Mangaluru: I was working as Sub-Inspector of Police, at Mangalore in 1992. On 22.09.1992 I was coming on my Police Motor Cycle bearing No.CNG 97, on the National Highway near Karnad Junction, one Truck bearing Registration No. MYG 6735 came from the opposite direction driving in a rash and negligent manner (Drunken Driver) in a hurry to overtake another vehicle came to his extreme side of the road and hit my Motor Cycle and caused damage to myself, pillion rider and to the Motor Cycle. He stopped his Lorry for a while and one passenger by name Gopinath Kotian on the Lorry also got down and came to the accident spot immediately.
The driver of the Lorry who was drunk seen the spot at a distance and found the label on Motor Cycle as POLICE and ran away from the spot. Complaint has been lodged in the Police Station and a case is registered in Mulki P.S. Cr.No.131/1992 U/s 279, 337 IPC, 134(a),(b) of IMV Act. The Police were able to trace the vehicle in Surathkal based on the information given by the Lorry passenger and the driver was charge sheeted for the offense he committed. Unfortunately the Lorry had no valid Insurance and hence the liability will be on the Owner of the Lorry.
When the case came for trial, the lorry owner made the eye witness Gopinath Kotian hostile by paying money and ultimately the driver was acquitted of the charges due to lack of substantial evidence after a full pledged trial. Simultaneously in 1993 I had filed my claim case in the Motor Vehicle Tribunal Court and the Pillion rider also filed his claim petition in MVC No.208/1993 and MVC No.209/1993 respectively for the expenses spent on Hospital and leave salary during the treatment. After analysing the whole case the MVC Tribunal passed a judgement on 30.01.2002 in favour of the Claimant Harischandra Hejmady (Myself) and Kiranchandra Shetty( the pillion rider) to pay a compensation of Rs.1,11,000/- and Rs.44,500/- to the Pillion rider respectively with applicable interest @ 9% per annum.
Aggrieved by this decision, Lorry owner had approached the High Court of Karnataka on the contention that his lorry never involved in the accident and the Police have implanted his Vehicle to this accident etc., etc., In the meanwhile, myself and the pillion rider also filed an appeal to the High Court contending that the compensation granted to us is much lesser and filed to give more compensation. The High Court of Karnataka taken all the 3 cases in MFA No.5648/2002 in the Division Bench consisting of Justice K Shreedhar Rao and Justice S.N. Sathyanarayana and passed its judgement quashing the Order of the MVC Court judgement of Mangalore instructed the MVC Tribunal to refund the money to the Lorry owner. The whole contention of the Division bench was “The lorry in question might have been implanted for the purpose of seeking compensation etc., “ and also dismissed the petitions of Claimants on 06.02.2009.
Then the claimants (me and pillion rider) had no other options except to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and accordingly myself and the pillion rider filed an appeal petition before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Civil Appeal No.10741/2010 and No.10744 which had been admitted by the Supreme Court in 2010. Later it has been converted as Special Leave Petition and the case was listed in the year 2015. Since it was a Motor Vehicle Accident case, Supreme Court Legal Services committee served a notice to me and to the pillion rider stating that the case is taken up at National Lok Adalat on 9th May 2015 and we have to consent to the National Lok Adalat.
Accordingly we had instructed our Advocate in Delhi to proceed further as per the instructions and our consent to settle amicably the matter. Neither the Lorry owner nor his representative appeared before the National Lok Adalat. Hence the case continued in the Supreme Court. As per the list the case was taken up on 30.09.2015 by the Supreme Court with the Chief Justice of India and Justice Aruna Mishra and set aside the judgement of the High Court and restored the judgement of MVC Tribunal of Mangalore.
These are my comments on this issue:
– Whether the Division Bench of Karnataka High Court is justified in giving a judgement in MFA 5648/2002 ?
– Finally as per the Supreme Court’s judgement I will be getting a compensation of Rs.1,11,000/- which was passed by the MVC Tribunal at Mangaluru with applicable interest at the rate of 9% p.a. from the year 1992 is approximately Rs. 3,38,000/- today. Is it worth the value of 1,11,000/-in 1992 today after 23 years?
– Is it possible to go for a common man to go to the Supreme Court and fight for the so called justice in India ?
– When the High Court that too a Division bench is doing this kind of mistakes who is the sufferer ?
– Finally I fought for the Justice approaching the Top most Court of India and justice is given to me after 23 years …! Is it justified …..?
Please send your comments to my email:firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9964141462
About Author: Harishchandra Hejmady, who is MBA and LLM graduate who retired as Assistant Commissioner of Police-Mangaluru in December 2014, is currently a legal consultant to the Managing Director of Sri Ram Transport Finance Company-Mumbai