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However, Hindi being the national language, it is expected of the witnesses who would be produced by the petitioner before the MACT, Fatehgarh, UP to communicate and convey their version in Hindi," said the judge
The Supreme Court has declined to transfer a case from Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh to Darjeeling in West Bengal on the ground of language barrier, saying most of witnesses would communicate and convey in Hindi as it is the national language.
"In a country as diverse as India, it is no doubt true that people speak different languages. There are at least 22 official languages. However, Hindi being the national language, it is expected of the witnesses who would be produced by the petitioner before the MACT, Fatehgarh, UP to communicate and convey their version in Hindi," a single judge bench of Justice Dipankar Datta said.
Petitioner Pramod Sinha contended that since all the witnesses of the petitioner are from Siliguri, language could be a barrier.
The bench, however, said that the contention had been urged only to be rejected.
It also pointed out that if the contention of the petitioner is to be accepted, it is the claimants who would be seriously prejudiced not being in a position to communicate and convey their version in Bengali.
Sinha was a defendant in a claim petition lodged before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Farrukhabad at Fatehgarh, UP, under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The petitioner was the owner of the offending vehicle. He sought transfer of the claim petition to the MACT, Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal.
The court noted the primary ground on which transfer has been sought is that the accident had taken place at Siliguri and, therefore, it would be expedient for the MACT at Darjeeling to decide the claim petition.
The bench, however, said, "The provisions of the Act do not make it mandatory for the claimants to lodge an application for compensation under Section 166 thereof before the MACT having jurisdiction over the area where the accident occurred."
On the contrary, sub-section (2) of Section 166 provides an option for the claimants to approach the MACT within the local limits of whose jurisdiction they (claimants) reside or carry on business or the defendant resides. The claimants having chosen the option to approach the MACT, Farrukhabad a forum that law permits them to choose, no grievance can be raised by the petitioner, the bench added.
The court dismissed the petition, terming the contention as misconceived.
"No case having been set up for transfer, this petition stands dismissed," the bench said.
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