The Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT) awarded a compensation of Rs 27.07 lakhs to the family of a 54-year-old man who died after falling from an HRTC bus, here at Chomola village, Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh in April 2018. As per the application, the victim, Bihari Lal, a resident of Sujanpur in Hamirpur district, was working with PWD Department, Sub Division Sujanpur, Himachal Pradesh.
It was alleged that the accident took place on April 3, 2018 at about 9.15 pm, when victim Bihari Lal was going to Hamirpur. As per the application, Bihari Lal boarded a HRTC Bus (HP67 0238) from Jiyard village to Hamirpur. He was standing near the door of the overloaded bus which was driven by Amar Nath. When the bus was negotiating a turn near Chomola village, a sudden jerk caused the front door of the bus to open, due to which Bihari Lal fell out.
The bus was stopped after some distance, when another commuter, Jagdish Chand, raised an alarm. Due to the accident, the victim received serious injuries and was taken to Regional Hospital Hamirpur by Jagdish Chand in a private vehicle, where doctors declared him brought dead. Following this, a case under Sections 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304A (Causing death by negligence) of IPC was registered against Amar Nath (driver) at Police Station Sujanpur, Hamirpur.
The application was moved by Urmila Devi, wife of victim, Naresh Kumar, son of victim, and Shivo Devi, mother of victim claiming themselves to be only legal heirs. The application stated that the victim was 54-years-old and was earning Rs 30,000 per month. A notice was issued to the driver, Amar Nath, HRTC and Managing Director of HRTC, who in their reply objected to the claims of the application. The HRTC and Managing Director of HRTC stated that while the driver was driving the bus, a person sitting in the bus suddenly opened the front door and jumped out without asking the driver to stop the bus. The accident occurred entirely due to the negligence of deceased himself and there was no negligence on the part of the driver of the bus who was driving on the correct side and at a slow speed.
Meanwhile, Jagdish Chand, another commuter, testified as an eyewitness in the Tribunal, and stated that the bus was being driven in a rash and negligent manner by Amar Nath, due to which the sudden jerk caused other passengers to also feel a push, the front door of the bus to open and Bihari lal to fall out. Also, the driver of said bus was so careless that he did not stop the bus even after the accident.
After hearing the arguments, the facts of the case and plea of the victim family, the Tribunal granted compensation of Rs 27,07,096 to legal claimants of the victim, with directions to the HRTC and Managing Director of HRTC to jointly pay the compensation.