Allahabad High Court: Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker, J., modified the sum of the award granted to a widow by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
The instant appeal was filed challenging the judgment and award passed by the Additional District Judge wherein the sum of Rs 70,000 with an interest of rate 7% was awarded.
The deceased was 62 years of age at the time of the accident. The claimant was the sole surviving legal heir of the deceased. Further, it was added that the deceased was a retired railway employee and was getting pension.
In view of the above circumstances, the pension was halved and the widow was getting Rs 14,000 which shows that she lost Rs 14,000 because of the sad demise of her husband.
MACT awarded a sum of Rs 70,000 while relying on the decision of Supreme Court in National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi, (2017) 16 SCC 680 holding that there was no loss of income.
Further tribunal held that claimant was the legal heir and legal representative of the deceased, the deceased was 62 years of age whose income was shown to be Rs 30,000 per month but no document was produced, hence tribunal did not believe the income to the deceased to be Rs 30,000.
Tribunal also added to its observation that the deceased had been receiving the pension of Rs 28,000 and after his death, family pension of Rs 14,000 is being received by the claimant herself.
Therefore, as the deceased was getting Rs 28,000/- approx as a pension, 50% of the same he would be spending on himself and, therefore, Rs 14,000 would be the monthly datum figure available to the widow.
Can the claimant a widow who receives family pension be deprived of compensation is the main question which arises for consideration. If the answer to it is in the negative, what compensation is she entitled to?
Bench stated that, Tribunal ought to have considered the fact that had her husband survived, she would have got a sum of Rs 28,000 per month which has now been halved. Court stated that the multiplier applicable would be ‘7’ as the deceased was in the age bracket of 61-65 years in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Sarla Verma v. Delhi Transport Corporation, (2009) 6 SCC 121 which has been not considered by the Tribunal and has given reasonings which can be said to be questionable.
Further, relying on the decision of this Court in Regional Manager, UPSRTC v. Nisha Dubey, First Appeal from Order No. 3154 of 2013, no deduction from the pension is allowed.
In view of the above, total compensation of Rs 4,97,000 would be granted.
As far as the issue of rate of interest is concerned, it should be 7.5% in view of the latest decision of the Supreme Court in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mannat Johal, (2019) 15 SCC 260.
The claimant is the widow of a railway officer and, therefore, she is not illiterate, hence, all the amount need not be invested but shall be transferred to her account.
In view of the above, the appeal was partly allowed. [Subhadra Pandey v. Siddharth Agrawal, First Appeal From Order No. 1237 of 2018, decided on 07-12-2020]