Chandigarh, April 18, 2022: In a motor accident case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has set aside the impugned order of the Executing Court whereby warrants of attachment were issued against the property of Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation, when even the corporation was not impleaded as a party both in the claim petition and in the execution proceedings, solely on the ground that the offending vehicle (bus) which caused the accident belonged to the Corporation and the Corporation was an agency of the State Government.
The Bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal held, “ (…) the intent of the Executing Court may be laudable, however, the procedure adopted is not correct. The Executing Court cannot travel beyond the scope of the judgment which has the force of a decree.”
Originally, in this case, a claim petition was filed under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 with a prayer to grant compensation to the claimants. The State of Jammu & Kashmir was impleaded as the fourth respondent. This petition was allowed on November 16, 2016. Nowhere in this claim petition, the present petitioner (Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation i.e. the Corporation) was impleaded as a party.
Thereafter, the claimants filed an execution petition wherein also the State of Jammu & Kashmir was the fourth respondent. The Corporation was not even a party to the execution petition.
The executing court, while passing the impugned order observed that the offending vehicle was owned by the Corporation and the State of Jammu and Kashmir was impleaded as the fourth respondent in the claim petition, thus the Corporation being an agency of the said State should also be brought into the picture. Therefore, overlooking the objections raised by the Corporation, the Court ordered the issuance of warrants of attachment against the property of the Judgment Debtor as well as objector (the Corporation) on the filing of a list of property warrant fees in a time-bound manner.
Hence, the High Court was approached.
The counsel representing the petitioner contended that the petitioner-Corporation was a separate legal entity, therefore, the Executing Court was not correct in proceeding with the matter, in the manner, it has been done. He contended that the warrants of attachment could not be issued against the petitioner-Corporation.
Per contra, the counsel representing the respondent contended that the offending vehicle was owned by the petitioner-Corporation, therefore, the Court passed the order in the interest of justice.
After having heard the counsel representing the parties at some length, the Court was of the considered view that the intent of the Executing Court may be laudable, however, the procedure adopted was not correct. Elaborating upon this observation the Court expounded that the Executing Court cannot travel beyond the scope of the judgment which has the force of a decree.
Thus, keeping in view the aforesaid facts, the order under challenge was set aside while giving liberty to the claimants to avail their remedy in accordance with the law.