A Truck belonging to the Indian Army met with an accident resulting in the death of X. X’s wife claims compensation-by filing a suit against the Government. Can she succeed? Decide.
X’s wife’s right to claim compensation against the Government depends on the purpose for which the truck belongs to the Indian Army was used while the accident took place.
If the accident has occurred while the vehicle was used in the course of army activities, then X’s wife cannot claim compensation as it is a sovereign function for which compensation is not payable under Art. 300 of the Constitution.
However, if the vehicle was used for non sovereign functions at the time of accident, then compensation is payable.
In Satyawati v. Union of India AIR 1967 Delhi 98, the Court held that the carrying of hockey team in an army vehicle to play a match could by no process of extension be termed as exercise of sovereign power and the Union of India was therefore liable for damages caused to the plaintiff.