Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding appeals against order passed by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (“Tribunal”), a bench of H.S. Madaan, J., held that an unmarried daughter of the deceased being financially dependent on her parents and hence, entitled for compensation under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (“the Act”).
In the case at hand, a petition under section 166 of the Act was filed in Tribunal by the dependents of the deceased who died in a motor vehicle accident. The Tribunal granted compensation to the widow and a minor son of the deceased. However, the Tribunal held that an unmarried daughter and a major son of the deceased are not entitled to compensation. In the present appeal the claimants challenged the compensation before the High Court.
The Court noted that it is generally observed that an unmarried 21 years old daughter is financially dependent upon her parents and rather father in most cases, for meeting her basis needs. Most girls in that age group are usually students and after completion of studies, they are to be married off by the parents bearing the necessary expenses. There is nothing on record to show that she was engaged in any avocation or has any source of income. Therefore, she should be considered as a dependent family member of the deceased.
The Court further stated that,
“Section 166 of the Act is a piece of welfare legislation. It was enacted by Parliament to provide relief to the persons who suffered injuries in the motor vehicular accident as well as to the legal representatives of the victims, who unfortunately lost their lives in such mishaps. Strict rules of evidence and procedure are not applicable there.”
Hence, the Court held unmarried daughter is entitled for the compensation.
[Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. v. Raj Rani, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 3673, decided on 29-11-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
R.C. Gupta, Advocate, Counsel for the Appellant;
Ekta Thakur, Advocate, Counsel for the Respondent.