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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Accident claim - M.V. Act - Loss of consortium must be Rs. 1,00, 000/- and Funeral expenses must be Rs.25000/- and personal deduction not to be more than 10% of total salary - future prospects must be at 30% as deceased was at 49 years - Trial court and High court failed to notice the same and as such Apex court enhanced the compensation from Rs. 4 lakhs and odd to Rs. 6 lakhs and odd and awarded interest from the date of petition but not from the date of accident =Smt. Savita … Appellant Vs. Bindar Singh & Ors. … Respondents = 2014 (March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41338

 Accident claim - M.V. Act - Loss of consortium must be Rs. 1,00, 000/- and Funeral expenses must be Rs.25000/- and personal deduction not to be more than 10% of total salary - future prospects must be  at 30%  as deceased was at 49 years - Trial court and High court failed to notice the same and as such Apex court enhanced the compensation from Rs. 4 lakhs and odd to Rs. 6 lakhs and odd  and awarded interest from the date of petition but not from the date of accident =

The Tribunal directed the respondent  –  Oriental
Insurance Co. Ltd. – to pay a sum of [pic]4,28,000/- to the claimant.  Being
aggrieved by the quantum of compensation, this appeal has been filed by  the
appellant-claimant.=

8.    We have failed to understand why the Tribunal  as  well  as  the  High
Court lost its  sight  to  hold  that  the  victim  could  have  had  future
prospects with regard to the amounts the victim  used  to  earn  during  his
life-time? Therefore, the notional income also needs to be increased  by  at
least 30% and thereby the  claimant  is  entitled  to  get  the  benefit  of
[pic]900/- being the future prospects; the said amount should  be  added  to
the notional income of the victim. Therefore,  it  appears  that  the  total
salary  along  with  future  prospects  of  the  victim  should  have   been
calculated at [pic] 3,000/- plus [pic] 900/- amounting to [pic] 3,900/-  per
month. The total deduction on personal  expenses,  in  our  opinion,  should
have been one third of [pic] 3,900/- amounting to [pic] 1,300/-.  Therefore,
salary after deduction would  come  to  [pic]  2,600/-  and  the  multiplier
should be applied at 17, as has been done correctly by  the  Tribunal  after
taking into account the age of  the  victim.  In  this  process,  the  total
amount of compensation to be paid would be [pic] 2,600 x 17 x  12  amounting
to [pic]5,30,400/-.

9.    We modify  and  reassess  the  compensation  in  accordance  with  the
Calculation Table set out hereunder:

                              CALCULATION TABLE


|Salary (Since it is not proved        |[pic] 3,000/- per month           |
|sufficiently as per the order of the  |                                  |
|Tribunal)                             |                                  |
|Future prospects (at the rate of 30%  |[30% of [pic] 3,000 = [pic] 900/-]|
|as prayed for) (as per para 8)        |Salary is (3,000+ 900) =          |
|                                      |[pic] 3,900/-                     |
|Deduction towards personal expenses   |1/3rd  of  [pic] 3,900 = [pic]    |
|(as  per  Schedule II)                |1,300/-                           |
|Total salary after adding future      |[pic] 3,900 –  [pic] 1,300 =      |
|prospects and deducting personal      |[pic] 2,600/-                     |
|expenses                              |                                  |
|Multiplier i.e. 17 (as per Schedule II|[pic] 2,600 x 17 x 12 =           |
|and Section166)                       |[pic] 5,30,400/-                  |
|Total amount of compensation (as per  |[pic] 5,30,400/-                  |
|para 8)                               |                                  |
|Compensation under the head of “loss  |[pic] 1,00,000/-                  |
|of consortium” (as per para 7)        |                                  |
|Compensation under the head of        |[pic] 25,000/-                    |
|‘funeral expense’ (as per para 7)     |                                  |
|Grand Total                           |[pic] 6,55,400/-                  |


10.   The order of the High Court and Tribunal is modified. We  direct  that
the  claimant/appellant  is  entitled  to  a  sum  of  [pic]6,55,400/-  plus
interest @ 8 per cent per annum  from  the  date  of  filing  of  the  claim
petition till the date of payment as compensation.  Accordingly,  we  direct
that the enhanced amount should be paid to  the  appellant  after  deducting
the amount already paid, within a period of four weeks from  date.  For  the
reasons stated hereinabove, the appeal is partly allowed.    
2014 (March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41338
GYAN SUDHA MISRA, PINAKI CHANDRA GHOSE
                                                           Reportable

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO.  4001 OF 2014
                  [Arising out of S.L.P. [C] No.26135/2013]


Smt. Savita                                        … Appellant

                                     Vs.

Bindar Singh & Ors.                                     … Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T


Pinaki Chandra Ghose, J.


1.    Leave granted.

2.    This appeal is directed against the order dated April 16, 2013  passed
by the High Court of Uttrakhand affirming the award dated December  3,  2012
passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Haridwar  in  Motor  Accident
Claim Petition No.75/2011. The Tribunal directed the respondent  –  Oriental
Insurance Co. Ltd. – to pay a sum of [pic]4,28,000/- to the claimant.  Being
aggrieved by the quantum of compensation, this appeal has been filed by  the
appellant-claimant.

3.    Briefly the facts of this case are as follows:

3.1   One Sandeep Chauhan died in an accident on November 26,  2010  due  to
rash and negligent driving by the driver of  a  truck  bearing  registration
No.HR-56-6047 between Ram Nagar and Dhandhera. The claim petition was  filed
under Section 166 of the Motor  Vehicles  Act,  1988  claiming  compensation
against the respondents.

3.2   In the claim petition, the appellant/claimant asked  for  compensation
of [pic]20,20,000/- along with interest at the rate of 12%  per  annum  from
the respondents/opposite parties. The parties filed their  pleadings  before
the Tribunal and the following issues were framed:-


      “1.   Whether on dated 26.11.2010 the  motor  cycle  of  the  deceased
      Sandeep Chauhan Chasis no. MD2DSPAZZTPE51258, Engine  no.  IBVBTF91396
      Model Discover, Time: at about 10 PM at Malvia Chowk, then a driver of
      Truck bearing registration No. HR-56-6047 brought from the front  side
      with high speed and careless and hit the  motor  cycle  going  on  the
      side, due to which Sandeep Chauhan received many injuries and  due  to
      that injuries and the motor cycle was damaged and the injured  Sandeep
      Chauhan was died to while taking him to the hospital? (sic)


      2.    Whether the motor used while  accidence  was  having  insurance,
      D.L., Fitness Registration etc. and was permitted to use?(sic)


      3.    Whether the petition of the claimants is contaminated  from  the
      required facts?


      4.    Whether the claimants are entitled to compensation.  If  so,  to
      what amount and from whom?”




3.3   The Tribunal held that on  November  26,  2010,  Driver  Binder  Singh
while driving Truck No.  HR-56-6047  with  speed  and  carelessness  in  the
centre of the road, hit the motorcycle of Sandeep Chauhan, as  a  result  of
which Sandeep Chauhan was seriously injured and  subsequently  succumbed  to
his injuries. The issues were also discussed by the Tribunal  which  further
held that accidental vehicle was permitted  to  be  driven  with  legal  and
effective documents and driving licenses.

3.4   On the issue of compensation the Tribunal after  taking  into  account
all the facts and materials placed before it, came to  the  conclusion  that
since  the  claimant  could  not  prove  that  the  deceased   was   getting
[pic]7,000/- per month  as  salary  the  Tribunal  following  the  principle
enunciated in an order of the Uttarakhand High  Court,  held  that  notional
annual income of the deceased was [pic]36,000/-. The Tribunal also  followed
the  principle  laid  down  in  Smt.  Sarla  Verma   vs.   Delhi   Transport
Corporation[1] and held that one third share from  the  notional  income  of
the deceased should be  deducted  as  his  personal  expenses  to  calculate
compensation on the basis of the notional annual  income  of  the  deceased.
The Tribunal further held that the deceased’s father, mother and  wife  were
dependents on the deceased and they should be treated as dependents  of  the
deceased. The multiplier of 17 was fixed by  the  Tribunal  considering  the
age of the deceased who was 26 years of age at the  time  of  the  accident.
After  taking  into  account  all  these  aspects,  Tribunal  came  to   the
conclusion and assessed  the  compensation  amount  at  [pic]4,08,000/-  and
further granted [pic] 5,000/- for  cremation,  [pic]  5,000/-  for  loss  of
estate  and  [pic]10,000/-  for  loss  of   consortium   and   thereby   the
compensation amount was determined  at  [pic]4,28,000/-  and  also  directed
that interest to be  paid  at  the  rate  of  6%  per  annum  on  the  total
compensation amount from the date of filing of the petition  till  the  date
of decision.

3.5   Being aggrieved, an appeal was filed before the High Court.  The  High
Court dismissed the said appeal on the ground that there was  no  illegality
in the award passed by the Tribunal. Hence this appeal has been filed.

4.    We have heard the  learned  counsel  for  the  parties.  It  has  been
pointed out by the learned counsel for the appellant that the said award  is
wrong on the ground that a salary certificate has been produced  before  the
Tribunal and the Tribunal has not accepted the same without any reason.  She
further submitted that the  compensation  which  has  been  granted  by  the
Tribunal and affirmed  by  the  High  Court  does  not  include  the  future
prospects which should  have  been  added  to  the  claim  and  further  the
deduction with regard to the personal expenses  could  not  have  been  made
more than one tenth of the total salary received by the victim.  In  support
of such contention, she relied  upon  Santosh  Devi  v.  National  Insurance
Company Ltd. & Ors.[2] and further submitted  that  compensation  under  the
head ‘loss of consortium’  has  not  been  properly  assessed  by  the  said
Tribunal which has  been  assessed  by  this  Court  in  Rajesh  vs.  Rajbir
Singh[3]  and the compensation under the said head should have been  awarded
for a sum of [pic] 1,00,000/-. She further submitted that  the  compensation
under the head ‘funeral expenses’ should have been granted as [pic] 25,000/-
 and in support of her such contention, she relied upon  the  aforementioned
decisions. On the contrary, it has been stated on behalf of the  respondents
that in Sarla Verma (supra), the principles laid down  by  this  Court  have
been followed by the Tribunal and therefore there is no reason to  interfere
with the award passed by the Tribunal and the appeal dismissed by  the  High
Court.

5.    This Court in Santosh Devi (supra), held as follows:


     “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.


                 ***              ***              ***


     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.”




6.    After considering the decisions of this Court in Santosh Devi  (supra)
as well as Rajesh v. Rajbir Singh (supra), we are of the opinion that it  is
the duty of the Court to fix a just compensation.  At  the  time  of  fixing
such  compensation,  the  court  should  not  succumb  to  the  niceties  or
technicalities to grant just compensation in favour of the claimant.  It  is
the duty of the court to equate, as far as possible, the misery  on  account
of the accident with the compensation so that the injured or the  dependants
should not face the vagaries of life on account  of  discontinuance  of  the
income earned by the victim. Therefore, it will be the bounden duty  of  the
Tribunal to award just, equitable, fair and reasonable compensation  judging
the situation prevailing at  that  point  of  time  with  reference  to  the
settled principles on assessment of damages. In doing so, the  Tribunal  can
also  ignore  the  claim  made  by  the  claimant  in  the  application  for
compensation with the  prime  object  to  assess  the  award  based  on  the
principle that the award should be  just,  equitable,  fair  and  reasonable
compensation.

7.    In the instant case, it appears that the Tribunal and the  High  Court
have also failed to  consider  the  fact-situation  of  this  case,  without
taking any pragmatic view and further without  considering  the  price-index
prevailing at the moment, assessed the compensation ignoring  the  principle
laid down by this Court in the  recent  decisions  (see:  Rajesh  v.  Rajbir
Singh (supra) as also Santosh  Devi  (supra))  and  without  revisiting  the
present  situation,  came  to  the  conclusion   and   awarded   the   total
compensation for a sum of           [pic]4,28,000/-. In  our  opinion,  such
award  suffers  from  proper  assessment  of  compensation  awarded  by  the
Tribunal,  and  High  Court  on  the  conventional  heads,  i.e.,  ‘loss  of
consortium’ to the spouse, ‘future prospects of the  deceased’  and  further
the sum awarded under the head ‘funeral expenses’, cannot be said  to  be  a
just compensation. In our opinion, there should have been  an  endeavour  on
the part of the  Tribunal  as  well  as  the  High  Court  to  consider  the
inflation factor and further they should have considered the  amounts  fixed
by the court several decades ago on such heads.  Accordingly,  as  has  been
pointed out by this Court in Rajesh v. Rajbir Singh (supra),  we  hold  that
the compensation under the head ‘loss of consortium’ to the spouse, loss  of
love, care and guidance to children  and  funeral  expenses  amounts  should
have been awarded  under  such  heads,  that  is,  for  [pic]1,00,000/-  and
[pic]25,000/- respectively and we award such  compensation  under  the  said
heads. So far as the head of ‘salary’ is concerned, we do  not  express  any
opinion since we have found that the appellant could not  prove  the  salary
certificate and for such reason, we do not  intend  to  interfere  with  the
opinion expressed by the Tribunal on the established principle  of  notional
income and accordingly, we do not want to disturb the said  notional  income
while calculating the total compensation in favour of the appellant.

8.    We have failed to understand why the Tribunal  as  well  as  the  High
Court lost its  sight  to  hold  that  the  victim  could  have  had  future
prospects with regard to the amounts the victim  used  to  earn  during  his
life-time? Therefore, the notional income also needs to be increased  by  at
least 30% and thereby the  claimant  is  entitled  to  get  the  benefit  of
[pic]900/- being the future prospects; the said amount should  be  added  to
the notional income of the victim. Therefore,  it  appears  that  the  total
salary  along  with  future  prospects  of  the  victim  should  have   been
calculated at [pic] 3,000/- plus [pic] 900/- amounting to [pic] 3,900/-  per
month. The total deduction on personal  expenses,  in  our  opinion,  should
have been one third of [pic] 3,900/- amounting to [pic] 1,300/-.  Therefore,
salary after deduction would  come  to  [pic]  2,600/-  and  the  multiplier
should be applied at 17, as has been done correctly by  the  Tribunal  after
taking into account the age of  the  victim.  In  this  process,  the  total
amount of compensation to be paid would be [pic] 2,600 x 17 x  12  amounting
to [pic]5,30,400/-.

9.    We modify  and  reassess  the  compensation  in  accordance  with  the
Calculation Table set out hereunder:

                              CALCULATION TABLE


|Salary (Since it is not proved        |[pic] 3,000/- per month           |
|sufficiently as per the order of the  |                                  |
|Tribunal)                             |                                  |
|Future prospects (at the rate of 30%  |[30% of [pic] 3,000 = [pic] 900/-]|
|as prayed for) (as per para 8)        |Salary is (3,000+ 900) =          |
|                                      |[pic] 3,900/-                     |
|Deduction towards personal expenses   |1/3rd  of  [pic] 3,900 = [pic]    |
|(as  per  Schedule II)                |1,300/-                           |
|Total salary after adding future      |[pic] 3,900 –  [pic] 1,300 =      |
|prospects and deducting personal      |[pic] 2,600/-                     |
|expenses                              |                                  |
|Multiplier i.e. 17 (as per Schedule II|[pic] 2,600 x 17 x 12 =           |
|and Section166)                       |[pic] 5,30,400/-                  |
|Total amount of compensation (as per  |[pic] 5,30,400/-                  |
|para 8)                               |                                  |
|Compensation under the head of “loss  |[pic] 1,00,000/-                  |
|of consortium” (as per para 7)        |                                  |
|Compensation under the head of        |[pic] 25,000/-                    |
|‘funeral expense’ (as per para 7)     |                                  |
|Grand Total                           |[pic] 6,55,400/-                  |


10.   The order of the High Court and Tribunal is modified. We  direct  that
the  claimant/appellant  is  entitled  to  a  sum  of  [pic]6,55,400/-  plus
interest @ 8 per cent per annum  from  the  date  of  filing  of  the  claim
petition till the date of payment as compensation.  Accordingly,  we  direct
that the enhanced amount should be paid to  the  appellant  after  deducting
the amount already paid, within a period of four weeks from  date.  For  the
reasons stated hereinabove, the appeal is partly allowed.


                                             …....……………………..J.
                                             (Gyan Sudha Misra)




New Delhi;
.........…………………….J.
March 25, 2014.                                              (Pinaki
Chandra  Ghose)
















      [pic][pic][pic][pic][pic]
-----------------------
[1]    (2009) 6 SCC 121
[2]    (2012) 6 SCC 421
[3]    (2013) 9 SCC 54

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