BEST asked to pay Rs 47 lakh to kin of pedestrian killed in road mishap

A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has asked the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) to pay Rs 47 lakhs to the kin of a 37-year-old man who was crushed between two BEST buses at Sakinaka in 2015 while crossing the road.

Ahmad Shaikh, who worked as a sales and marketing executive with a private firm and was earning Rs 18,000 monthly, left behind his 32-year-old wife, three children. The incident took place on 15 July 2015 when he was crossing the Andheri- Ghatkopar Link Road at Sakinaka. He was hit by a BEST bus which was coming from Ghatkopar direction. He got crushed between the bus and another BEST bus due to the impact and died on the spot. A police complaint was lodged by his brother against the bus driver for rash and negligent driving.

Shaikh’s family had approached the tribunal and claimed compensation of Rs 55 lakh under the Motor Vehicles Act. The BEST had denied their allegations in the claim and refuted liability. It stated that the accident took place due to Shaikh’s own negligence and that he was crossing the road through the narrow space between the buses and did not heed the horn of the bus. He had not used the zebra crossing, it said and claimed that the bus was driven at moderate speed and the bus driver had applied sudden brakes to avert the accident.

The bus driver had stated during his deposition before the tribunal that he was driving the bus at 10 km per hour. The tribunal said that the speed of the vehicle cannot be a criterion to decide if the vehicle was being driven in a rash and negligent manner. Referring to the bus driver’s cross-examination when he appeared as the witness before the Tribunal, it said, “The ignorance of this witness...as to how the deceased came in front of his bus speaks for itself.”

After pursuing police documents, the tribunal said that it is apparent the deceased was caught between two buses. That means, the driver of the offending bus almost gave dash to another bus. “This particular driving, in opinion, can certainly be branded as a rash and negligent act,” it said.

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