The Bombay High Court held that drivers of stationed trucks have a legal obligation to take all proper precautions under Rule 109 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 (Rules) to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of others on the road.

The Court enhanced compensation to the amount of Rs.11,93,760/- for the deceased's death.

The Bench of Justice Shivkumar Dige observed, “This Court in the case of Mohini Mohanrao Salunke (supra) has held that it is duty of the driver of stationed truck to take proper precautions, when truck is stationed on the road. But it appears that in present cast it was not taken”.

Advocate Yogesh Pande appeared for the Appellant and Advocate Devendranath S. Joshi appeared for the Second Respondent (New India Assurance Co. Ltd).

The deceased was riding his motorcycle towards Chakan. Due to poor visibility and a lack of parking lights, he collided with a stationary truck parked on the road. He sustained multiple injuries and succumbed to them later. The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal held the deceased 65% responsible for the accident and the truck driver 35% responsible. The Appellant approached the High Court by way of a First Appeal seeking enhancement of compensation.

The Court noted that the truck driver didn't provide evidence of taking proper precautions to prevent the accident, particularly considering the lack of parking lights and the time of day (9:30 pm). The Court noted that Rule 109 mandates proper precautions for parked vehicles, including using parking lights. This implies that the truck driver was likely negligent in contributing to the accident.

The Court referred to the case of Mohini Mohanrao Salunke v Ramdas Hanumant Jadhav [First Appeal No. 569 of 2022 Bombay]. The Court reiterated that the driver of the stationed truck must take proper precautions when the truck is stationed on the road. Therefore, the Court disagreed with the Tribunal’s decision and held the truck driver solely responsible for the accident.

The Court, therefore, awarded the claimant the full compensation amount of Rs.11,93,760/- for the deceased's death. Additionally, the claimant received Rs.44,000/- for consortium loss, Rs.16,500/- for loss of estate, and Rs.16,500/- for funeral expenses, totaling Rs.12,70,760/-.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the Appeal.

Cause Title: Nita Narendra Nadgouda v M/s. Garuda Carriers and Shipping (P) Ltd (2023:BHC-AS:36799)

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