(2018)1 SCeJ 877

 

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 

27 April, 2018

 

 

Motor Vehicles Act , 1988 - Evidence  - Preponderance of probabilities  - The view so taken by the Tribunal, it appears to us, was not only a possible view but also in conformity with the scale to be applied for appreciation of evidence in motor accident cases namely preponderance of probabilities -  Nevertheless, the High Court reversed this well considered finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal  - The entirety of evidence has not been analysed by the High Court - Besides the oral evidence adduced by the claimants, the Tribunal also took note of the police papers in respect of the Criminal Complaint filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, for offence punishable under Sections 279 and 304A of the Indian Penal Code and the statement of the witnesses referred to therein - The High Court, however, selectively relied on the statements of interested witnesses examined on behalf of the appellants - High Court committed manifest error in reversing the finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal by solely relying on the version of interested witnesses examined by the appellants in defence -  On the other hand, the analysis of the totality of evidence by the Tribunal is consistent with the principle of preponderance of probabilities – Order of Tribunal upheld.

                                                                         

 

 

                                                             Motor Vehicles Act , 1988 – Courts role of parens patriae  - Order of High court ( reversing order of MACT) set aside though there was no appeal or cross objections by the respondents - In motor accident claim cases, the Court cannot adopt a hyper­technical approach but has to discharge the role of parens patriae (Latin term meaning ‘parent of his or her country’) - This appeal being continuation of the claim petition albeit at the instance of the owner (appellant No.1) /alleged driver of the vehicle (appellant No.2), we consider it appropriate to examine the approach of the High Court in reversing the finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal on the factum of motorcycle being driven by appellant No.2, at the relevant time and also that he had caused the accident due to rash and negligent driving -  High Court overturned finding recorded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal,  that the motorcycle was driven by appellant No.2 at the relevant time when the accident occurred and, instead, concluded that the motorcycle was, in fact, driven by deceased  – On a deeper scrutiny of the materials on record, we are of the opinion that the High Court committed manifest error, an error apparent on the face of the record, in reversing the finding recorded by the Tribunal that the motorcycle was being driven by appellant No.2 and had caused accident due to rash and negligent driving -  Respondents (claimants) have neither come up in cross appeal against the reduction of the compensation amount on the finding of contributory negligence nor have they filed any cross objection regarding reversing of the crucial finding of fact by the High Court – We are inclined to do so as it is open to the respondents to support the decree whilst urging that the finding against them recorded by the High Court on the matter in issue ought to have been in their favour as has been held by the Tribunal.      

 


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