A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) has ordered the BEST to pay over Rs. 21 lakhs to the family of a Mantralaya peon who died four months after sustaining serious head injuries while alighting from a moving BEST bus near the Bombay High Court in 2013.
Vinod Chavan, a peon at the Water Resources Department at Mantralaya, was 43 at the time of the accident. His widow, a daughter, 24 and a son, 21 had claimed a compensation of Rs. 50 lakhs. They claimed that on 5 August 2013, at 9 AM, he fell from the bus due to rash driving and a sudden brake. The driver had taken him to GT hospital. Chavan was in a coma and had to be hospitalized two times after the accident, before he passed away at home in early January 2014.
The BEST had denied the allegations in a written statement filed before the tribunal. The bus driver had appeared before the tribunal and stated that Chavan had jumped out of the moving bus when it reached near Gate no. 5 of the High Court, slipped and fell, thereby sustaining head injuries. He said he had applied the brakes after the fall.
The tribunal came to the conclusion that there was contributory negligence on the part of the driver and the deceased. It remarked that the BEST had not examined the conductor nor had the claimants examined any eyewitnesses to prove their claim.
As there was contributory negligence, it deducted half the amount of compensation it found Chavan’s family entitled to. It was brought to the tribunal’s notice that the widow of Chavan had got death benefits and her son had got a job on compassionate grounds. Tribunal member Bharat P. Vyas said in his judgment that merely because the claimants have got death benefits and an appointment on compassionate grounds, it is not a reason to discard their claim.