Even if a pedestrian is negligent, in case of an accident, the vehicle’s driver will have to offer compensation, ruled the Bombay High Court.
Twenty-three years after wing commander Jitendranath died after being hit by a car while crossing a road, the court upheld the right of compensation to his family, fixing the responsibility of the accident on the driver.
The HC, however, reduced the compensation from Rs 5.89 lakh to Rs 5.21 lakh.
On October 9, 1986, Jitendranath was on his way to Taraporewala Aquarium with his two minor daughters, when a car owned by Meghraj Sethi and Sons, hit him leading to his death.
His wife Sunita approached the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal claiming Rs 10 lakh compensation.
Although the tribunal held that Jitendranath was negligent, it awarded compensation of Rs 5.89 lakh to Sunita in July 1989. The tribunal had said the driver was driving at a speed of 40-50 kmph and had enough time to avert the accident.
Meghraj Sethi and Sons challenged this before the HC, contending that the accident occurred because of Jitendranath’s negligence.
He had not paid heed to the traffic signal and wasn’t using the zebra crossing either, argued their lawyer.
The high court observed that Jitendranath’s negligence in crossing the road did not absolve the driver from paying compensation.
“Since the car was not speeding and was being driven at 40-50 kmph, the driver had sufficient opportunity to avert the accident,” observed Justice Nishita Mhatre while upholding the compensation.