SC backs accident victims claim

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | Updated: Aug 14 2013, 09:05am hrs
Cheque bounce cases

The Supreme Court in the case VK Bansal vs Haryana Financial Corporation has held that the sentence in a cheque bounce case shall run concurrently for the same set of offences and not consecutively. In this case, Bansal being the director in a group of companies had taken loan from the Corporation for his three companiesArawali Tubes, Arawali Alloys and Arawali Pipes. Several cheques towards repayment of the loan were dishonoured by the banks. The Corporation filed 15 complaints under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act against Bansal. Judicial Magistrates at Hissar convicted and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment from six months to one year besides imposition of fine.

After the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed Bansals petitions, he moved the Supreme Court contending that the courts below were competent to direct that the sentences awarded to him should run concurrently. The apex court said that the court has power and discretion to pass such orders to benefit the prisoner in cases where the prosecution is based on a single transaction, no matter different complaints have been filed.

While ruling that except in one case, the sentences shall run concurrently, the apex court stated that each loan transactions was a separate and distinct transaction between the complainant and the borrowing company. If different cheques which were dishonoured were issued by the borrowing company acting through Bansal, the same could be said to be arising out of a single loan transaction so as to justify a direction for concurrent running of the sentences awarded in relation to dishonour of cheques relevant to each such transaction, it added.

Road accidents, damages

In the case of S Manickam versus Metropolitan Transport Corporation, the Supreme Court has held the claim for compensation in a road accident is payable both for loss of earning capacity as well as permanent disability. It set aside the Madras High Court order that rejected the award amount of R1 lakh under the head permanent disability on the ground that substantial amount had been fixed under the head loss of earning capacity.

In this case, the victim while alighting from a bus owned by the Corporation fell down and sustained 85% permanent disability by way of amputation of his right leg. At the time of accident, he was 45-year old. While he claimed R21 lakh as compensation, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal awarded R9.42 lakh as a total compensation. On cross-appeals, the HC in 2007 reduced the compensation to R6.72 lakh.

Directing total compensation of R8.52 lakh with 9% interest to be paid to the victim, the Supreme Court observed: The determination of quantum in motor accident cases and compensation under the Workmens Compensation Act must be liberal since the law values life and limb in a free country in generous scales. The adjudicating authority, while determining the quantum of compensation, has to take note of the suffering of the injured person which would include his inability to lead a full life, his incapacity to enjoy the normal amenities which he would have enjoyed but for the injuries and his ability to earn as much as he used to earn or could have earned.

Refund order quashed

In the case of Engineering Export Promotion Council vs Usha Anand and another, the Supreme Court has quashed the Delhi High Courts order that directed Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) to refund R22 lakh deposited by one of the merchant exporters of automotive components. In this case, the CBI had registered six cases against late Yash Pal Anand, the husband of Usha, for various economic offences. Similar cases were registered against his three brothers, who were partners in the firm. While all the accused deposited money with EEPC, a channelising industry under commerce ministry, the money was refunded to the three brothers on acquittal by the trial court. But Yash died before the conclusion of the trial. The HC also allowed refund of money to Usha, who argued that the allegations in all the cases were identical like other partners.

On appeal by the Council, the Supreme Court said the situation was different in the case of Yash, who was not acquitted. When as a condition of bail a sum is deposited, the same is liable to be released after acquittal but when an amount is deposited on ones volition it cannot be directed to be refunded under the CrPC, adding deposition of any sum as a condition of bail and a deposit with the agency on ones own even if to avoid arrest would stand on a different footing. The later action has nothing to do with the proceedings in the court.