Delhi High Court: J.R. Midha, J., while addressing a motor accidents claim application decided on the issue whether it would be fair to deny compensation for loss of dependency to a parent, who may not be dependent on his/her child at the time of accident per se but would become dependent at his/her later age?
In the instant application, the appellants challenged the award of the Claims Tribunal and sought enhancement of the award amount.
The deceased was aged 23 years at the time of the accident and was survived by his parents who claimed compensation. Deceased was self-employed as a Contractor earning Rs 55,000 to Rs 60,000 per month.
Claims Tribunal held that since the deceased’s father was working with the Delhi Police as Sub-Inspector, hence was not dependent upon the deceased. Also, the deceased’s mother could not be said to be dependent upon the deceased as her husband was employed with the Delhi Police.
Therefore the Claim Tribunal had concluded that the deceased’s parents were not entitled to compensation for loss of dependency but only to compensation for loss of the estate in terms of the principles laid down in Keith Rowe v. Prashant Sagar, 2011 ACJ 1734.
Analysis, Decision and Law
- Whether the mother of the deceased is entitled to compensation for the death of her son?
Court opined that the parents of the deceased were considered in law as dependent on their children, considering that the children are bound to support their parents in their old age, when the parents would be unable to maintain themselves and the law imposes a responsibility on the children to maintain their parents.
Further, the Bench added that
Even if the parents are not dependent on their children at the time of the accident, they will certainly be dependent, both financially and emotionally, upon their children at the later stage of their life, as the children were dependent upon their parents in their initial years.
With regard to loss of dependency, the Court held that it would be unfair as well as inequitable to deny compensation for loss of dependency to a parent, who may not be dependent on his/her child at the time of accident per se but would become dependent at his/her later age.
Following are legislations that recognize the legal rights of parents to be maintained by their children:
♦ Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
♦ Section 20 of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, and Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
Bench referred to the following decisions:
Vijaya Manohar Arbat v. Kashirao Rajaram Sawai, (1987) 2 SCC 278.
In Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Nanu Ram, (2018) 18 SCC 130 Supreme Court had reaffirmed the with respect to the rights of parents to compensation in case of accidental death of a child.
Mahendrakumar Ramrao Gaikwad v. Gulabbai Ramrao Gaikwad, 2001 CriLJ 2111
In Sarla Verma v. D.T.C., (2009) 6 SCC 121, the Supreme Court held that the mother of the deceased bachelor is entitled to compensation by taking 50% of his income as loss of dependency on the premise that the deceased would not contribute more than 50% to his mother after marriage. The Supreme Court further observed that the mother would be considered as a dependent even if the father was employed and earning.
In light of the above decisions, the High Court held that the parents of the deceased child are considered as dependents for computation of compensation. Further, the Bench also highlighted that the principles relating to the loss to the estate shall apply only to claimants other than parents, children and spouse.
Hence, the deceased’s mother in the instant case is entitled to compensation for loss of dependency.
Taking the income of the deceased as Rs 4,131 per month, adding 40% towards future prospects, deducting 50% towards personal expenses and applying the multiplier of 18, the loss of dependency is computed as Rs 6,24,607.20.
Court directed the appellant 1 to remain present in Court before the next date of hearing along with the passbook of her savings bank account near the place of her residence as well as PAN card and Aadhaar card.
Appellant 1 shall produce the original passbook of her individual savings bank account with the necessary endorsement on the next date of hearing. However, the bank concerned shall permit appellant 1 to withdraw money from her savings bank account by means of a withdrawal form.
While concluding in light of the above-stated, Court asked for the copy of this Judgment to be sent to Delhi Judicial Academy to sensitize the Claims Tribunals about the principles laid down by this Court in the present Judgment. [Indrawati v. Ranbir Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 114, decided on 08-01-2021]
Advocates for the parties:
For the Appellants: Santosh Kumar Chauriha, Advocate
For the Respondents: Atul Nigam, Advocate along with Anubhav Tyagi and Randhir Kumar, Advocates for R-3