N.S. Ramaswami, J.
1. This appeal is filed by the second respondent in claim petition No. 37 of 1966 on the file of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Tirunelveli. The appellant is the insurer of the vehicle which was involved in the motor vehicle. The claimants are the widow and children of the Lucas Hass morais who died in the motor accident that occurred at about 2 p.m. on 1-2-1966. The motor vehicle involved in the accident is a taxi bearing registration No. MDU 8441, and owned by the first respondent to the claim, petition. The claimants prayed for a total compensation of Rs.25,000 towards loss of benefit as a result of the death of Lucas Hass Morais. The two respondents to the claim petition resisted the claim. But, ultimately the Tribunal held that the accident was as a result of rash and negligent driving of the motor vehicle, that the claimants are entitled to compensation and fixed the quantum of compensation at Rs. 9,600. It has passed an award for such sum against the owner of the vehicle as well as the insurer. The Insurance Company has preferred this appeal and the only contention raised before us is that as per Section 95(2)(b) of the Motor Vehicle Act, as it stood prior to 1969 amendment, the maximum amount to which the insurer can be made liable, in this case, is only Rs. 4,000. The contention is that the Insurance Company cannot be asked to pay the entire sum of Rs. 9,600 awarded as the compensation.
2. The claimants had not preferred any independent appeal claiming enhancement of compensation fixed by the Tribunal. But, they have filed a cross objection to the appeal filed by the Insurance Company in which they have claimed enhancement of compensation against the insurance company as well as the owner of the vehicle. It may be noted that the owner of the vehicle who was the first respondent in the claim petition has been impleaded as pro forma respondent in the appeal preferred by the Insurance Company. Now, in the cross-objection the prayer is for enhancement of compensation not, only against the insurance company, who is the appellant, but also against the owner of the vehicle, who is one of the respondents to the appeal.
3. There can be no doubt that the appeal of the Insurance Company has to be allowed. Section 95 (2)(b) as it stood prior to 1969 amendment provided that the maximum liability of an insurance company in respect of a vehicle which carries passengers is limited to Rs. 20,000 in respect of all passengers who travelled in the vehicle and there is the further restriction that in respect of all in respect as of an individual passenger, the maximum liability of the insurance company is Rs. 4,000 in the case of vehicle carrying six or less passengers and Rs. 2,000 in the case of a vehicle carrying more than six passengers. The vehicle which is a taxi was to carry less than six passengers and as per the said provision, the maximum liability, regarding the death of one of the passengers on the Insurance Company is only Rs. 4,000 as the law stood then. Therefore, the appeal of the Insurance Company has to be allowed.
4. Regarding the cross-objection two preliminary objections were raised. The first is that the appeal being one arising under a special statute and the Civil Procedure Code not being applicable to the Tribunal constituted under the said statute, viz., the Motor Vehicles Act, no cross-objection can be filled. It is pointed out that under Section 110-D though there is provision for any of the aggrieved parties to file an appeal, there is nothing in the section permitting a respondent to an appeal to file cross-objection.
5. In support of this contention, three decisions were relied on. The first is Vedantacharsami v. Sri Muthiah Chetti, (1955) 68 Mad LLW 66. The other two decisions are not reported and they are in A.A.O. No. 317 of 1967 (Mad.) (Srinivasan v. Subbiah Chettiar) and A.A.O. No.222 of 1970(Mad.)(Govindaraj v. Venugopal). One of these two decisions (A.A.O. No. 317 of 1967) is rendered by Somasundaram J., and the other is rendered by Maharajan J. We are of the view that the above contention raised against the maintainability of the cross-objection is untenable. Under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, an appeal lies to this court. It must be remembered that when once an appeal is entertained by this court, all the provisions relating to the appellate jurisdiction to this court are attracted. it is true that all the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code are not applicable to the Tribunal, because it is a creature of the statute, but the appeal against the order of the Tribunal is to the High Court and not to any other Tribunal constituted under the statute. In Secretary of State v. Rama Rao, AIR 1916 PC 21, the question was whether the ordinary rules of the Civil Procedure Code would apply to appeal to the District Court against the decision of the Forest Settlement Officer under Section 10(2) of the Madras Forest Act. The Privy Council pointed out that the appeal being to the District Court which is one of the ordinary courts of the country, the ordinary rules of the Civil procedure Code apply. National Sewing Thread Co. Ltd., v. James Chadwich and Bros. Ltd. is a case
under the Trade Marks Act, 1940. Under Section 76(1) of the said Act, an appeal shall lie from any decision of the Registrar under that Act to the High Court having jurisdiction. The question arose whether an appeal under Clause 15. Letters Patent is maintainable against the decision of a single Judge of the High Court in an appeal under Section 76(1) of the said Act. It was pointed out by the Supreme Court that as the said Act had not made any provision with regard to the procedure to be followed by the High Court in hearing the appeal under the said Act, the High Court has to exercise its appellate jurisdiction in the same manner as it exercises its other appellate jurisdiction and therefore when such jurisdiction was exercised by a single Judge, his judgment was appealable under C1. 15 Letters Patent. As we pointed out earlier, Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act contemplates an appeal to the High Court. Once an appeal is entertained by this court, all the rules in the Civil Procedure Code would be applicable, to such an appeal in as much as no other procedure is prescribed under the said Act. That means. Order 41, Rule 22, C. P. Code would be applicable and the respondent in an appeal would be entitled to present a memorandum of cross-objections are provided under the said rules, Venkataraman J., in disposing of A.A.O. No. 162 of 1972 (Mad.) (Venkatesan v. Ranganayaki) has taken a similar view and we agree with the same. The Madhya Pradesh High Court in Manjula Devi Butta v. Manjusri Raha, 1968 ACJ 1 (Madh. Pra) and the Delhi High Court in W. S. Bhagsingh and Sons v. Omprakash Kaith, 1971 ACJ 324 (Delhi), have taken the same view.
6. (1955) 68 Mad LW 66 arises under Section 51 of the Madras Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act. (Act XXVI of 1948). Under that section, any person aggrieved by any decision of the Abolition Tribunal may appeal to a Special Tribunal consisting of two Judges of the High Court nominated from time to time by the Chief Justice in that behalf. The question arose whether the respondent in an appeal filed under Section 51 of that Act can file a cross-objection. A Division Bench of this court held that such a cross-objection cannot be entertained. but this decision has no application to the facts of the present case. As already seen, under Section 51 of the Abolition Act, the appeal contemplated is not to the High Court as such but only to a Special Tribunal consisting of two Judges of the High Court, Such a Special Tribunal, even though consisting of two Judges of the High Court, is a creature of the statute and the provisions of the Civil Procedure Tribunal. Section 51 of the Abolition Act itself did not contemplate the filing of cross-objections by a respondent in an appeal under that section. It was under those circumstances, a Division Bench of this court held that the cross-objection cannot be maintained. It is pointed out there that Section 51 confers a special rights on the aggrieved person in certain cases to appeal to a special Tribunal, constituted by the Chief Justice and that there is no provision in the Act attracting the entire procedure laid down in the Civil Procedure Code including the right to file cross-objections. The very reasoning contained in that decision would go to show that in the present case, a cross-objection is maintainable because the appeal contemplated under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act is not to a special Tribunal but to the High Court. Undoubtedly all the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code would be applicable to any proceeding before this court even if it is an appeal under any special stature.
7. Somasundaram J. in disposing of A.A.O. NO. 317 of 1967 (Mad.) has purported to follow the above Bench decision (1955) 68 Mad LW 66 in holding that no memorandum of cross-objections is entertainable in an appeal under Sec-110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act. There is no further discussion by the learned Judge in coming to that conclusion. All that the learned Judge says is that there is no provision in the special Act attracting the entire procedure laid down in the Civil Procedure Code, including the right to file the cross-objections and therefore the memo of cross-objections does not lie. The learned Judge has overlooked the fact that the appeal is to the High Court to which the Civil procedure Code applies. For the reasons stated supra, we are of the view that this decision of the learned Judge, (Somasundaram J.) and that in A.A.O. No. 222 of 1970 (Mad.) by Maharajan J. following the above decision are not correctly decided. We hold that a cross-objection would lie and the first preliminary objection is not tenable.
8. The second preliminary objection is that whatever be the right of the cross-objector against the appellant, namely, the Insurance co., there cannot be a valid cross-objection against the owner of the vehicle who is also a respondent in the appeal. However, we think it is unnecessary to consider whether this objection is tenable or not, for on merits, the cross-objection has to fail.
9. The finding of the Tribunal below is that the deceased was earning a sum of Rs. 150 per month. He was aged 39 years at the time of his death. Considering his age and the income, we do not think that the sum of Rs. 9,600 fixed as the total compensation payable to the claimants towards loss of benefit calls for any interference, even though the reasoning of the Tribunal below does not appear to be quite sound. The result is the appeal is allowed and the liability of the appellant (Insurance Company) is restricted to a sum of Rs. 4,000. The cross-objection is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs either in the appeal or in the cross-objection.
10. Appeal allowed.