accident Compensation Tribunal, Chomu claiming
therein to award reasonable compensation to them
for the loss sustained on account of untimely death
of Rajendra Prasad­their only bread earner in the
family.
8. The appellants along with their claim petition
filed all those documents, which were filed by the
State in the criminal proceedings against the driver,
such as FIR, charge sheet, site plan, post mortem
report of the deceased, registration of Truck No. HR
­A­7729, insurance coverage, mechanical inspection
report, copy of notice issued to the owner under
Section 133 of the Act etc.
4
9. So far as the driver and owner of the offending
Truck are concerned, since inception both remained
ex parte in the proceedings. So far as the Insurance
Company (insurer) is concerned, they alone entered
appearance and filed the written statement. The
Insurance Company, however, contended inter alia
in their written statement that firstly, the owner of
the Truck did not give any intimation to the
Insurance Company; Secondly, the owner and the
driver of the bus were not impleaded as party in the
proceedings; and Thirdly, the owner of the offending
Truck did not send a copy of the driving license of
the driver to the Insurance Company to enable them
to make an inquiry about its genuineness (see Para
3 of the award).
10. The claimants examined three witnesses in
support of their case. The Insurance Company did
not examine any witness. By award dated
5
05.12.2005, the Tribunal dismissed the appellants’
claim petition. It was held that the claimants failed
to prove the accident including involvement of
offending Truck, which caused death of Rajendra
Prasad. It was held that though the claimants filed
the documents but since those documents were not
exhibited, the Insurance Company could not crossexamine
the claimants’ witnesses on the
documents. In short, the Tribunal held that the
claimants failed to prove the accident for want of
evidence and the one adduced was not exhibited
and hence was of no use. These were basically the
two findings on which the claim petition was
dismissed.
11. The claimants felt aggrieved and filed appeal in
the High Court for Rajasthan Bench at Jaipur. By
impugned order, the High Court dismissed the
appeal, which has given rise to filing of the present
6
appeal by way of special leave by the claimants in
this Court.
12. Heard Mr. Maruf Khan, learned counsel for the
appellants and Ms. Meenakshi Midha, learned
senior counsel for respondent No.1.
13. Having heard the learned counsel for the
parties and on perusal of the record of the case, we
are constrained to allow the appeal and while
setting aside the impugned order allow the claim
petition filed by the appellants (claimants) and
award reasonable compensation to the appellants
as indicated infra.
14. In our considered opinion, the approach,
reasoning and the conclusion of the Tribunal and
the High Court for dismissing the appellants’ claim
petition/appeal was not in accordance with law
inasmuch as both did not deal with any issue
arising in the case. The High Court while dismissing
7
the appeal simply affirmed the award of the
Tribunal without assigning any reason.
15. Before we examine the factual matrix of the
case at hand, it is apposite to take note of the
provisions of the Act, which have relevance while
deciding the claim petition.
16. At the outset, we may reiterate as has been
consistently said by this Court in a series of cases
that 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.
8
17. 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.
9
18. 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.
19. 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. (See Jai Prakash vs.
National Insurance Co. Ltd., 2010 (2) SCC 607).
10
20. There are three Sections, which empower the
Claims Tribunal to award compensation to the
claimant, viz., Section 140, Section 163­A and
Section­166 of the Act.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
11
24. So far as Section 166 of the Act is concerned,
it also deals with payment of compensation. Section
168 of the Act deals with award of the Claims
Tribunal whereas Section 169 of the Act provides
procedure and powers of the Claims Tribunal. As
has been held by this Court (Three Judge Bench),
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. (See United India
Insurance Company Ltd. vs Shila Datta & Ors.,
2011 (10) SCC 509).
25. Keeping in view the aforementioned principle
of law when we examine the facts of the case at
hand, we are of the considered opinion that the
Claims Tribunal and the High Court were not
12
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.
26. 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.
27. Second, the appellants filed material
documents to prove the factum of the accident and
the persons involved therein.
28. 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
13
FIR in the concerned police station in relation to the
accident.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. 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
14
examining the driver of the offending Truck as their
witness but it was not done.
32. Sixth, on the other hand, the appellants
examined three witnesses and thereby discharged
their initial burden to prove the case.
33. 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.
34. In the light of the aforementioned seven
reasons, we are of the considered opinion that the
15
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.
35. This takes us to consider the next question as
to how much compensation the appellants are
entitled to claim for the death of their bread earnerRajendra
Prasad.
36. 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.
37. Having regard to all the facts and
circumstances of the case, we consider it proper to
take Rs.5000/­ to be his monthly income.
16
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.4620×12 x18 = Rs.9,97,920/­. .
38. 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.
39. In view of the foregoing discussion, the appeal
succeeds and is allowed. Impugned order is set
17
aside. The appellants’ claim petition is allowed in
part as indicated above against the respondents
jointly and severally.
40. Respondent No.1­Insurance Company is
directed to deposit the awarded sum within 3
months with the Claims Tribunal for being paid to
the appellants after proper verification.
……………………………………..J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
……………………………………….J.
[INDU MALHOTRA]
New Delhi;
November 16, 2018
18