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Friday, September 25, 2015

MV Act - Enhancement of compensation - 50% disability - entitled for compensation for Rs.4 lakhas =where the appellant has proved that he has lost his speaking power as also lost his memory retention power due to causing of head injury and further he is not able to move freely at the age of 35 years and lastly due to these injuries, he has also lost his job, we fail to appreciate as to how and on what reasons the MACT and the High Court could come to a conclusion that a compensation of Rs.4,00,000/- claimed by the appellant was on a higher side and thus reduced it to Rs.1,54,200/-. Indeed we found no reason. In our considered opinion, keeping in view of the nature of injuries sustained by the appellant, resultant permanent disabilities caused to him to the extent of 50% or 30% due to such injuries which are held proved by the appellant coupled with the amount spent by him in receiving medical treatment also duly held proved (Ex-P-1 to Ex-P-58) by him, loosing the permanent job due to injuries sustained by him, future loss of income caused as a result of the injuries and lastly the continuous mental pain and agony suffered by him, a sum of Rs.4,00,000/- claimed by the appellant by way of compensation is just and reasonable. In a case of this nature, in our opinion, the injuries sustained by the claimant-appellant herein are more painful because he has to live his remaining life with such disabilities, which he did not have before accident. This undoubtedly deprives him to live his normal life. The Courts below failed to take note of this material fact while determining the compensation, which in our opinion, calls for interference by this Court. We are not impressed by the submission urged by the counsel appearing for respondent No.1 as in our opinion in the absence of any rebuttal evidence adduced by respondent No.1 and in the light of the findings recorded by the Courts below mentioned supra, the submission is found to be devoid of any merit and it is accordingly rejected. In view of foregoing discussion, the appeals filed by the claimant succeed and are hereby allowed. Impugned order is modified in appellant- claimant’s favour by awarding a sum of Rs.4,00,000/- by way of compensation against respondent No.1-Corporation. An awarded sum, i.e. Rs.4,00,000/- (Rs. 4 lakhs) would carry interest at the rate of 6% per annum payable from the date of claim petition till realization. No costs.

    REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CIVIL APPEAL Nos. 7201-7202 OF 2015
               (ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) Nos. 36512-36513/2013)


Mithusinh Pannasinh Chauhan  …….Appellant(s)


                             VERSUS


Gujarat State Road Transport
Corporation & Anr.                      ……Respondent(s)



                               J U D G M E N T

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1.    Delay condoned. Leave granted.
2.    These appeals are directed  against  the  common  final  judgment  and
order dated 14.03.2012 passed by the High Court of Gujarat at  Ahmedabad  in
First Appeal No. 1536 of 2001 and First Appeal No. 1819 of 2001 which  arise
out of the award dated  30.05.2000  passed  by  the  Motor  Accident  Claims
Tribunal (MACT), Panchmhals at Godhra in Motor Accident Claim  Petition  No.
1071 of 1987.
3.    By impugned judgment, the High Court partly allowed the  appeal  filed
by the respondent– Corporation and reduced the compensation awarded  to  the
appellant–claimant herein by the MACT and in  consequence  directed  him  to
refund the excess awarded amount with interest at the rate of  12%  p.a.  to
the respondent-Corporation and in consequence dismissed the appeal filed  by
the appellant herein for seeking enhancement of the compensation awarded  by
the MACT.
4.    In order to appreciate  the  issue  involved  in  these  appeals,  few
relevant facts need mention infra,

5.    On 13.09.1987, when the appellant–claimant was going  on  his  bicycle
from Godhra to Popatpura, at that time,  respondent No.2,  who  was  driving
S.T. Bus No. GRU-8749 belonging to Gujarat State Road Transport  Corporation
(in short “Corporation”) came from Lunawada side and hit the appellant as  a
result of which he fell down and sustained serious injuries.  The  appellant
was taken to the hospital at Godhra  but  later  on  transferred  to  Baroda
Hospital  and  from  there  to  Civil  Hospital  at  Ahmedabad  for  further
treatment.  He sustained a serious head injury as a result of which he  lost
his memory.  Now, he  is  neither  able  to  speak  and  nor  able  to  move
properly.  He underwent medical treatment in hospital for a long  time.   At
the time of accident, he was aged about  35  years  and  was  working  as  a
Constable in SRP.  His earning was Rs.1400/- p.m.   Due to the accident  and
resultant injuries sustained,  the  appellant  unfortunately  lost  his  job
also.
6.    The appellant then filed a claim petition being Motor  Accident  Claim
Petition No. 1071 of  1987  before  the  Motor  Accident   Claims  Tribunal,
Panchmahals at Godhra under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicle Act,  1988  (In
short, “the Act) for award of compensation and claimed a sum of Rs. 4  lakhs
under various heads.  By award dated 30.05.2000,  the  MACT  partly  allowed
the appellant’s claim petition  and  held  that  accident  in  question  was
caused due  to  negligence  of  respondent  No.1  therein  (respondent  No.2
herein) that the appellant had suffered 50% disability in his  body  due  to
injuries  sustained  and  accordingly  awarded  to  him  a  total   sum   of
Rs.2,19,000/-  as  compensation  which  included   expenses   in   receiving
treatment and compensation for injuries sustained.
7.    Dissatisfied with the compensation awarded by the MACT, the  appellant
filed an appeal being F.A.  No.  1819  of  2001  for  enhancement  of  claim
awarded by the MACT whereas the  Corporation-respondent  No.1  herein  filed
F.A. No. 1536 of 2001 against that part of   the  award  which  allowed  the
claim petition in part and awarded Rs.2,19,000/- contending that it  was  on
the higher side  and hence be reduced.
8.    By the common impugned judgment, the High  Court  partly  allowed  the
appeal filed by respondent-  Corporation  and  held  that  the  claimant  is
entitled  to  Rs.1,15,200/-  towards  future  loss  of  income  instead   of
Rs.1,80,000/- awarded by the MACT and directed the claimant  to  refund  the
excess amount of Rs.64,800/- with interest at the rate of 12%  p.a.  to  the
respondent–Corporation. As a consequence, the appeal filed by the  appellant
herein for enhancement for compensation, was dismissed.
9.    Aggrieved by the judgment passed by the  High  Court,  the  appellant-
claimant has filed these appeals by way of special leave.
10.   Heard Mr. Nikhil Goel, learned counsel for the appellant and Mr.  R.P.
Bhatt, learned senior counsel for respondent-1(Corporation).
11.    Learned  counsel  for  the  appellant-claimant  while  assailing  the
legality and correctness of the  impugned  order  contended  that  the  High
Court erred in allowing  the  appeal  filed  by  the  respondent-Corporation
thereby erred in reducing the compensation awarded to the appellant  by  the
MACT and further erred in dismissing the  appellant’s  appeal.  It  was  his
submission that having regard to the nature of  the  injuries  sustained  by
the appellant in the accident and the percentage of  permanent  disabilities
caused to the appellant due to the injuries on his  body  such  as  loss  of
speech and  memory,  his  inability  to  move  freely  and  lastly  loss  of
permanent job of Constable  on  account  of  these  disabilities,  the  MACT
should have awarded Rs.4,00,000/- as claimed by the appellant in  his  claim
petition rather than awarding Rs.2,19,000/- including expenses  incurred  on
treatment. Learned counsel contended that since the  MACT  failed  to  award
Rs.4,00,000/-, the High Court  should  have  corrected  the  said  error  by
enhancing  the  compensation  amount  to  Rs.4,00,000/-  by   allowing   the
appellant's appeal and in consequence dismissing the respondent's appeal.
12.   Learned counsel pointed out that the appellant had proved  the  nature
of injuries so  also  the  resultant  disabilities  caused  to  him  due  to
sustaining of such injuries by examining Dr. Usha Goswami and also from  his
own evidence which remained rebutted for want of  any  evidence  adduced  by
the respondents and  hence  taking  into  account  the  appellant’s  monthly
salary, age 35 years,  percentage of permanent disability duly  proved  (50%
assessed by the MACT and 30% assessed by the High Court), expenses  incurred
in  receiving  long  medical  treatment  in  several  hospitals  proved   by
documents  (Ex-P-1  to  Ex-P-58),  future  loss   of   income   and   lastly
compensation payable under the  head  of   pain  and  suffering,  a  sum  of
Rs.4,00,000/- claimed by the appellant was just and reasonable  compensation
and hence it should have been awarded by the MACT or in  any  event  by  the
High Court by modifying the award of the MACT in appellant's favour.
13.   In contra, Mr.  R.P.  Bhatt,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for
respondent No.1 while supporting the impugned  judgment  contended  that  it
does not call for any interference. His submission was  that  having  regard
to the nature of injuries sustained  by  the  appellant  and  the  resultant
permanent disability caused to the appellant and the loss caused,  what  was
awarded by the MACT was on the higher side and, therefore,  it  was  rightly
reduced by the High Court by allowing the respondent's appeal.
14.   Having heard the learned counsel for the parties  and  on  perusal  of
the record of the case, we find force in the submissions of the appellant.
15.   We have examined the evidence adduced by the parties with  a  view  to
see the nature of injuries  and  the  resultant  disability  caused  to  the
appellant due to such injuries.
16.    This issue was dealt with by the High Court in Para 6 and we find  no
good ground to differ  with  this  finding  of  the  High  Court,  which  is
otherwise not under challenge.  It reads as under :
“As far as disability is concerned, Dr. Usha Goswami who  has  examined  the
claimant was Professor in Psychology Department and she is  a  head  of  the
Psychology Department in the Civil Hospital,  Ahmedabad.  She  categorically
stated that due to injury, the claimant has lost his service and he  is  not
able to speak properly and he had lost his memory and he is unable  to  move
properly outside.  However, the disability certificate was not  produced  by
the claimant before the  Tribunal.   Therefore,  in  absence  of  disability
certificate, 50% disability was assessed by the Tribunal which is on  higher
side.  It should be 30% as the claimant is not able to speak  and  lost  his
memory…..”

17.   Having rendered the aforementioned finding in appellant’s favour,  the
High Court, in  our  opinion,  should  not  have  reduced  the  compensation
awarded by the  MACT  but  it  should  have  enhanced  the  compensation  by
allowing the appellant’s appeal.
18.   In our considered opinion, in a case where the  appellant  has  proved
that he has lost his speaking power as also lost his memory retention  power
due to causing of head injury and further he is not able to move  freely  at
the age of 35 years and lastly due to these injuries, he has also  lost  his
job, we fail to appreciate as to how and on what reasons the  MACT  and  the
High Court could come to a conclusion that a compensation  of  Rs.4,00,000/-
claimed by the appellant was on  a  higher  side  and  thus  reduced  it  to
Rs.1,54,200/-.  Indeed we found no reason.
19.   In our considered opinion, keeping in view of the nature  of  injuries
sustained by the appellant, resultant permanent disabilities caused  to  him
to the extent of 50% or 30% due to such injuries which are  held  proved  by
the appellant coupled with the amount spent  by  him  in  receiving  medical
treatment also duly held proved (Ex-P-1 to  Ex-P-58)  by  him,  loosing  the
permanent job due to injuries  sustained  by  him,  future  loss  of  income
caused as a result of the injuries and lastly the  continuous   mental  pain
and agony suffered by him, a sum of Rs.4,00,000/- claimed by  the  appellant
by way of compensation is just and reasonable.
20.   In a case of this nature, in our opinion, the  injuries  sustained  by
the claimant-appellant herein are more painful because he has  to  live  his
remaining life  with  such  disabilities,  which  he  did  not  have  before
accident.  This undoubtedly deprives him  to  live  his  normal  life.   The
Courts below failed to take note of this  material  fact  while  determining
the compensation, which in our  opinion,  calls  for  interference  by  this
Court.
21.   We are not impressed by the submission urged by the counsel  appearing
for respondent No.1 as in  our  opinion  in  the  absence  of  any  rebuttal
evidence adduced by respondent  No.1  and  in  the  light  of  the  findings
recorded by the Courts below mentioned supra, the submission is found to  be
devoid of any merit and it is accordingly rejected.
22.   In view of foregoing discussion, the appeals  filed  by  the  claimant
succeed and are hereby allowed. Impugned order  is  modified  in  appellant-
claimant’s favour by awarding a sum of Rs.4,00,000/- by way of  compensation
against respondent No.1-Corporation.  An  awarded  sum,  i.e.  Rs.4,00,000/-
(Rs. 4 lakhs) would carry interest at the rate of 6% per annum payable  from
the date of claim petition till realization.  No costs.

                     ………...................................J.
                                  [J. CHELAMESWAR]


                  …...……..................................J.
                               [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
      New Delhi;
September 18, 2015.


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