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Thursday, March 16, 2017

M.V.Act - It was also held in Rajesh (supra) that in case, the deceased is above the age of 50 years, the enhancement of 15 per cent was to be given towards loss of future prospects. Close to Rajesh (supra), there was another decision of this Court, again of the strength of three Judges, in Reshma Kumari and others v. Madan Mohan and another[3], rendered on 02.04.2013. While Rajesh (supra) went a step ahead of Sarla Verma (supra) in awarding 15 per cent enhancement towards loss of future prospects, the decision in Reshma Kumari (supra) reaffirmed the principles laid down in Sarla Verma (supra) which declined any addition towards future prospects after the age of 50 years. It may be noted that there was no reference of Reshma Kumari (supra) in Rajesh (supra), apparently, since the said judgment had not been reported by the time Rajesh (supra) was rendered. On 02.07.2014, a two-Judge Bench of this Court in National Insurance Company Limited v. Pushpa and others[4], taking note of the conflicting positions as far as addition of future prospects after the age of 50 years, in Reshma Kumari (supra) and Rajesh (supra), has made a Reference of this aspect to a larger Bench. We are informed that the Reference is still pending. Under the above circumstances, we are inclined to pass an interim Order on compensation as far as the undisputed areas are concerned and then post this petition after the Reference is answered by the larger Bench. Therefore, by way of an interim measure, it is ordered that the petitioners shall be entitled to enhancement of compensation by fixing the multiplier as “11”. The widow shall be entitled for loss of consortium to the tune of Rs.1,00,000/- and the children together are entitled to compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- towards loss of love, care, guidance and protection. The compensation shall carry interest at the rate of 9 per cent from the date of filing of the claim petition. The Insurance Company shall re-work the compensation as above and deposit the amount with the Tribunal within three weeks. On such deposit, it will be open to the claimants to withdraw the same. As far as enhancement under the head “future prospects”, post this petition after the Reference is answered by the larger Bench.



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA



                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION



               SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1636 OF 2016


BHOGIREDDI VARALAKSHMI AND OTHERS  ...  PETITIONERS (S)


                                   VERSUS

MANI MUTHUPANDI AND OTHERS                 ... RESPONDENT (S)


                                O  R  D  E  R



Aggrieved by the inadequacy of compensation awarded by  the  Motor  Accident
Claims  Tribunal  (for  short  ‘the  Tribunal’)  and  the  High  Court,  the
petitioners have filed this Special Leave Petition. Taking note of the  fact
that the deceased was aged  52  years,  the  Tribunal  in  the  award  dated
22.10.2008, declined to grant any  addition  for  future  prospects  in  the
salary and adopted the multiplier as “6.31”. An amount  of  Rs.15,000/-  was
granted towards loss of  consortium  to  the  wife  and  Rs.2,500/-  towards
funeral expenses. The compensation amount was to carry interest at the  rate
of 7.5 per cent per annum.
The claimants/petitioners, not satisfied with the  compensation,  approached
the High Court.
As per the impugned Judgment dated 24.03.2015, the appeal was  disposed  of.
The learned Judge took note of the decision of this  Court  in  Sarla  Verma
(Smt.) and others v. Delhi Transport Corporation and another[1] in  adopting
the multiplier and observed that going by the said decision, the  multiplier
to be applied is “11”. However, taking note of the fact  that  the  deceased
would have retired at the age of 60 years, fixed the multiplier as  “8”.  In
the matter of consortium, it was observed that “...  deceased  died  not  in
the prime of his youth but at his middle  age”,  and  hence  the  widow  was
granted consortium of Rs.25,000/-.  No  addition  was  made  towards  future
prospects.
It is shocking and disturbing that the learned Judge declined to follow  the
principles laid down by this Court in unmistakeable  terms  in  Sarla  Verma
(supra) as far as multiplier is concerned. We do not want  to  say  anything
more. Therefore, in this case, the multiplier is taken as “11”.
As far as consortium is concerned,  this  Court  in  Rajesh  and  others  v.
Rajbir Singh and others[2] has held that consortium  is  the  right  of  the
spouse to the company,  care,  help,  comfort,  guidance,  society,  solace,
affection and sexual relations with his or her mate. It  was  also  held  in
the  above  case  that  the  children  are  also  entitled  for   award   of
compensation for loss of love, care and  guidance.  This  emotional  element
has nothing to do with the expected life span. Having observed that  it  was
time to revisit compensation granted under the conventional  heads,  it  was
held that the widow was entitled to  loss  of  consortium  to  the  tune  of
Rs.1,00,000/-. Towards loss of love, care and guidance for  minor  children,
an amount of Rs.1,00,000/- was also awarded.
It was also held in Rajesh (supra) that in case, the deceased is  above  the
age of 50 years, the enhancement of 15 per cent  was  to  be  given  towards
loss of future prospects.
Close to Rajesh (supra), there was another decision of this Court, again  of
the strength of three Judges, in Reshma Kumari and  others  v.  Madan  Mohan
and another[3], rendered on 02.04.2013.
While Rajesh (supra) went a step ahead of Sarla Verma  (supra)  in  awarding
15 per cent enhancement towards loss of future prospects,  the  decision  in
Reshma Kumari (supra) reaffirmed the principles laid  down  in  Sarla  Verma
(supra) which declined any addition towards future prospects after  the  age
of 50 years.
It may be noted that there was no reference  of  Reshma  Kumari  (supra)  in
Rajesh (supra), apparently, since the said judgment had  not  been  reported
by the time Rajesh (supra) was rendered.
On 02.07.2014, a  two-Judge  Bench  of  this  Court  in  National  Insurance
Company Limited v. Pushpa and others[4],  taking  note  of  the  conflicting
positions as far as addition of future prospects after the age of 50  years,
in Reshma Kumari (supra) and Rajesh (supra),   has made a Reference of  this
aspect to a larger Bench. We  are  informed  that  the  Reference  is  still
pending.
Under the above circumstances, we are inclined to pass an interim  Order  on
compensation as far as the undisputed areas  are  concerned  and  then  post
this petition after the Reference is answered by the larger Bench.
Therefore, by way of an interim measure, it is ordered that the  petitioners
shall be entitled to enhancement of compensation by  fixing  the  multiplier
as “11”. The widow shall be entitled for loss of consortium to the  tune  of
Rs.1,00,000/- and the children together  are  entitled  to  compensation  of
Rs.1,00,000/- towards loss of  love,  care,  guidance  and  protection.  The
compensation shall carry interest at the rate of 9 per cent  from  the  date
of filing of the claim petition. The Insurance  Company  shall  re-work  the
compensation as above and deposit the amount with the Tribunal within  three
weeks. On such deposit, it will be open to the  claimants  to  withdraw  the
same.
As far as enhancement under the head “future prospects”, post this  petition
after the Reference is answered by the larger Bench.



                                                  ........................J.
                                                             (KURIAN JOSEPH)




                                                                 .……………………J.
                         (R. BANUMATHI)

New Delhi;
March 3, 2017.


-----------------------
[1]    (2009) 6 SCC 121
[2]    (2013) 9 SCC 54
[3]    (2013) 9 SCC 65
[4]    S.L.P. (Civil) No. 16735 of 2014


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       NON-REPORTABLE





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