WELCOME TO LEGAL WORLD

WELCOME TO LEGAL WORLD

Saturday, February 10, 2018

whether the High Court was right in applying multiplier 14 for determining compensation amount in a motor accident claim case in reference to the age of parents of the deceased whilst relying on the decision of this Court in Ashvinbhai Jayantilal Modi Vs. Ramkaran Ramchandra Sharma and Anr.1 = the appellants are justified in insisting for applying multiplier 18.- In Sarla Verma (supra), at paragraph­19 a twoJudge Bench dealt with this aspect in Step 2. To quote: “19.xxxx xxxxxx xxxx Step 2 (ascertaining the multiplier) Having regard to the age of the deceased and period of active career, the appropriate multiplier should be selected. This does not mean ascertaining the number of years he would have lived or worked out for the accident having regard to several imponderables in life and economic factors, a table of multipliers with reference to be age has been identified by this Court. The multiplier should be chosen from the said table with reference to the age of the deceased.”

1
   REPORTABLE
       
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.7176 OF 2015
Sube Singh and Anr. ….   Appellants
                       
Versus
Shyam Singh (Dead) and Ors. ….Respondents
J U D G M E N T
A.M. Khanwilkar, J.
1. The   sole   question   to   be   answered   in   this   appeal   is:
whether the High Court was right in applying multiplier 14 for
determining compensation amount in a motor accident claim
case in reference to the age of parents of the deceased whilst
relying   on   the   decision   of   this   Court   in  Ashvinbhai
Jayantilal Modi Vs. Ramkaran Ramchandra Sharma and
Anr.1
?
2. Briefly stated, in a motor accident which occurred on
22.09.2009, Ajit Singh, who was at the relevant time 23 years
of age died. His parents, who were in the age group of 40 to 45
1 2015 (2) SCC 180
2
years,   filed   a   petition   claiming   compensation.   The   Motor
Accident Claims Tribunal held that the established income of
the   deceased  was  around   Rs.4,200/­   per  month   and  after
deduction of 50% as the deceased was unmarried, calculated
the same as Rs.2,100/­ per month.   Thereafter, it applied
multiplier 15, taking the age of the “parents of the deceased”
into consideration. This was challenged by the appellants by
way of an appeal before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana
at Chandigarh, being FAO No.330 of 2012 (O&M) which was
partly allowed in relation to other heads of compensation. As
regards multiplier applied for determination of loss of future
income,   the   High   Court   held   that   multiplier   14   will   be
applicable. For that, the High Court relied on the decision of
this Court of (Two Judge Bench) in  Ashvinbhai  Jayantilal
Modi  (supra).   Resultantly,   the   appellants   have   filed   the
present appeal, questioning the correctness of the conclusion
so reached by the High Court. 
3. According to the appellants, the correct multiplier to be
applied in the facts of the present case is 18, as the deceased
3
was only 23 years of age on the date of accident. To buttress
this submission, reliance is placed on the decision in  Sarla
Verma (Smt.) and Others Vs. Delhi Transport Corporation
And Anr.2
. Reliance is also placed on the recent judgment of
this Court (Three Judge Bench) in the case of  Munna   Lal
Jain and Anr. Vs. Vipin Kumar Sharma and Ors.3
, which
has restated the legal position that multiplier should depend
on   the   age   of   the   deceased   and   not   on   the   age   of   the
dependents.
4. On the basis of the finding recorded by the Tribunal and
affirmed by the High Court, it is evident that the deceased was
23 years of age on the date of accident i.e. 22.09.2009. He was
unmarried   and   his   parents   who   filed   the   petition   for
compensation were in the age group of 40 to 45 years. The
High Court, relying on the decision in the case of Ashvinbhai
Jayantilal   Modi  (supra),   held   that   multiplier   14   will   be
applicable in the present case, keeping in mind the age of the
2 2009 (6) SCC 121
3 2015 (6) SCC 347
4
parents of the deceased. The legal position, however, is no
more  res integra.   In the case of  Munna   Lal   Jain  (supra)
decided by a three Judge Bench of this Court, it is held that
multiplier should depend on the age of the deceased and not
on the age of the dependants. We may usefully refer to the
exposition   in   paragraph   Nos.   11   and   12   of   the   reported
decision, which read thus:
“11. The remaining question is only on multiplier. The
High Court following Santosh Devi (supra), has taken 13
as the multiplier. Whether the multiplier should depend
on the age of the dependents or that of the deceased, has
been hanging fire for sometime; but that has been given a
quietus   by   another   three   Judge   Bench   decision   in
Reshma Kumar (supra). It was held that the multiplier is
to be used with reference to the age of the deceased. One
reason appears to be that there is certainty with regard
to   the   age   of   the   deceased   but   as   far   as   that   of
dependents is concerned, there will always be room for
dispute as to whether the age of the eldest or youngest or
even the average etc. is to be taken. To quote
“36.In   Sarla   Verma,   this   Court   has
endeavoured   to   simplify   the   otherwise
complex   exercise   of   assessment   of   loss   of
dependency   and   determination   of
compensation in a claim made under Section
166. It has been rightly stated in Sarla Verma
that the claimants in case of death claim for
the purposes of compensation must establish
(a)   age   of   the   deceased.   (b)   income   of   the
deceased; and (c) the number of dependents.
To   arrive   at   the   loss   of   dependency,   the
5
Tribunal   must   consider   (i)
additions/deductions to be made for arriving
at the income; (ii) the deductions to be made
towards the personal living expenses of the
deceased; and (iii) the multiplier to be applied
with reference to the age of the deceased. We
do not think it is necessary for us to revisit
the   law   on   the   point   as   we   are   in   full
agreement with the view in Sarla Verma.”
12. In   Sarla   Verma   (supra),   at   paragraph­19   a   twoJudge
Bench dealt with this aspect in Step 2. To quote:
“19.xxxx xxxxxx  xxxx 
Step 2 (ascertaining the multiplier)
Having regard to the age of the deceased and
period   of   active   career,   the   appropriate
multiplier should be selected. This does not
mean  ascertaining  the  number   of  years  he
would   have   lived   or   worked   out   for   the
accident   having   regard   to   several
imponderables in life and economic factors, a
table of multipliers with reference to be age
has   been   identified   by   this   Court.   The
multiplier   should   be   chosen   from   the   said
table   with   reference   to   the   age   of   the
deceased.”
Considering the aforementioned principle expounded in Sarla
Verma  (supra), which has been affirmed by the Constitution
Bench of this Court in National Insurance Company Ltd. Vs.
Pranay   Sethi   and   Ors.4
,  the   appellants   are   justified   in
insisting for applying  multiplier  18. 
4 AIR 2017 SC 5157
6
5.   A priori, we direct the respondents to pay compensation by
applying 18 multiplier, instead of 14 applied by the High Court.
In other words, considering the amount of annual contribution
to the deceased’s family determined at Rs.37,800/­ and applying
multiplier   18,   the   compensation   would   work   out   to
Rs.6,80,400/­ (Rupees six lakh eighty thousand four hundred
only), instead of Rs. 5,29,200/­ determined by the High Court.
The amount of compensation under other heads determined by
the High Court in paragraph 5 of the impugned judgment would
remain undisturbed. The rate of interest is, however, modified to
9% (nine percent) per annum instead of 6% per annum granted
by the Tribunal and High Court. The order passed by the High
Court stands modified to the aforementioned extent.
6.     Accordingly, the appeal is allowed in the aforementioned
terms with no order as to costs. 
.………………………….CJI.
        (Dipak Misra)
…………………………..….J.
               (A.M. Khanwilkar)
…………………………..….J.
       (Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud)
New Delhi;
February 09, 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.