Allahabad High Court: Rajnish Kumar, J. while allowing the instant appeal ordered for enhanced compensation to the appellant/claimant.
In the instant case, the appellant/claimant filed a claim petition after his son died in a motor accident.
The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal/Additional District Judge allowed the above claim petition and awarded Rs 55,000 as compensation along with interest at the rate of 8% per annum, out of which Rs 27,500 for the appellant/claimant and Rs 27,500 to his wife, i.e., the mother of the deceased.
Aggrieved by the compensation, this instant first appeal was filed.
Counsel for the appellant, M. Saeed submitted that the deceased was young and studied in Class VIII l. He was a bright student. There are six dependants in the family. If he would have been alive, he would have earned a lot and helped the appellant in maintaining all. But, the Tribunal wrongly and illegally assessed the notional income of the deceased as Rs 15,000 which should have been higher in view of Kishan Gopal v. Lala, (2014) 1 SCC 244. He further submitted that the multiplier of 5 should have been applied to the age of the father, instead, it should be applied to the age of the deceased. Lesser amount was awarded towards conventional heads, namely loss of estate, loss of consortium and loss of funeral expenses, which are also liable to be enhanced.
He also relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court i.e., Reshma Kumari v. Madan Mohan, (2013) 9 SCC 65 by which a multiplier of 15 is liable to be applied in the present case.
Counsel for the respondent, R.C. Sharma submitted that the deceased was aged about 14 years, as such, he was minor at the time of death. Therefore, the notional income of Rs 15,000 has rightly been assessed and the multiplier has rightly been applied to the age of the father. Moreover, relied on two cases i.e., Khalil Ahmad v. Jitendra Bhushen Pandey, F.A.F.O. No.377 of 2001 and Om Prakash Verma v. Krishna Goel, F.A.F.O. No.285 of 2009 and submitted that the appellant is entitled only for a fixed compensation of Rs 1,50,000.
After analyzing the facts and submissions of the parties, the Court observed that the notional income of Rs 15,000 was assessed by the Tribunal as no evidence was adduced as to the income of the deceased. The case of Kishan Gopal was not applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present case because in that case the deceased was assisting the appellants in their agricultural occupation. While citing two judgments of the Supreme Court – National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi, (2017) 16 SCC 680, in paragraph 59.7 and Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mandala Yadagiri Goud, (2019) 5 SCC 554, the Court came to a conclusion that the multiplier should be applied on the age of the deceased.
But, observed one factor that in the case of Sarla Verma v. DTC, (2009) 6 SCC 121, the multiplier was provided from the age of 15. The Supreme Court in Reshma Kumar held that in cases where the age of the deceased is up to 15 years, irrespective of Section 166 or Section 163-A under which the claim for compensation has been made, a multiplier of 15 should be followed.
In view of the above, this Court held that a multiplier of 15 should be applied in the present case in place of 5. Furthermore, the court held that the appellants are entitled to Rs 15,000, Rs 40,000 and Rs 15,000 under the conventional heads in view of National Insurance Company in place of Rs 2000 and Rs 3,000. [Gaya Prasad v. K. Trivedi, 2019 SCC OnLine All 3670, decided on 01-10-2019]