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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Accident claims-M.V.Act - Contributory Negligence - with out proof no court come to conclusion that there was contributory negligence when there was no F.I.R. on claimants - Apex court set aside the finding of lower court and high court - Fixation of income of a person from unorganized sectors - No court should press for documentary evidence - in the absence of contradictory evidence - the court can rely upon the evidence of the claimant basing on contemporary market prices - Parentage of permanent Disability has to be fixed basing on the filed how it affects the income of the claimant and how it affects the future prospects of livelihood of claimant - But lower court and High court unnecessarily reduced it - amputation of leg for vegetable vendor affects his life to an extent of 85% but not at 65% as fixed by high court , Major fractures of limbs to a cooli which disables him from doing cooli job affects his lively hood to an extent of 85% but not as opined by doctor as 28% or reduced by High court as 13% - Apex court set aside the orders of lower court and high court and evaluated the compensation afreshly as the high court miserable failed to appreciate the lower court order = SYED SADIQ ETC. …APPELLANTS Vs. DIVISIONAL MANAGER, UNITED INDIA INS. CO. … RESPONDENT = 2014 ( January - Vol - 1-D.B.) Judis.nic.in/ S.C./ file name =41153

   Accident claims-M.V.Act - Contributory Negligence - with out proof no court come to conclusion that there was contributory negligence when there was no F.I.R. on claimants - Apex court set aside the finding of lower court and high court - Fixation of income of a person from unorganized sectors - No court should press for documentary evidence - in the absence of contradictory evidence - the court can rely upon the evidence of the claimant basing on contemporary market prices - Parentage of  permanent Disability has to be fixed basing on the filed how it affects the income of the claimant and how it affects the future prospects of livelihood of claimant  - But lower court and High court unnecessarily reduced it - amputation of leg for vegetable vendor affects his life to an extent of 85% but not at 65% as fixed by high court , Major fractures of limbs to a cooli which disables him from doing cooli job affects his lively hood to an extent of 85% but not as opined by doctor as 28% or reduced by High court as 13% - Apex court set aside the orders of lower court and high court and evaluated the compensation afreshly as the high court miserable failed to appreciate the lower court order =
On 14.8.2008, all the three appellants/ claimants in the appeals
      herein were proceeding on the left side of the  road  by  pushing  the
      motorcycle bearing Registration no. KA-16-2404 since it was punctured.
      When the appellants/  claimants  came  near  the  Coper  Petrol  Bunk,
      opposite to Jai Hind Hotel, a  tractor  bearing  no  KA-16/T-8219-8220
      came from the opposite  direction  on  its  right  side  in  rash  and
      negligent  manner  and  dashed  into   the   motor   cycle   and   the
      appellants/claimants. This resulted in  all  the  appellants/claimants
      sustaining grievous injuries. 
The
      High Court however, taking into consideration the  amputation  of  the
      right leg of the appellant/claimant, determined the disability at  65%
      without assigning any proper reason for  coming  to  this  conclusion.
      Therefore, we intend to assign our reasons to hold that the High Court
      has erred in concluding the disability at 65%.
=   
The  Tribunal  has  to  first  ascertain  what
              activities the claimant  could  carry  on  in  spite  of  the
              permanent disability and what he could not do as a result  of
              the permanent disability (this is also relevant for  awarding
              compensation under the head of loss of  amenities  of  life).
              
The second step is to ascertain his avocation, profession and
              nature of work before the accident,  as  also  his  age.  
The
              third step is to find out 
whether 
(i) the claimant is totally
              disabled from earning any kind of livelihood, or 
(ii) whether
              in spite of  the  permanent disability,  the  claimant  could
              still effectively carry  on  the  activities  and  functions,
              which he was earlier carrying on, or  
(iii)  whether  he  was
              prevented  or  restricted  from  discharging   his   previous
              activities and functions, but could carry on  some  other  or
              lesser scale of activities and functions so that he continues
              to earn or can continue to earn his livelihood.”


      7. Further, 
the appellant claims that he was working  as  a  vegetable
      vendor. 
It is true that a vegetable vendor might not require  mobility
      to the extent that he sells vegetables  at  one  place.  
However,  the
      occupation of vegetable vending is not confined to selling  vegetables
      from a particular location. 
It rather  involves  procuring  vegetables
      from the whole-sale market or the farmers and then selling it  off  in
      the retail market. 
This often involves selling vegetables in the  cart
      which requires 100% mobility. 
But even by conservative approach, if we
      presume that the vegetable vending by the appellant/claimant  involved
      selling  vegetables  from  one  place,  the  claimant  would   require
      assistance with his mobility in  bringing  vegetables  to  the  market
      place which otherwise would be extremely difficult for  him   with  an
      amputated leg. 
We are required to  be  sensitive  while  dealing  with
      manual labour cases where loss of limb is often equivalent to loss  of
      livelihood. 
Yet, considering  that  the  appellant/claimant  is  still
      capable to fend for his livelihood once he is brought  in  the  market
      place, we determine the disability at 85% to  determine  the  loss  of
      income.

There is no reason, in the instant case for the Tribunal  and  the
      High  Court  to  ask  for  evidence   of   monthly   income   of   the
      appellant/claimant. On the other hand, going by the present  state  of
      economy and  the  rising  prices  in  agricultural  products,  we  are
      inclined to believe that a vegetable vendor is reasonably  capable  of
      earning  [pic]6,500/- per month.
 Therefore, considering that the appellant/ claimant was self  employed
      and was 24 years of age, we hold that he is entitled to 50%  increment
      in the future prospect of income based upon the principle laid down in
      the Santosh Devi case (supra).

Therefore, applying the principle of Sarla Verma in the present  case,
      we hold that the High Court was correct in applying the multiplier  of
      18 and we uphold the same for the purpose for calculating  the  amount
      of compensation to which the appellant/ claimant is entitled to.


      12.  With  respect  to  the   medical   expenses   incurred   by   the
      appellant/claimant, he  has  produced  medical  bills  and  incidental
      charges bills  marked as          Exs. P-25 to P-201 and prescriptions
      at Exs. P-202 to P-217 on the basis of which the  Tribunal  awarded  a
      compensation of [pic]60,000/- under  the  head. 
 However,  considering
      that the appellant might have to change his artificial leg  from  time
      to time, we shall allot an amount of [pic]1,00,000/- under the head of
      medical cost and incidental expenses to include future medical  costs.




            Thus, the total amount which is awarded under the head of  ‘loss
      of future income’ including the 50% increment in the future, works out
      to be          [pic] 17,90,100/-  [([pic]65,00/- x 85/100 +  50/100  x
      85/100 x [pic]6,500/-) x 12 x 18].
Further, along with compensation  under  conventional  heads,  the
      appellant/claimant is also entitled to the cost of litigation  as  per
      the legal principle laid down by this Court  in  the  case  of  Balram
      Prasad v. Kunal Saha[5]. Therefore, under this head, we find  it  just
      and proper to allow [pic]25,000/- =


On the matter of extent of contribution to the  accident,  it  is
      held by the Tribunal that the appellants/claimants herein should  have
      taken utmost care while moving on the highway. 
Looking at the spot  of
      the accident, the Tribunal  concluded  that  the  appellants/claimants
      were moving on the middle of the  road  which  led  to  the  accident.
      
Therefore, the Tribunal concluded that though  the  tractor  has  been
      charge sheeted under sections 279 and 338 of IPC, but given the  facts
      and  circumstances  of  the  case,   the   appellants/claimants   also
      contributed to the accident to the  extent  of  25%.  
The  High  Court
      without assigning any  reason  concurred  with  the  findings  of  the
      Tribunal with respect to contributory negligence. 
We find it pertinent
      to observe that both the Tribunal and the High Court erred in  holding
      the appellants/ claimants in these  appeals  liable  for  contributory
      negligence. 
The Tribunal arrived at the above conclusion only  on  the
      basis of the fact that the accident took place in the  middle  of  the
      road in the absence of any evidence to prove the same.  
Therefore,  we
      are inclined to hold that the contribution of the appellants/claimants
      in the accident is not proved by the respondents by producing evidence
      and therefore, the finding  of  the  Tribunal  regarding  contributory
      negligence, which has been upheld by the High Court, is set aside.


      29. The appeals are allowed  accordingly.  
The  appellant/claimant  in
      Civil Appeal @  MFA  1131/2011  (MVC  No.  149/  2010)  is  awarded  a
      compensation of amount at [pic]21,65,100/-. 
The appellant/claimant  in
      Civil  Appeal  @  MFA  1132/2011  (MVC  No.  147/2010)  is  awarded  a
      compensation of amount at [pic]9,77,100/-. 
The  appellant/claimant  in
      Civil  Appeal  @  MFA  1133/2011  (MVC  No.  148/2010)  is  awarded  a
      compensation    of    amount    at    [pic]15,67,000/-.    
All     the
      appellants/claimants are entitled to  interest @ 9% per annum from the
      date of application till the date of payment.


      30. The name of the erstwhile first respondent has been  deleted  from
      the array of parties by  Order  of  this  Court  dated  1.7.2013.  
The
      Insurance Company remains the sole respondent in this case. 
Therefore,
      we direct the Insurance Company to deposit 50% of the  awarded  amount
      with proportionate interest within four weeks from the date of receipt
      of a copy of this order, after deducting the amount if  already  paid,
      in any of the Nationalized Bank of the choice of the appellants for  a
      period of 3 years. 
During the said period, if they want to withdraw  a
      portion or entire deposited amount for their  personal  or  any  other
      expenses, including development of  their  asset,  then  they  are  at
      liberty to file application before the Tribunal  for  release  of  the
      deposited amount, which may be considered by it and  pass  appropriate
      order in this regard.


           The rest of 50% amount awarded with proportionate interest shall
      be paid to the appellants/claimants by way of a  demand  draft  within
      four weeks. The  Insurance  Company  is  further  directed  to  submit
      compliance   report   before   this   court   within    five    weeks.

2014 ( January - Vol - 1-D.B.) Judis.nic.in/ S.C./ file name  =41153

                                                     NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                      CIVIL APPEAL NOS.662-664 OF 2014
             (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO(s). 16739-16741 OF 2012)

SYED SADIQ ETC.                               …APPELLANTS

                                     Vs.

DIVISIONAL MANAGER, UNITED INDIA INS. CO.    … RESPONDENT


                               J U D G M E N T


      V. Gopala Gowda, J.




            Leave granted.




      2.     This  appeal  is  filed  by  the  appellants  questioning   the
      correctness of the common judgment and final  order  dated  31.10.2011
      passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in M.F.A. No.  1131
      of 2011 [MV], C/W M.F.A. Nos. 1132  and  1133  of  2011  [MV],  urging
      various facts and legal contentions in justification of their claim.
      3.    Necessary relevant facts are stated hereunder to appreciate  the
      case of the appellants and also to find out whether the appellants are
      entitled for the relief as prayed in these appeals.


           On 14.8.2008, all the three appellants/ claimants in the appeals
      herein were proceeding on the left side of the  road  by  pushing  the
      motorcycle bearing Registration no. KA-16-2404 since it was punctured.
      When the appellants/  claimants  came  near  the  Coper  Petrol  Bunk,
      opposite to Jai Hind Hotel, a  tractor  bearing  no  KA-16/T-8219-8220
      came from the opposite  direction  on  its  right  side  in  rash  and
      negligent  manner  and  dashed  into   the   motor   cycle   and   the
      appellants/claimants. This resulted in  all  the  appellants/claimants
      sustaining grievous injuries.


      4.  They filed MV Case Nos. 149, 147  and  148  of  2010  respectively
      before the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal, Chitradurga (for short  ‘the
      Tribunal’).  The  Tribunal  awarded  different  awards  in  the  three
      different appeals which had been heard together by the High  Court  of
      Karnataka. Since the injuries suffered by  the  three  appellants  are
      different, we are inclined to decide upon the appeals individually. As
      far as injuries sustained by the appellants in the road  accident  are
      concerned, there is no dispute that  the  accident  occurred        on
      14.02.2008 due to the rash and  negligent  driving   of  the  tractor-
      trailer bearing registration             No. KA-16/T-8219-8220 by  its
      driver. The appeals therefore, are confined to determining 
whether the
      quantum of compensation which was enhanced by the High Court from that
      of the Tribunal is just and proper  or  whether  it  requires  further
      enhancement in the interest of justice. 
We take up the appeals one  at
      a time.
      Civil Appeal @ MFA 1131/2011 (MVC No. 149/ 2010)
      5. It is evident from the material  and  legal  evidence  produced  on
      record that the appellant/  claimant  in  this  appeal  had  sustained
      injuries to lower end of right femur and his right leg was  amputated.
      Further, he had sustained injury over his left upper arm. The injuries
      sustained by him and the treatment taken by him are evident  from  the
      wound  certificate  Ex.  P-6,  discharge  cards  Ex.P-7&8,  disability
      certificate Ex. P-12, X-ray films Ex.P-218 and was  further  supported
      by oral evidence of the appellant/claimant and the doctor examined  as
      PW-1 and PW-4 respectively. PW-4 Dr. Rajesh had stated in his evidence
      that the appellant/claimant had suffered disability of  24%  to  upper
      limb and 85% to lower limb. The Tribunal, however, had considered  the
      disability of the appellant/claimant caused to whole body at 30%.  
The
      High Court however, taking into consideration the  amputation  of  the
      right leg of the appellant/claimant, determined the disability at  65%
      without assigning any proper reason for  coming  to  this  conclusion.
      Therefore, we intend to assign our reasons to hold that the High Court
      has erred in concluding the disability at 65%.


      6. This Court in the case of Mohan Soni v. Ram Avtar Tomar &  Ors.[1],
      has elaborately discussed upon the factors which determine the loss of
      income of the claimant more objectively. The relevant paragraph  reads
      as under:
           “11. In a more recent decision in Raj Kumar v.  Ajay  Kumar  and
           another, (2011) 1 SCC 343, this Court considered in great detail
           the correlation between the physical disability suffered  in  an
           accident and the loss of earning capacity resulting from it.  In
           paragraphs 10, 11 and 13 of the  judgment  in  Raj  Kumar,  this
           Court made the following observations:


              10. Where the claimant suffers  a  permanent disability as  a
              result of injuries, the assessment of compensation under  the
              head of loss of future earnings would depend upon the  effect
              and  impact  of  such  permanent disability on  his   earning
              capacity.
The Tribunal  should  not  mechanically  apply  the
              percentage  of  permanent disability as  the  percentage   of
              economic loss or loss of earning capacity.  In  most  of  the
              cases,  the  percentage  of  economic  loss,  that  is,   the
              percentage of  loss  of  earning  capacity,  arising  from  a
              permanent disability will be different from the percentage of
              permanent disability.
Some Tribunals wrongly assume  that  in
              all cases, a  particular  extent  (percentage)  of  permanent
              disability would result in a corresponding  loss  of  earning
              capacity, and consequently, if the evidence produced show 45%
              as the permanent disability, will hold that there is 45% loss
              of future earning capacity.
In most of  the  cases,  equating
              the extent (percentage) of loss of earning  capacity  to  the
              extent (percentage) of  permanent disability will  result  in
              award of either too low or too high a compensation.
              11. What requires to be  assessed  by  the  Tribunal  is  the
              effect of the permanent disability on the earning capacity of
              the injured; and after assessing the loss of earning capacity
              in terms of  a  percentage  of  the  income,  it  has  to  be
              quantified in terms of money, to arrive at the future loss of
              earnings (by applying the standard multiplier method used  to
              determine loss of dependency).
We may however  note  that  in
              some cases, on appreciation of evidence and  assessment,  the
              Tribunal may find that the  percentage  of  loss  of  earning
              capacity  as  a  result  of   the   permanent disability   is
              approximately    the    same    as    the    percentage    of
              permanent disability in which case, of course,  the  Tribunal
              will  adopt  the  said  percentage   for   determination   of
              compensation. (See for example, the decisions of  this  Court
              in Arvind Kumar Mishra v. New India Assurance  Company  Ltd.
              (2010) 10 SCC 254 and  Yadava  Kumar  v.  National  Insurance
              Company Ltd. (2010) 10 SCC 341).


              13.    Ascertainment     of     the     effect     of     the
              permanent disability on the actual earning capacity  involves
              three  steps.
The  Tribunal  has  to  first  ascertain  what
              activities the claimant  could  carry  on  in  spite  of  the
              permanent disability and what he could not do as a result  of
              the permanent disability (this is also relevant for  awarding
              compensation under the head of loss of  amenities  of  life).
              
The second step is to ascertain his avocation, profession and
              nature of work before the accident,  as  also  his  age.  
The
              third step is to find out whether (i) the claimant is totally
              disabled from earning any kind of livelihood, or (ii) whether
              in spite of  the  permanent disability,  the  claimant  could
              still effectively carry  on  the  activities  and  functions,
              which he was earlier carrying on, or  (iii)  whether  he  was
              prevented  or  restricted  from  discharging   his   previous
              activities and functions, but could carry on  some  other  or
              lesser scale of activities and functions so that he continues
              to earn or can continue to earn his livelihood.”


      7. Further,
the appellant claims that he was working  as  a  vegetable
      vendor. 
It is true that a vegetable vendor might not require  mobility
      to the extent that he sells vegetables  at  one  place.  
However,  the
      occupation of vegetable vending is not confined to selling  vegetables
      from a particular location. 
It rather  involves  procuring  vegetables
      from the whole-sale market or the farmers and then selling it  off  in
      the retail market. 
This often involves selling vegetables in the  cart
      which requires 100% mobility. 
But even by conservative approach, if we
      presume that the vegetable vending by the appellant/claimant  involved
      selling  vegetables  from  one  place,  the  claimant  would   require
      assistance with his mobility in  bringing  vegetables  to  the  market
      place which otherwise would be extremely difficult for  him   with  an
      amputated leg. 
We are required to  be  sensitive  while  dealing  with
      manual labour cases where loss of limb is often equivalent to loss  of
      livelihood. 
Yet, considering  that  the  appellant/claimant  is  still
      capable to fend for his livelihood once he is brought  in  the  market
      place, we determine the disability at 85% to  determine  the  loss  of
      income.


      8. The appellant/claimant in his appeal further claimed  that  he  had
      been earning [pic]10,000/- p.m. by doing vegetable vending  work.  The
      High Court however, considered the loss of income at [pic]3500/-  p.m.
      considering  that  the  claimant  did  not  produce  any  document  to
      establish his loss of income.
It  is  difficult  for  us  to  convince
      ourselves as to how a labour involved in an unorganized  sector  doing
      his own business is expected to produce documents to prove his monthly
      income.
In this regard, this Court, in the case  of  Ramchandrappa  v.
      Manager, Royal Sundaram  Alliance  Company  Limited[2],  has  held  as
      under:
             “13. In the instant  case,  it  is  not  in  dispute  that  the
             Appellant was aged about 35 years and was working as  a  Coolie
             and was earning [pic]4500/- per month at the time of  accident.
             This claim is reduced by the Tribunal to a  sum  of [pic]3000/-
             only on the assumption that wages of the  labourer  during  the
             relevant period viz. in the year 2004, was [pic]100/- per  day.
             This assumption in our view has no basis. Before the  Tribunal,
             though Insurance Company was  served,  it  did  not  choose  to
             appear before the Court nor did it repudiated the claim of  the
             claimant. 
Therefore, there was no reason for  the  Tribunal  to
             have reduced the claim  of  the  claimant  and  determined  the
             monthly  earning  a  sum  of [pic]3000/-  p.m.  
Secondly,   the
             Appellant was working as a  Coolie  and  therefore,  we  cannot
             expect him to produce any documentary evidence to  substantiate
             his claim. 
In the absence of any other evidence contrary to the
             claim made by the claimant, in our view, in the  facts  of  the
             present case, the Tribunal should have accepted  the  claim  of
             the claimant.


             14.  We  hasten  to  add  that  in  all  cases   and   in   all
             circumstances, the Tribunal need not accept the  claim  of  the
             claimant in the absence of supporting material. It  depends  on
             the facts of each case. In a given case, if the claim  made  is
             so exorbitant or if  the  claim  made  is  contrary  to  ground
             realities, the Tribunal  may  not  accept  the  claim  and  may
             proceed to determine the possible income by resorting  to  some
             guess work, which may include the ground  realities  prevailing
             at the relevant point of time. In the present  case,  Appellant
             was working as a Coolie and in  and  around  the  date  of  the
             accident, the wage of the labourer  was  between [pic]100/-  to
             [pic]150/- per day or [pic]4500/- per month. In our  view,  the
             claim was honest and bonafide  and,  therefore,  there  was  no
             reason for the Tribunal to have reduced the monthly earning  of
             the Appellant from [pic]4500/- to [pic]3000/-  per  month.  We,
             therefore,  accept  his  statement  that  his  monthly  earning
             was [pic]4500/-.”




      9.  There is no reason, in the instant case for the Tribunal  and  the
      High  Court  to  ask  for  evidence   of   monthly   income   of   the
      appellant/claimant. On the other hand, going by the present  state  of
      economy and  the  rising  prices  in  agricultural  products,  we  are
      inclined to believe that a vegetable vendor is reasonably  capable  of
      earning  [pic]6,500/- per month.


      10. Further, it is evident from the material evidence on  record  that
      the appellant/claimant was 24 years old at the time of  occurrence  of
      the accident. It is also established on record that he was earning his
      livelihood by vending vegetables. The issue regarding  calculation  of
      prospective increment of income in the future of self employed people,
      came up in Santosh Devi  v.  National  Insurance  Company  Limited[3],
      wherein this Court has held as under:
             “14. We find it extremely difficult to fathom any rationale for
             the observation made in paragraph 24 of the judgment  in  Sarla
             Verma's case that where the deceased was self-employed  or  was
             on a fixed salary without provision for annual increment, etc.,
             the Courts will usually take only the actual income at the time
             of death and a departure from this rule should be made only  in
             rare and exceptional cases involving special circumstances.  In
             our view, it will be nave  to  say  that  the  wages  or  total
             emoluments/income of a person who is self-employed  or  who  is
             employed  on  a  fixed  salary  without  provision  for  annual
             increment, etc., would remain the same throughout his life.


             15. The rise in the cost of living affects everyone across  the
             board. It does not make any distinction between rich and  poor.
             As a matter of  fact,  the  effect  of  rise  in  prices  which
             directly impacts the cost of living is minimal on the rich  and
             maximum on  those  who  are  self-employed  or  who  get  fixed
             income/emoluments.  They  are  the   worst   affected   people.
             Therefore, they put extra efforts to generate additional income
             necessary for sustaining their families.


             16. The salaries of those employed under the Central and  State
             Governments  and  their  agencies/instrumentalities  have  been
             revised from time to time to  provide  a  cushion  against  the
             rising prices and  provisions  have  been  made  for  providing
             security  to  the  families  of  the  deceased  employees.  The
             salaries  of  those  employed  in  private  sectors  have  also
             increased manifold. Till about two decades  ago,  nobody  could
             have  imagined  that  salary  of  Class  IV  employee  of   the
             Government would be in five figures  and  total  emoluments  of
             those in higher echelons of service will cross  the  figure  of
             rupees one lac.


             17. Although, the wages/income of those employed in unorganized
             sectors has not registered a corresponding increase and has not
             kept pace with the increase in the salaries of  the  Government
             employees and those employed in private sectors but  it  cannot
             be denied that there has been incremental  enhancement  in  the
             income of those who are self-employed and even those engaged on
             daily basis, monthly basis or even seasonal basis. We can  take
             judicial notice of the fact  that  with  a  view  to  meet  the
             challenges posed by high cost of living, the persons falling in
             the latter category periodically increase  the  cost  of  their
             labour. In this context, it may be useful to give an example of
             a tailor who earns his livelihood by stitching cloths.  If  the
             cost of living increases and the prices of essentials go up, it
             is but natural for him to increase the cost of his  labour.  So
             will be the cases of ordinary  skilled  and  unskilled  labour,
             like, barber, blacksmith, cobbler, mason etc.


             18.  Therefore,  we  do  not  think  that  while   making   the
             observations in the last three lines of paragraph 24  of  Sarla
             Verma's judgment,  the  Court  had  intended  to  lay  down  an
             absolute rule that there will be no addition in the income of a
             person who is self-employed or who is paid fixed wages. Rather,
             it would be reasonable to  say  that  a  person  who  is  self-
             employed or is engaged on fixed wages will also get 30 per cent
             increase in his total income over a period of time and if he  /
             she becomes victim of accident then the same  formula  deserves
             to be applied for calculating the amount of compensation.”


      Therefore, considering that the appellant/ claimant was self  employed
      and was 24 years of age, we hold that he is entitled to 50%  increment
      in the future prospect of income based upon the principle laid down in
      the Santosh Devi case (supra).


      11.  Further, regarding the use of multiplier,  it  was  held  in  the
      Sarla Verma v. DTC[4] which was upheld in Santosh Devi  case  (supra),
      as under:
             “42. We therefore hold that the multiplier to be used should be
             as mentioned in Column (4) of  the  table  above  (prepared  by
             applying Susamma Thomas, Trilok  Chandra  and  Charlie),  which
             starts with an operative multiplier of 18 (for the  age  groups
             of 15 to 20 and 21 to 25 years), reduced by one unit for  every
             five years, that is M-17 for 26 to 30 years, M-16 for 31 to  35
             years, M-15 for 36 to 40 years, M-14 for 41 to 45 years, and M-
             13 for 46 to 50 years, then reduced by two units for every five
             years, that is, M-11 for 51 to 55  years,  M-9  for  56  to  60
             years, M-7 for 61 to 65 years and M-5 for 66 to 70 years.”


      Therefore, applying the principle of Sarla Verma in the present  case,
      we hold that the High Court was correct in applying the multiplier  of
      18 and we uphold the same for the purpose for calculating  the  amount
      of compensation to which the appellant/ claimant is entitled to.


      12.  With  respect  to  the   medical   expenses   incurred   by   the
      appellant/claimant, he  has  produced  medical  bills  and  incidental
      charges bills  marked as          Exs. P-25 to P-201 and prescriptions
      at Exs. P-202 to P-217 on the basis of which the  Tribunal  awarded  a
      compensation of [pic]60,000/- under  the  head. 
 However,  considering
      that the appellant might have to change his artificial leg  from  time
      to time, we shall allot an amount of [pic]1,00,000/- under the head of
      medical cost and incidental expenses to include future medical  costs.




            Thus, the total amount which is awarded under the head of  ‘loss
      of future income’ including the 50% increment in the future, works out
      to be          [pic] 17,90,100/-  [([pic]65,00/- x 85/100 +  50/100  x
      85/100 x [pic]6,500/-) x 12 x 18].


      13. Further, along with compensation  under  conventional  heads,  the
      appellant/claimant is also entitled to the cost of litigation  as  per
      the legal principle laid down by this Court  in  the  case  of  Balram
      Prasad v. Kunal Saha[5]. Therefore, under this head, we find  it  just
      and proper to allow [pic]25,000/-


      14. Hence, the appellant/claimant  is  entitled  to  the  compensation
      under the following heads:
|Towards cost of artificial leg     |[pic]50,000/-                |
|Towards pain and suffering         |[pic]75,000/-                |
|Towards loss of marriage prospectus|[pic]50,000/-                |
|Towards loss of amenities          |[pic]75,000/-                |
|Towards medical and incidental cost|[pic]1,00,000/-              |
|Towards cost of litigation         |[pic]25,000/-                |




      15. Also, by relying upon the principle laid down by this Court in the
      case of Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Association  of  Victims  of
      Uphaar Tragedy[6], we find it just and proper to allow interest at the
      rate of 9% per annum.


      16.   Hence, the total amount of claim the appellant/claimant  becomes
      entitled to is          [pic]21,65,100/- with interest @ 9% per  annum
      from the date of application till the date of payment.


      Civil Appeal @ MFA 1132/2011 (MVC No. 147/2010)
      17. The appellant/claimant  in  this  appeal  has  sustained  type  -3
      compound fracture of right  femur,  fracture  of  tibia,  fracture  of
      middle  shaft  tibia  and  fibula.  The  injuries  sustained  and  the
      treatment taken by the appellant/claimant are evident  from  discharge
      card Ex. P-225,  photographs marked as Ex. P-227 to P-234,  disability
      certificate marked as Ex. P-236, X-ray films Ex.  P-574  supported  by
      the oral evidence of the claimant and the doctor examined as PW-3  and
      PW-4 respectively. PW-4 Dr. Rajesh had stated in his evidence that the
      appellant/ claimant has suffered from permanent disability of  69%  to
      lower limb. The High Court has taken his functional disability at 25%.
      However, while determining the disability of the  claimants  in  motor
      accidents cases, this Court might be sensitive  about  the  functional
      disability involved and the nature of the occupation, particularly, if
      the occupation involves manual labour. Therefore,  we  hold  that  the
      High Court erred in  determining  the  functional  disability  of  the
      appellant in  the  present  appeal  on  the  lower  side.  Since,  the
      appellant/claimant in the present appeal is also  a  vegetable  vendor
      like the appellant/claimant in Civil Appeal @ MFA 1131/2011,  we  take
      his monthly income at [pic]6,500/- on  average  and  for  the  reasons
      recorded in that appeal, we determine the functional disability of the
      appellant/claimant in the present appeal at 35%. Considering his  age,
      and based on the legal principle laid down by this Court in the  cases
      mentioned supra, we hold his increment on future income at 50% and the
      multiplier at  18.  Therefore,  he  is  entitled  to   [pic]7,37,100/-
      [([pic]6,500 x 35/100 + 50/100 x 35/100 x [pic]6,500) x 12 x18]  under
      the head of ‘loss of future income’.


      18. The amount awarded by the Tribunal and the High Court under  other
      conventional heads have not been disputed by the appellant/claimant by
      producing contrary evidence. Therefore, the amount awarded under those
      heads shall remain constant. Based on the reasoning given by us in the
      earlier appeal, the appellant/claimant is also entitled to the cost of
      litigation at [pic]25,000/-.


      19. Hence, the appellant/claimant is entitled  to  compensation  under
      the following heads:


      |Towards pain and suffering     |[pic]60,000/-                       |
|Towards medical and incidental |[pic]1,00,000/-                     |
|charges                        |                                    |
|Towards loss of amenities      |[pic]40,000/-                       |
|Towards future medical expenses|[pic]15,000/-                       |
|Towards cost of litigation     |[pic]25,000/-                       |


      20. Therefore, the appellant/ claimant is entitled to a total  sum  of
      [pic]9,77,100/-  with interest @ 9% per annum based on  the  principle
      laid down by this Court mentioned supra.


      Civil Appeal @ MFA 1133/2011 (MVC No. 148/2010)
      21. The appellant/claimant in this appeal has identified himself as  a
      cleaner of lorries by profession. As per the wound certificate Ex.  P-
      219,  it  has  been  established  that  the  appellant/  claimant  has
      sustained fracture on middle 1/3rd of  right  humerus  and  comminuted
      fracture at the junction of upper 1/3rd  and  middle  1/3rd  of  right
      tibia. The injuries sustained by him and the treatment taken by him is
      evident from the disability certificate marked  as  Ex.  P-221,  X-ray
      film marked as Ex. P-222 which is supported by oral  evidence  of  the
      claimant and doctor examined as PW-2 and PW-4 respectively.  PW-4  Dr.
      Rajesh has stated in his evidence that the claimant has  suffered  22%
      permanent disability to upper limb and 29% to  lower  limb.  The  High
      Court has calculated the functional disability to 13%. 
We are inclined
      to hold that the High Court has erred in ascertaining  the  functional
      disability  to  such   a   low   percentage   considering   that   the
      appellant/claimant earns his livelihood through manual labour.  
It  is
      evident from  the  material  evidence  produced  on  record  that  the
      appellant/claimant  has  suffered  from  comminuted  fracture  in  the
      accident as a result of which he will not be able to bend, stretch  or
      rotate his right hand. 
He will also not be able to lift heavy material
      which is so essential to carry  on  with  his  business  to  earn  his
      livelihood.  
Therefore,  we  are  inclined   to   observe   that   the
      appellant/claimant suffers from a functional disability to the  extent
      of 85%.


      22. Further, the appellant/claimant  has  claimed  that  he  has  been
      earning [pic]5,000/- p.m. by working as a cleaner of  the  lorry.  The
      Tribunal assessed his monthly income at [pic]3000/-. The  High  Court,
      considering his age and his profession  as  a  cleaner,  assessed  his
      income at [pic]3500/-. However, based on the Karnataka  State  Minimum
      Wages  Rule  2012-2013,  the   appellant/claimant   is   entitled   to
      [pic]4246/- per month. Since, no written record of his income could be
      produced before the Court, we take his income, as per Revised  Minimum
      Wages Rule at    [pic]4246/- rounding it off as [pic]4300/- per month.
      Further, an amount of [pic]700/- can be added as daily barter charges.
      Therefore, his monthly income amounts to [pic]5000/-.


      23. Further, considering that the appellant/ claimant was 22 years  of
      age, the multiplier applicable to his age group is 18 and  also  based
      on the legal principle laid down by this Court in  various  cases,  we
      hold that he is entitled to 50% increment in future  loss  of  income.
      Therefore,  he  is  entitled  to  an  amount  at   [pic]   13,77,000/-
      [([pic]5000 x 85/100 +  50/100 x 85/100 x Rs.5,000) x 12 x 18].


      24. It is pertinent to note  that  the  appellant/  claimant  in  this
      appeal has produced medical bills for [pic]8000/-. He was  treated  as
      an inpatient for 15 days in a private hospital. Therefore, considering
      the same, the High Court has awarded a sum of       [pic]15000/- under
      the head of medical and incidental expenses. However, considering  the
      fact that the appellant/claimant was also required to have conveyance,
      nourishment and attendant charges for proper recovery  of  health,  we
      increase the compensation under this head to  [pic]50,000/-.  Further,
      considering the fracture sustained by the appellant/claimant  and  the
      evidence produced by the doctor, another [pic]5000/-  awarded  by  the
      High Court towards future expenses is upheld by us.


      25.   Further, towards loss of amenities,  the  Tribunal  has  awarded
      [pic]10,000/-. However,  considering  the  disability  stated  by  the
      doctor and the amount of discomfort and unhappiness he has to  undergo
      in the future life, the High Court  has  awarded  [pic]20,000/-  under
      this head. We intend to observe that the amount awarded  by  the  High
      Court under this head is very meager and  inadequate  considering  the
      age and the amount of disability. Therefore, under this head, we award
      a sum of      [pic]50,000/-.


      26. Apart from this, based on the reasoning we have  already  provided
      above for the two other appellants/claimants,  the  appellant/claimant
      in this appeal, is also entitled to compensation under  the  following
      heads:
|Towards pain and suffering     |[pic]60,000/-           |
|Towards medical and incidental |[pic]50,000/-           |
|expenses                       |                        |
|Towards loss of amenities      |[pic]50,000/-           |
|Towards future expenses        |[pic]5,000/-            |
|Towards cost of litigation     |[pic]25,000/-           |


      27. Therefore, the appellant/ claimant in this appeal is entitled to a
      total amount of             [pic]15,67,000/- with an  interest  of  9%
      per annum from the date of application till the date of payment.




      Contributory Negligence




      28.  On the matter of extent of contribution to the  accident,  it  is
      held by the Tribunal that the appellants/claimants herein should  have
      taken utmost care while moving on the highway. 
Looking at the spot  of
      the accident, the Tribunal  concluded  that  the  appellants/claimants
      were moving on the middle of the  road  which  led  to  the  accident.
      
Therefore, the Tribunal concluded that though  the  tractor  has  been
      charge sheeted under sections 279 and 338 of IPC, but given the  facts
      and  circumstances  of  the  case,   the   appellants/claimants   also
      contributed to the accident to the  extent  of  25%.
The  High  Court
      without assigning any  reason  concurred  with  the  findings  of  the
      Tribunal with respect to contributory negligence.
We find it pertinent
      to observe that both the Tribunal and the High Court erred in  holding
      the appellants/ claimants in these  appeals  liable  for  contributory
      negligence.
The Tribunal arrived at the above conclusion only  on  the
      basis of the fact that the accident took place in the  middle  of  the
      road in the absence of any evidence to prove the same.  
Therefore,  we
      are inclined to hold that the contribution of the appellants/claimants
      in the accident is not proved by the respondents by producing evidence
      and therefore, the finding  of  the  Tribunal  regarding  contributory
      negligence, which has been upheld by the High Court, is set aside.


      29. The appeals are allowed  accordingly.  
The  appellant/claimant  in
      Civil Appeal @  MFA  1131/2011  (MVC  No.  149/  2010)  is  awarded  a
      compensation of amount at [pic]21,65,100/-. 
The appellant/claimant  in
      Civil  Appeal  @  MFA  1132/2011  (MVC  No.  147/2010)  is  awarded  a
      compensation of amount at [pic]9,77,100/-. 
The  appellant/claimant  in
      Civil  Appeal  @  MFA  1133/2011  (MVC  No.  148/2010)  is  awarded  a
      compensation    of    amount    at    [pic]15,67,000/-.    
All     the
      appellants/claimants are entitled to  interest @ 9% per annum from the
      date of application till the date of payment.


      30. The name of the erstwhile first respondent has been  deleted  from
      the array of parties by  Order  of  this  Court  dated  1.7.2013.
The
      Insurance Company remains the sole respondent in this case. 
Therefore,
      we direct the Insurance Company to deposit 50% of the  awarded  amount
      with proportionate interest within four weeks from the date of receipt
      of a copy of this order, after deducting the amount if  already  paid,
      in any of the Nationalized Bank of the choice of the appellants for  a
      period of 3 years. 
During the said period, if they want to withdraw  a
      portion or entire deposited amount for their  personal  or  any  other
      expenses, including development of  their  asset,  then  they  are  at
      liberty to file application before the Tribunal  for  release  of  the
      deposited amount, which may be considered by it and  pass  appropriate
      order in this regard.


           The rest of 50% amount awarded with proportionate interest shall
      be paid to the appellants/claimants by way of a  demand  draft  within
      four weeks. The  Insurance  Company  is  further  directed  to  submit
      compliance   report   before   this   court   within    five    weeks.


                         ………………………………………………………………………J.
                                   [SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA]



                                        ………………………………………………………………………J.
                                    [V. GOPALA GOWDA]


      New Delhi,
      January 16, 2014


      -----------------------
[1]    (2012) 2 SCC 267
[2]    (2011) 13 SCC 236
[3]    (2012) 6 SCC 421
[4]    (2009) 6 SCC 121
[5]    Civil Appeal no. 2867 of 2012.
[6]    AIR 2012 SC 100

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