JUSTICE SAVITRI RATHO

The Divisional Manager, The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Gangotree Sahoo and Ors.

Case Number: MACA No. 538 of 2017

Date of Decision: 4th February, 2022

In this case, the Respondents as legal heirs of the deceased Muna Kumar Sahoo had filed the claim petition before the Tribunal claiming Rs.1,20,00,000/- as compensation on account of his death of in a motor vehicle accident. The Respondents had claimed that in front of Brahmanidevi Pitha near village Kulad on the N.H.55, the offending truck driven by the negligent driver came at a high speed with negligent manner from behind the motor cycle and dashed against the deceased. As a result of which, the deceased was thrown away on the road side and sustained multiple bleeding and grievous fracture injuries on his head and died on the spot. The AppellantInsurance company filed written statement denying the manner of accident and challenged the maintainability of the claim petition for non-joinder and misjoinder of parties and prayed that the owner should produce the driving licence, original insurance policy and claimed violation of original policy condition. The Tribunal held the truck driver guilty of rash and negligent driving. It further held that on the date of accident, the driver had a valid driving licence and the vehicle was covered by a valid insurance policy. The legal heirs of the deceased were entitled to receive compensation on account of his death.

The Appellant has challenged this judgment on the grounds that i) The finding of the tribunal that monthly income of the deceased was Rs 66,172/- per month is perverse as non-admissible items like puja bonus, allowances, amount paid towards professional tax have been included in it. ii) Under the “Nalco Employees Family Financial Assistance Rehabilitation Assistance Scheme”, one of the legal heirs of the deceased is liable to get the basic pay plus DA prevailing at the time of the death of the deceased employee till his original date of superannuation and his widow Respondent No.1 is in fact getting the said amount. This amount should have been deducted while deciding the quantum of compensation. iii) Award of interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum on the ground that the case dragged on for years due to fault of the Insurance Company is not supported by materials on record and is therefore liable for interference and the rate of interest cannot exceed 6% per annum for which the impugned order is liable for interference and iv) The multiplier should be reduced to 14 instead of 16.

The Court held that puja bonus and contribution towards professional tax and other allowances cannot be taken to be part of the income for the purpose of calculation of loss of income. The Court rejected the plea of the Appellant that the amount which is being paid per month to the wife of the deceased by NALCO under the scheme is to be deducted while calculating the loss of income. The Court reduced the rate of interest to 7% from 7.5% per annum owing to the fact that the Claimants did not make any objection to the suggestion of the Court regarding reduction. The contention of the Appellant to reduce the multiplier to 14 in place of 16 was rejected.

While partly allowing the appeal, the Court modified the compensation amount of Rs.1,08,01,856/- to Rs 64,64,000/-. It was further directed that this amount is to be paid along with interest @ 7% per annum from the date of filing of claim application i.e. from 10.11.2015 till realization. The appellant shall deposit the said amount before the Tribunal within three months of receipt of this order.

Smt. Amita Pattanayak v. Principal, C.D.A. (Pension), Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh & Ors.

Case Number: TRP(C) No. 72 of 2022

Date of decision: 21st July, 2022

In this case, a question arose as to whether a High Court has the power and / or jurisdiction to transfer a suit pending in a Court subordinate to it to another Court subordinate to another High Court.? The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner-wife preferred this transfer petition under Section 24 read with Section 23 (3) of the Code of Civil Procedure (C.P.C.) for transfer of Civil Suit No. 387 of 2021 from the Court of learned Civil Judge (Senior Division), Angul, to the Court of Civil Judge under the jurisdiction of District Court, Jabalpur.

The Court referred to Section 22 to 25 of CPC and relied upon the case of Durgesh vs Jayashree ((2008) 9 SCC 648) wherein it was held that where certain Courts are subordinate to different High Courts, it is only the Supreme Court which may pass an order of transfer. In other words, if two courts are subordinate to different High Courts, one High Court has no power, jurisdiction or authority to transfer a case pending in any court subordinate to that High Court to a Court subordinate to another High Court after amendment of Section 25 of the C.P.C in the year 1976. It further held that Section 25 of CPC is `self- contained Code’ and comprises of substantive as well as procedural law on the point and allows a party to move the Court by making an application. The jurisdiction of the High Court is limited to the territory within which it exercises jurisdiction and not beyond it. Hence, a High Court cannot pass an order transferring a case pending in a Court subordinate to it to a Court subordinate to another High Court and as this would be inconsistent with the limitation as to territorial jurisdiction of the Court. Keeping the above points in mind, this Court rejected the transfer petition with liberty to the Petitioner to approach the Supreme Court of India under Section 25 of the C.P.C for transfer of the suit.