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Friday, September 24, 2021

Punjab and Haryana HC allows accused to file written statement in MACT case, subject to him planting 75 trees

Advocate Bhatia submitted that the petitioner is “90 per cent disabled and unable to walk, and therefore cannot attend the court hearings in person”.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 10, 2021 7:54:32 pm
If possible frame policy to decide parole on the spot: HC to PunjabPunjab and Haryana High Court (Express Photo)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed a Nawanshahr man to file his written statement in a Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) case — for which the date of submission had lapsed — subject to him planting 75 trees in the vicinity of his residence.

The bench of Justice Arun Monga said, “The writ petition is allowed subject to costs, which are assessed at Rs 10,000. By way of imposition of costs, petitioner shall plant 75 trees of deciduous and perennial in nature, of any variety viz. neem, amla, gulmohar and/or Alstonia, in the vicinity of his residence…Plantation shall be carried out under the supervision of the concerned district horticulture Officer, who shall give a letter of proof to the MACT of having carried out the plantation as per the orders of this court.”

It further said: “In case the petitioner defaults in doing so, liberty is granted to the registry to place the matter before this court to report non-compliance. Proof of plantation be also furnished by the petitioner in the registry of this court, alongwith supporting letter from horticulture department, to be placed before this court upon receipt thereof.”

The bench was hearing the plea of Amrik Singh, who through his counsel advocate Saurav Bhatia contended that he is the owner of the car involved in the fatal accident, and “in the absence of his defence, irreparable loss would be caused to him qua the liability, which may be fastened on him for lack of his defence”.

Advocate Bhatia submitted that the petitioner is “90 per cent disabled and unable to walk, and therefore cannot attend the court hearings in person”. He is to necessarily depend on his counsel and others to follow up his interest. He further submitted that the claim petition was listed for January 27, 2021. The petitioner caused his appearance through his counsel on February 12, 2021, who filed his power of attorney and sought time to file a written statement on the adjourned date, March 9. On that date, the matter was adjourned to March 22, when the presiding officer was since on leave and therefore it was once again adjourned to April 16. In the interregnum, though the written statement, which is essentially on the same lines as was already filed in the earlier claim petition, had been re-prepared for fresh signatures and had been sent to the petitioner for the needful, but he could not send it back to his counsel on time after signing the same. As a result, when his counsel sought further time to do the needful, the right of the petitioner to file a written statement was struck off.

Justice Monga, after hearing the matter, thus held that the interest of justice would be met if subject to certain costs, one more opportunity is granted to file the written statement.

“In the premise, a fresh written statement does not require much effort other than resigning by the petitioner. In the peculiar premise, the order of the trial court is set aside with liberty to the petitioner to file his written statement on or before the date fixed before the trial court. In case needful is not done, no further opportunity shall be granted,” ordered Justice Monga.

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