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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Insurance claim for the patient is medically described as in a “vegitiative state” and patient is called as “spastic quadric paresys = the appellants had in fact proved that they had spent Rs.3,49,128/- towards medical expenses for treating their son. They had to purchase certain instruments worth Rs.58,642/- for making life of their son comfortable and Rs.31,000/- had been spent towards nursing and Rs.1,37,000/- had to be spent for Physiotherapist. Looking at the fact that Rajanala Ravi Krishna will have to remain dependant for his whole life on someone and looking at the observations made by the Tribunal, which have been reproduced hereinabove, in our opinion, his life is very miserable and there would be substantial financial burden on the appellants for the entire life of their injured son. At times it is not possible to award compensation strictly in accordance with the law laid down as in a particular case it may not be just also. We are hesitant to say that it is a reality of life that at times life of an injured or sick person becomes more miserable for the person and for the family members than the death. Here is one such case where the appellants, even during their retired life will have to take care of their son like a child especially when they would have expected the son to take their care. 13. Though, the High Court has rightly followed the principle laid down in the case of Sarla Verma (supra), in our opinion, the amount of compensation awarded by the Tribunal is more just.

published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40780
                               NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO.  8083 OF 2013
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No.26872 of 2011)



R. Venkata Ramana & Anr.                     .....Appellants


                                Versus

The United India Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors.   …..Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T



ANIL R. DAVE, J.



1.    Leave granted.
2.    Being aggrieved by the Judgment delivered by the Andhra  Pradesh  High
Court in Civil Misc. Appeal No.1016 of 2007 on  27th  December,  2010,  this
appeal has been preferred on behalf of the claimants  in  a  Motor  Accident
Claim Petition.
3.    The facts giving rise to the present appeal, in a nut  shell,  are  as
under:
       On account of an accident, which had taken place on 31st July,  2000,
around 6 p.m., son of the appellants had suffered severe injuries.   He  had
to be hospitalized and operations had to  be  performed.   The  injured  was
left with 80% disability due to the accident.   Looking  at  the  nature  of
injuries suffered by the injured, a claim for  Rs.25,07,564/-  was  made  by
the appellants and the injured, who was also a claimant before the  Tribunal
but at present, possibly because of  his  inability,  the  appeal  has  been
filed by the parents.
4.    After considering the evidence and looking at  the  injuries  suffered
and physical condition of the injured, namely, Rajanala  Ravi  Krishna,  who
was  hardly  17  years  old  at  the  time  of  the  accident,  by  way   of
compensation, the Tribunal awarded a sum of Rs.18,75,800/- with  interest  @
7.5 % from the date of presentation of the petition till realization of  the
said amount.
5.    Being aggrieved by the order passed by the Tribunal,  respondent  No.1
– United India Insurance Company Ltd., filed Civil Misc. Appeal  No.1016  of
2007 praying that the amount of compensation be reduced as it  was  much  on
higher side.  After  hearing  the  concerned  counsel  and  looking  at  the
evidence, the High Court allowed the civil  misc.  appeal  by  reducing  the
amount of compensation to a sum of Rs.12,45,800/- with interest  thereon  to
the claimants.
6.    Being aggrieved by the reduction in the amount  of  compensation,  the
parents of the 17 years old injured student have approached  this  Court  by
way of this appeal.
7.    The learned counsel appearing for the appellants  had  submitted  that
the Tribunal had awarded just and proper compensation  which  ought  not  to
have been reduced by the High Court.   The  learned  counsel  had  taken  us
through the order passed by the Tribunal and the  relevant  evidence.   Upon
perusal of the evidence, we find that  the  son  of  the  appellants,  as  a
result of the accident, is suffering from  80%  permanent  disability.   The
Neurologist who had been examined by the Tribunal had stated that there  was
no chance of any improvement in the health of the injured.  Upon perusal  of
the evidence, we find that  Rajanala  Ravi  Krishna,  as  a  result  of  the
accident,  tracheotomy  and  other  surgeries  performed  on  him,  he   has
practically become bedridden, except for the fact that he can be moved in  a
wheel chair.  He  requires  continuous  nursing  because  he  is  unable  to
perform his day to day  activities.    In  the  circumstances,  the  learned
counsel had submitted  that  the  amount  of  compensation  awarded  by  the
Tribunal was just and proper.
8.    On the other hand, the learned counsel appearing for the respondent  –
Insurance Company had submitted that the Tribunal had  awarded  huge  amount
of compensation to a person who was not having any income and was   only   a
student, whose future was not known to any one.  In the said  circumstances,
according to the learned counsel, the High Court had rightly considered  the
judgment delivered by this Court in the case of Sarla Verma  v.  Delhi  Road
Transport  Corporation  2009(6)  SCC  121  while  awarding  just  amount  of
compensation.  He had supported the judgment delivered  by  the  High  Court
and had submitted that the present appeal be dismissed.
9.    Upon hearing the learned counsel and looking at the impugned  judgment
and the order of the Tribunal as well as the evidence adduced on  behalf  of
the claimants, we are of the view that the Tribunal was not at  all  lenient
in the matter of awarding the compensation and the compensation  awarded  by
the Tribunal was just and proper.
10.    We have considered the facts and the injuries  suffered  by  Rajanala
Ravi Krishna, who was hardly 17  years  old  student  at  the  time  of  the
accident.  We need not go into the negligence part  of  the  driver  because
even in  the criminal proceedings it had been held that the  driver  of  the
vehicle was guilty of rash and negligent  driving.    Upon  perusal  of  the
evidence, we find that the condition of Rajanala  Ravi  Krishna,  after  the
accident has become very pathetic.  Evidence adduced by the Neurologist  and
other evidence also reveal that Rajanala Ravi Krishna  shall  not  be  in  a
position to speak for his life  and  shall  not  be  in  a  position  to  do
anything except breathing for his life, unless a miracle happens.  He  would
require care of a person every day so as to see that he is given food,  bath
etc. and so as to enable him even in the matter of answering  natural  call.
It would be worth producing the reaction of the Tribunal after  appreciating
evidence of the doctor and the said portion  of  the  Tribunal’s  order  has
been even reproduced by the High Court in its judgment:
      “It is not in dispute  that  because  of  this  accident  the  injured
      petitioner who appears  to  be  an  active  and  bright  student  from
      Exs.A.481 to A.487, he lost all the function of his all four limbs  on
      account of the severe  injuries  sustained  by  him.   I  have  myself
      questioned PW.2 to find out the graveness of  the  injuries  that  are
      sustained by the injured third petitioner.  It has been  the  evidence
      of PW.2 that  there  is  no  possibility  of  the  injured  petitioner
      regaining normal power of all the four limbs inspite of any amount  of
      treatment.  The patient require physio therapy throughout his life and
      assistance of some person for  all  his  activities.   PW.2  has  also
      stated that it is difficult to say even by  the  time  he  was  giving
      evidence whether the patient could  regain  his  voice,  PW.2  further
      stated that the  patient  requires  regular  medication  of  at  least
      Rs.500/- per day for his subsistence.  PW.2 also  stated  the  patient
      requires some bodies assistance even for taking food and finally  PW.2
      stated that the patient is medically described as  in  a  “vegitiative
      state” and patient is called as “spastic quadric paresys”.


11.   Looking at the  aforestated  facts  which  even  the  High  Court  had
noticed, we feel that the Tribunal can not be  said  to  have  awarded  more
amount by way of compensation.
12.   From the order of the tribunal, we find that
 the  appellants  had  in
fact proved that they had spent Rs.3,49,128/- towards medical  expenses  for
treating  their  son.   They  had  to  purchase  certain  instruments  worth
Rs.58,642/- for making life of their son  comfortable  and  Rs.31,000/-  had
been  spent  towards  nursing  and   Rs.1,37,000/-  had  to  be  spent   for
Physiotherapist.  Looking at the fact that Rajanala Ravi Krishna  will  have
to remain dependant for his  whole  life  on  someone  and  looking  at  the
observations made by the Tribunal, which have been  reproduced  hereinabove,
in our opinion, his life is very miserable and there  would  be  substantial
financial burden on the appellants for the  entire  life  of  their  injured
son.  At times  it  is  not  possible  to  award  compensation  strictly  in
accordance with the law laid down as in a particular  case  it  may  not  be
just also.    We are hesitant to say that it is a reality of  life  that  at
times life of an injured or sick  person  becomes  more  miserable  for  the
person and for the family members than the death.  Here  is  one  such  case
where the appellants, even during their retired life will have to take  care
of their son like a child especially when they would have expected  the  son
to take their care.
13.   Though, the High Court has rightly followed the  principle  laid  down
in the  case  of  Sarla  Verma  (supra),  in  our  opinion,  the  amount  of
compensation awarded by the Tribunal is more just. 
 The Tribunal  awarded  a
lump sum of Rs.10 lacs  and  the  amount  of  expenditure  incurred  by  the
appellants for  treating  their  son.   
The  total  amount  awarded  by  the
Tribunal was Rs.18,75,800/-  which, in our opinion, is not too much  and  in
our opinion, the said amount should be awarded to the appellants.
14.   In the circumstances, we quash and set aside  the  judgment  delivered
by the High Court and restore the order of  the  Tribunal.   The  amount  of
compensation determined by the Tribunal along with interest  @  7.5  %  from
the date of presentation of the claim petition till  its  realization  shall
be paid to the appellants.
15.   The appeal is allowed with no order as to costs.



                             ……...........................................J.
                                                    (ANIL R. DAVE)


                             ……...........................................J.
                                                       (DIPAK MISRA)

New Delhi
September 17, 2013

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