Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Birendra Kumar J. allowed the appeal and enhanced the award considering the settled guidelines in the subsequent judgments to reach at “just compensation”.

The instant appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, was filed by the wife, minor daughter and parents of Late Ramavatar @ Ramgopal, a victim of motor vehicle accident happened due to rash and negligent driving of the driver of the offending vehicle. The appellants filed MAC Case No.134/2011 before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Bharatpur. By the impugned judgment and award the Tribunal awarded Rs.3, 21,600/- against claim of Rs.80, 35,000/-. Being dissatisfied with the calculation and quantum of compensation decided by the appellants, instant appeal was filed.

Counsel for the appellants Ms. Chelsi Gangwal contends that there was overwhelming unrebutted evidence of the wife of the deceased AW-1 Asha, the father of the deceased AW-2 Pradhan Singh and a businessman dealing with AC etc. who was examined as AW-3 Lalit Kumar that the deceased had monthly earning of Rs.12,000/-. However, the learned Tribunal took a pedantic approach of the matter that since no documentary proof of income of the deceased was produced, the notional income of Rs.3, 000/- per month was taken as multiplicand.

Counsel for respondent 3 put a defense that the offending vehicle was being used in violation of the terms and conditions of the policy. It was a case of contributory negligence as has been held by the Tribunal.

The Court observed that In the present case, there is no photographs of the site plan nor the author who had prepared the site plan Ex.-2 appeared before the Court. In my view, the Tribunal has committed error of appreciation of evidence and in fact, it is not a case of contributory negligence. Therefore, only for the reason that a self-earning person could not produce the document of his income, the deposition of the witnesses conversant with the income of the deceased should not have been ignored.

The Court relied on National Insurance Company Limited v. Pranay Sethi, (2017) 16 SCC 680, and observed “Section 168 of the Act deals with the concept of “just compensation” and the same has to be determined on the foundation of fairness, reasonableness and equitability on acceptable legal standard because such determination can never be in arithmetical exactitude. It can never be perfect. The aim is to achieve an acceptable degree or proximity to the arithmetical precision on the basis of material brought on the record in an individual case. In a case of death, the legal heirs of the deceased cannot expect a windfall. Simultaneously, the compensation granted cannot be an apology for compensation.

The Court thus held “Thus, under the conventional head, the appellants would be entitled for Rs.1,50,000/-, the total payable compensation comes to Rs.26,71,600/- (Rupees Twenty Six lacs Seventy One Thousand and Six Hundred) The aforesaid amount minus already paid would be payable by the Insurer within three months to the claimants along with interest of 9% per annum, failing which the aforesaid interest would be payable till the realization of the whole due amount. The 1/3rd share of the minor daughter shall be deposited in some Fixed Deposit Scheme and shall be spent for education and betterment of the minor as and when occasion arises on the order of the Court only.”[Asha v. Naresh Kumar, 2022 SCC OnLine Raj 262, decided on 03-02-2022]


Appearances:

For Appellant(s) : Ms. Chelsi Gangwal for Mr. Prateek Sharma

For Respondent(s) : Mr. Ritesh Jain


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Dr Yogendra Kumar Srivastava, J., decided an issue with regard to the habeas corpus petition for custody of a minor.

Instant petition was filed to seek custody of petitioner 2 stated to be a minor of age about 5 years and 10 months by petitioner 1 who asserted to be his father.

Factual Background

It was stated that petitioner 2 was born in January 2014 and in May 2015 the mother of the corpus committed suicide at the petitioner’s home and thereafter an FIR was lodged against petitioner 1 and other family members under Section 498-A, 304-B of Penal Code, 1860 and 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and petitioner 1 was sent to jail.

Respondent 4 filed a Habeas Corpus Writ Petition and this Court, upon taking notice of the fact that the father of the corpus and other family members were in jail, passed an order granting custody of the minor child to the maternal grandfather, who was respondent 4 in the present case.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court opined that lower courts were duty-bound to consider the allegations against the respondent and pendency of criminal case for an offence punishable under Section 498-A IPC.

Further, the Court added that the court of law should consider the matter with regard to the “character” of the proposed guardian.

Thus, a complaint against the father alleging and attributing the death of mother, and a case under Section 498-A IPC is indeed a relevant factor and a court of law must address the said circumstance while deciding the custody of the minor in favour of such a person.

In the case of Kirtikumar Maheshankar Joshi v. Pradipkumar Karunashanker Joshi, (1992) 3 SCC 573, where in almost similar circumstances the father was facing a charge under Section 498-A IPC, it was held that though the father being a natural guardian, has a preferential right to the custody of the children, but in the facts and circumstances of the case, it would not be in the interest of children to hand over their custody to the father.

In Rachit Pandey (minor) v. State of U.P., Habeas Corpus Writ Petition No. 193 of 2020 this Court held that in an application seeking a writ of habeas corpus for custody of a minor child, the principal consideration for the Court would be to ascertain whether the custody of the child can be said to be unlawful and illegal and whether the welfare of the child requires that the present custody should be changed and the child should be handed over in the care and custody of someone else other than in whose custody the child presently is. It was held that the prerogative writ of habeas corpus, is in the nature of the extraordinary remedy, which may not be used to examine the question of custody of a child except wherein the circumstances of a particular case, it can be held that the custody of the minor is illegal or unlawful.

Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioners did not point out as to how, the custody of petitioner 2 with his maternal grandfather can be said to be illegal or unlawful so as to persuade this Court to exercise its extraordinary prerogative jurisdiction for issuing a writ of habeas corpus. He has also not disputed that any rights with regard to guardianship or custody are to be agitated before the appropriate forum.

Therefore, the petition was dismissed. [Awanish Pandey v. State of U.P., 2021 SCC OnLine All 751, decided on 27-9-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Counsel for Petitioner: Sanjay Mani Tripathi, Adeel Ahmad Khan, Na

Counsel for Respondent: G.A., Anupama Tripathi, Rakesh Kumar Tripathi

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: While upholding the decision of Trial Court, Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, JJ., reiterated that dying declaration of a person by itself, maybe sufficient to find the accused guilty and if the statement is reliable and credible, it does not even need corroboration.

Convict preferred the present appeal against the decision of lower court arising out of an FIR registered under Sections 302, 304B, 498A, 34, 174A of Penal Code, 1860 against the four accused, namely Rohtash, Santosh, Sumit and Jitender.

Appellant Sumit – accused 3 was found guilty of commission of offence of murder under Section 302 IPC. Other accused persons were acquitted of the offence for which they were charged.

Factual Background

Deceased and her sister were married to both sons of the accused Rohtash and few days after the marriage, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in- law and the husband of the deceased started abusing and beating both the sisters and even damaged the articles given in the marriage. Later both the sisters were beaten and removed from the matrimonial house and the child aged 15-16 days was also snatched from the deceased. Though the child was given back to the mother after police intervention.

After a few days, the accused and other relatives settled the matter and took the sisters to the matrimonial home, where they were both beaten again. After a few days, while the accused Sumit was quarrelling with and beating the deceased, he poured kerosene on her, and she was set on fire. Later the neighbours doused the fire and took her to the hospital.

To the Executive Magistrate, deceased in her statement alleged that she was tortured for the demand of car and two fridges by all the accused persons and her husband had set her ablaze in the presence of other accused persons.

In view of the above-stated background,

Charges were framed against the accused persons, but they all pleaded ‘not guilty’.

Eye Witness (PW-3) sister of the deceased deposed about the incident and about the physical and mental torture to which the deceased was subjected by the accused persons.

Detailed Analysis

High Court stated that the trial court had acquitted the accused including the appellant in relation to the offence under Section 398A and 304B of the Penal Code, 1860.

In Court’s opinion, the testimony of the deceased’s sister was corroborated by the Dying Declaration of the deceased.

Supreme Court in the decision of Khushal Rao v. State of Bombay, AIR 1958 SC 22, held that the dying declaration of a person by itself, may be sufficient to find the accused guilty and if the statement is reliable and credible, it does not even need corroboration.

Bench found that the dying declaration of the deceased was very clear in the present matter.

What did she state?

She stated that yesterday i.e. 14.09.2012, in the night at about 10/10:30 P.M., her husband Sumit @ Vicky, her father in law – Rohtash, her mother in law – Santosh and brother in law – Jitender @ Tinku were all at home and her husband Sumit caught held of her hand and took her to the terrace and her husband poured kerosene oil on her and lit the matchstick in the presence of the other persons/ accused and put her on fire. Her elder sister was also on the terrace at that time, and she was shouting “bachao bachao”. However, nobody came to help her and they all went down. That is when her elder brother in law – Pradeep came to the terrace and with his help and the help of the neighbours, her brother in law Pradeep took her to the hospital. She stated that the accused used to demand dowry and harassed her for the same. They had demanded a car and two fridges in dowry and after her marriage she was being harassed for dowry. She stated that her husband – Sumit, mother in law – Santosh, father in law – Rohtash, and brother in law – Jitender @ Tinku were responsible for her condition.

Deceased’s statement on the aspect of the manner and cause of her death inspired the confidence of its voluntariness, truthfulness and correctness, and was also sufficiently corroborated by testimony of PW-3 and other evidence brought on record.

Conclusion

Hence, Trial Court’s decision was upheld as the finding of the appellant’s guilt in the commission of the offence under Section 300 IPC and was correctly convicted under Section 302 IPC.

Appeal was dismissed in view of the above decision. [Sumit v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 4551, decided on 30-9-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Appellant: Siddharth Yadav, Advocate

For the Respondent: APP for the State

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Dinesh Mehta, J., dismissed a petition which was filed aggrieved by the denial of compassionate appointment by communication dated 07-01-2020, as he had fathered a third child after the cut-off date i.e. 01-06-2002.

The petitioner’s father was working with the respondent – department and had died in harness on 29-06-2019. In the month of July, 2019 the petitioner had applied for an appointment on the compassionate ground under Rajasthan Compassionate Appointment of Dependents of Deceased Government Servant Rules, 1996 (‘Rules of 1996’).

His request for a compassionate appointment had been turned down by the respondents as the petitioner had more than two children after the cut off date (01-06-2002).

Mr Anil Vyas, counsel for the petitioner, argued that the respondents had erred in rejecting petitioner’s candidature, as the ineligibility based on number of children has not been provided in the Rules of 1996. he further added that the Rules of 1996 have an overriding effect on all other rules and thus, disqualification on account of birth of third child after the cut off date cannot be an impediment in petitioner’s way of getting an appointment under the Rules of 1996. It was further argued by Mr Vyas that the petitioner had given one of his children in adoption on 04-12-2019 and thus, the disqualification, if any, does not continue anymore.

The Court slashed down the second contention of petitioner’s child been given in adoption stating that the same had been done on 04-12-2019, concededly after the death of deceased – employee and that too after submitting an application under the Rules of 1996 and this was nothing but an attempt to overcome the disqualification/ineligibility, which was attached with the petitioner. The Court further opined that petitioner having been given one child in adoption does not obliterate or remove the disqualification. The disqualification is based on the event or incident of giving birth to a third child. It is not based on number of living/existing children on the date of submitting application.

The Court perused Rule 7 of the Rules of 1996 and firmly held that a dependent has to fulfil general conditions prescribed in the relevant service rules to be eligible for appointment and since the petitioner has given birth to a third child after the cut off date, he fails to satisfy general conditions of the Rules of 2014.

The Court dismissed the petition holding that no illegality had been committed by the respondents rejecting the petitioner’s candidature for appointment on the compassionate ground under the Rules of 1996.[Shankar Lal Meena v. State of Rajasthan,  2021 SCC OnLine Raj 583, decided on 20-07-2021]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Bibek Chaudhuri, J., expressed that, voluntary presents given at or before or after the marriage to the bride or the bridegroom, as the case may be, of a traditional nature, which are given not as a consideration for marriage but out of love, affection on regard, would not fall within the mischief of the expression ‘dowry’ made punishable under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Appellants were convicted for committing an offence under Sections 498-A and 304-B Penal Code, 1860.

It was submitted that the de facto complainant would give a gold chain to the appellants within 6 months of the marriage of his daughter Soma with Netai Ghosh (appellant 1). immediately after marriage, the appellants started abusing Soma with filthy language. The same was conveyed by the daughter to the de facto complainant and other paternal relations. Soma’s husband also physically assaulted her.

Demand of Dowry

Later, de facto complainant came to know that his daughter Soma died consuming poison and according to him Soma committed suicide failing to bear physical and mental torture on demand of dowry inflicted upon her.

Trial judge held the appellant guilty for committing offence under Section 498A and 304B of the Penal Code, 1860.

In the instant case, the marriage of Soma was solemnized only before 44 days of her unnatural death.

Analysis and Decision

In a case of cruelty and dowry death, direct evidence is hardly available, and it is the circumstantial evidence and the conduct of the accused persons to be taken into consideration.

In the present matter, it was alleged in the FIR that the mother-in-law of the deceased used to abuse the deceased with filthy language as her father failed to give a gold chain at the time of the marriage

Allegation of cruelty and unnatural death of the deceased was made by the defacto complainant only after the death of the deceased.

Further, it is significant to note that the de facto complainant did not state in the FIR as well as in course of his evidence that the accused persons demanded dowry as a consequence of marriage.

Definition of expression “dowry” contained in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 cannot be applied merely to the “demand” of money, property or valuable security made at or after the performance of marriage. 

Elaborating more on the concept of dowry, it was expressed that under Section 4 of the Act, mere demand of dowry is not sufficient to bring home the offence of an accused.

Any demand of money, property or valuable security made from the bride or her parents or other relatives by the bridegroom or his parents or other relatives or vice versa would fall within the mischief of “dowry” under the Act where such demand is not properly referable to any legally recognized claim and is relatable only to the consideration of marriage.

 It was noted that there was absolutely no evidence that prior to her death the witnesses being PW1, PW2, PW4 and PW5 and others try to settle the alleged dispute between the parties during the lifetime of Soma.

As per the evidence Soma was ill-tempered, therefore, if at any incident of quarrel broke between the appellants and Soma, her nature was not such that she would silently digest the allegations made against her.

Since trial Judge failed to consider the above circumstances while holding the accused persons guilty and prosecution failed to prove the cause of death of the deceased, High Court set aside the decision of trial court. [Netai Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 1938, decided on 21-06-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Younush Mondal, Adv.

For the State: Swapan Banerjee, Adv., Suman De, Adv.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: V.M. Deshpande, J., held that merely drinking can never be an abetment for a person to commit suicide.

The decision of Additional Sessions Judge, wherein the appellant was convicted for an offence punishable under Section 305 of the Penal Code, 1860.

It has been stated that charge was framed for the offence punishable under Section 306 IPC, appellant denied the charge. During the investigation, a suicide note was also found. During the trial, the charge was altered for the offence punishable under Section 305 IPC in view of the deceased being 16 years of age at the commission of suicide.

In the present matter, it was alleged that the appellant who was the father of deceased was a drunkard and under the influence, of liquor he used to take up quarrels with his wife and maltreat his three progeny

Question for consideration:

Whether the appellant was responsible and/or has abetted commission of suicide of deceased Pavan?

Analysis, Law and Decision

In view of the circumstances and facts of the case, Bench stated that the only difference between Section 305 and 306 of IPC is that Section 305 is a punishing section for abetting an insane or a child whereas Section 306 IPC is a punishing section for the accused who abetted any other person to commit suicide.

In the Court’s opinion, parameters for deciding the fact under Sections 305 and 306 IPC are identical.

Bench noted that the prosecution’s case was that the deceased used to prosecute his studies, there was nothing on record to show that at any point of time, the deceased was declared unsuccessful in any of his academic years.

Different persons may react differently to the same situation.

Further, the Court added that merely because the deceased by writing a note mentioning about the drinking habit of his father and committed suicide, cannot be treated as an abetment, especially when the prosecution evidence could not show that there used to be ill-treatment at the hands of the appellant under the influence of liquor to the deceased so as to drive the deceased to take the extreme step of his life.

Hence, the High Court held that the Lower Court’s Judge swayed away with the fact that the deceased boy committed suicide for an admitted position that the appellant was a drunkard.

Therefore the present appeal was allowed. [Ramrao Kisan Rathod v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 29, decided on 04-01-2020]


Advocates who appeared in the case:

S.D. Chande, Advocate for the appellant

V.A. Thakare, A.P.P. for respondent

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: S.M. Modak, J., dealt with some significant issues in a claim petition wherein a widow is earning and has prospects of remarriage.

The present matter dealt with a very interesting issue involving an appeal about the entitlement of widow to the compensation who got remarried during the pendency of petition before Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.

What is the effect of a marriage of widow on her right to claim compensation on account of the death of her husband in a vehicular accident?

Whether due to marriage, her right vanishes?

Further, the issue is whether an earning wife can be said to be dependent of her husband?

MACT did not reject the widow’s claim but allotted less share to her. Insurance company on being aggrieved with the same, came in appeal, wherein the submissions were as follows:

  • the widow was working since the beginning and she was earning separately and as such, she is not depending on the income of her deceased husband and
  • she lost her right to compensation on account of remarriage during the pendency of the petition.

Decision, Law and Analysis

Bench laid down the focus on the following issues:

a] Whether separate earnings of the widow has got any bearing on her right to claim compensation?

b] Whether remarriage of widow dis-entitles her from claiming compensation?

ISSUE OF DEPENDENCY & REMARRIAGE

Bench observed that though the tribunal had outrightly rejected the ground of remarriage, but it apportioned the amount of compensation lesser in comparison to the 2 children and mother.

While analyzing the issue, it was also stated that

The widow is certainly one of the heirs on which property of a Hindu devolves as per intestate succession. Now, it is interesting to see how the word ‘dependent’ has evolved. It has been judicially recognized that –

a] age of the deceased,

b] income of the deceased and

c] number of dependents

are 3 factors to be considered while fixing the quantum of compensation. From his earning the deceased will spend on himself and on his near relatives/dependents. So when a person dies in a vehicular accident, dependents/near relatives losses the amount contributed by the deceased towards them.

Supreme Court has laid down guidelines on how to calculate contribution to personal expenses and contribution towards dependents. It depends upon the status of the deceased (married/unmarried) and on the number of dependents.

More the number of dependents, lesser will be the contribution towards personal expenses.

Bench in view of the above discussion noted the fact that the eligibility of dependency does not come first, it comes later while arriving at the quantum of compensation. Issue of ‘legal representative’ will come first while entertaining the claim petitions.

Supreme Court in the decision of Manjuri Bera v. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., (2007) 10 SCC 643, held that even married daughter residing with husband (though not dependent on the income of the father) being legal representative is entitled to claim compensation under Section 140 (no faulty liability) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Punjab and Haryana High Court in Kartar Kaur. v. Manoj Kumar, 2014 SCC OnLine P&H 25130 held that

“Dis-entitling a woman on account of remarriage would go against the proposal of remarriage of widow after the death of the husband. Taking such drastic view would discourage the remarriage after the death of the husband.”

Similarly in National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Nidhi Goel, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 6920, it is observed that –

“accepting the proposition of Insurance Company would militate against the right of widow to remarry and it would not be in public interest or in the interest of the Society at large.”

In view of the above decisions it can be found that a consistent view has been taken by all the Courts, that remarriage does not disqualify the widow from claiming compensation.

Continuing with the above analysis, Bench added that

the tribunal should consider the situation prevailing when the cause of action arises. At the time when the accident took place, the widow is the legal representative of the deceased, certainly, she is entitled to claim compensation. What we do is to determine the amount of compensation and its apportionment amongst the eligible persons. So when a widow approaches the Tribunal, she wants to exercise her right which has become part of her estate.

Hence, the Court agreed with the consistent view taken by the Courts.

APPLICATION OF MEASURES

In accordance with Supreme Court guidelines to have uniformity in arriving at the income, it can be stated that if the deceased is having 2-3 dependents, it is presumed that he spends 1/3rd on his personal expenses. If the deceased is having 4-6 dependents, it is presumed that he spends 1⁄4th of his income on his personal expenses.

CRUCIAL ISSUE

When she is having a separate income, whether the widow can be said to be depending on the income of the deceased?

There are two aspects with respect to the above issue:

One is deciding the percentage for personal expenses and towards the contribution of dependents.

Second is the apportionment of compensation which comes later.

As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court given in various judgments, if wife is considered as one of the dependents, then there is a tendency to spend more on an individual and percentage of spending on dependents will be less. If number of dependents is more, there is tendency to spend less on an individual and spend more on dependents.

In the instant case, Court observes that both the spouses are earning. Monthly salary available of the deceased is Rs 23, 431. Where salary of widow Pushpa (for the month of January 2014) had come to Rs 40,044.

Bench expressed that, Separate earning of the widow does not relieve the deceased husband from contributing towards the expenses.

To the above observation Court added that if the evidence on the point of spending by every individual spouse could have been available, this Court might have deleted the widow from the list of dependents.

Hence the Court affirmed the percentage of distribution arrived by the tribunal.

Therefore, High Court opined that case for deleting the widow from list of dependents is not made out by the Insurance Company and remarriage will divest the widow from her right to claim compensation.

APPORTIONMENT

Mother of the deceased was also having two earning sons. It is also their responsibility, so why she shall be given 30%? In fact, more attention towards the two children of the deceased should have been paid.

High Court felt that the widow does not deserve to get Rs 4,00,000 as she was already earning and prospects of re-marriage were there. She also had received service benefits of deceased and amount of L.I.C partially.

Amount was apportioned in the following manner:

Widow Rs 2,00,000  

50% of remaining amount of Rs 40,13,000 after deducting Rs 7,00,000

Son Rs 16, 56, 500
Daughter Rs 16,56,500
Mother Rs 5,00,000

[Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pushpa Narayan Khurde, First Appeal No. 1379 of 2018, decided on 18-12-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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.

Brief facts

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.

Issue:

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]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: A Division Bench of Akil Kureshi, CJ and Arindam Lodh, J., allowed and disposed of an appeal filed aggrieved by the order of the Single Judge.

Petitioner was the second wife of a deceased government servant Nani Gopal Roy and was entitled to a family pension as her nomination was also made by the deceased government servant during his lifetime. Despite which the respondents were not giving her the pension to which she had filed a writ petition. While allowing the writ petition the Single Judge ordered the respondents to release the pension subject to the production of the survival certificate of Nani Gopal Roy and Mamata Bala Roy, the first wife of the deceased government servant. The petitioner’s grievance was that she was unable to produce those documents because of which she was not receiving her pension.

The Court while allowing and disposing of the appeal stated that the government has not shown any rule which would require the claimant of the family pension to produce the documents of the first wife, thus, that direction needs to be deleted and with respect to the document of the husband, a No-objection of all legal heirs of a deceased is not a requirement for issuance of survival certificate. Thereupon, the Court directed the petitioner to apply to the concerned Sub Divisional Magistrate for issuance of survival certificate of deceased Nani Gopal Roy and then approach the State-authorities for release of her family pension. [Maya Rani Roy v. State of Tripura, 2020 SCC OnLine Tri 62 , decided on 11-02-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: Ashutosh Kumar, J. directed the petitioner to make a representation before the municipal corporation to be considered for appointment on compassionate ground.

The petitioner was the daughter of a man who was working as Pump Khalasi with the Municipal Corporation of Munger. Her father, the employee, died on 09-10-2014. The wife of the deceased employee made an application for being considered for the compassionate appointment but no order was passed in this regard as the corporation kept on seeking directions and guidelines for providing appointment on compassionate ground. In the meantime, the petitioner, who was married to a poor person, became a widow and during the lifetime of the deceased employee, she became dependent on him. The brother of the petitioner, who was in government service, was also not affording any help to the family of the deceased employee. Sometime later, her mother also passed away.

The petitioner was absolutely dependent on her father, and therefore sought compassionate appointment in place of her deceased father.

The Court was of the opinion that since there was no other claimant for being considered for appointment on compassionate ground, it directed the petitioner to make a representation before the Municipal Commissioner, for them to consider her for being appointed on compassionate ground on any Class-IV post, subject to the scheme of such compassionate appointment which may be prevalent in the corporation. The Court directed the Municipal Commissioner of Munger to look into the case of the petitioner in the right perspective and the law which has developed with regard to grant of compassionate appointment in order to provide succour to the family of the deceased employee.[Moti Devi v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1372, decided on 07-08-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Uday U. Lalit, J. speaking for himself and Arun Mishra, J., delivered the judgment of the vacation bench holding that ‘workload’ or ‘work stress’, by itself, is not a ground to prove a charge of abetment to suicide against the employer/superior officer.

The Hon’ble bench was deciding a criminal appeal directed against the judgment of the Bombay High Court, whereby the appellant’s application under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of FIR was dismissed. The deceased was serving in the Office of Deputy Director, Education. He committed suicide. The wife of the deceased alleged that the deceased was suffering mental torture as his senior officers were getting heavy work done from him; he was called at odd hours and even on holidays; his salary for one month was not given; he was threatened that his increment would be stopped; due to work pressure, the deceased used to remain silent; she alleged that the senior officers were responsible for abetting the suicide of the deceased.

Hon’ble Bench of the Supreme Court referred to its earlier decision in Madan Mohan Singh v. State of Gujarat, (2010) 8 SCC 628, wherein it was held that there must be allegations to the effect that the accused had either instigated the deceased in some way to commit suicide or had engaged with some other person in conspiracy to do so or that the accused has in some way aided any act or illegal omission to bring about the suicide. In the instant case, the Court went through the record and did not find any such material which would show that the appellant abetted the commission of suicide. It was observed, as a superior officer, if some work was assigned by the appellant to the deceased, merely on that count, it cannot be said that there was any guilty mind or criminal intent. The exigencies of work may call for certain action on part of a superior including stopping of salary for a month. The action simplicitor could not be said to be a pointer against any such superior officer. Holding that the allegations in the FIR were inadequate and did not satisfy requirements of Section 306 IPC, the Hon’ble Court allowed the appeal and quashed the criminal case lodged against the appellant. [Vaijnath Kondiba Khandke v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 545, decided on 17-05-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: A Single Judge Bench of  S. Talapatra J., addressed a petition seeking claim under the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 by stressing upon the categories of employees constituted under the definition of ‘employee’ under Section 2(dd) of the said Act.

The deceased for whom the compensation was being claimed by the appellant was an employee working under the ‘MGNREGA’ scheme. The Appellant has claimed the compensation under Section 4 of the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 stating that her husband died in the course of the employment as he suffered from chest pain during the time he was working on the land under the ‘MGNREGA’ scheme.

The Commissioner of Employee’s Compensation further in regard to providing clarity on the point of whether the employee was entitled to claim compensation under the above-referred act observed the definition of ‘employee’ under Section 2(dd) of the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923, and in accordance to that in his opinion an employee under the scheme of ‘MGNERGA’ will not be covered under the said definition of ‘employee’ under the said Act.

Therefore, the Hon’ble Court, concluded by appreciating the submissions of the learned counsel of the parties along with no discrepancy on the submissions placed by the Commissioner of Employee’s stated that there is no material found which could cover the deceased under the definition of ‘employee’ in Section 2(dd) of the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 which lead to the dismissal of the appeal. [Rirasatnai Halam v. State of Tripura,2018 SCC OnLine Tri 115, order dated 12-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: A criminal appeal filed against the order of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court was dismissed by a Division Bench comprising of H.C. Mishra and B.B. Mangalmurti, JJ.

The appellants were accused of assaulting one Mata Sinku and causing his death. The appellants were charged under Section 302 IPC. They were convicted and sentenced of the said offence by the learned trial judge. The appellants contended that their conviction was based only on the testimonies of related witnesses, being the brother, wife and daughter of the deceased. Challenging the admissibility of such evidence, the appellants assailed the order of the trial court.

The High Court considered the submissions made on behalf of the appellants only to reject them. The Court held that the witnesses in the case, although being the brother, mother, and daughter of the deceased, were the only natural witnesses as the incident took place late at night outside their house. Further, the case of the prosecution was also supported by the brother of one of the appellants. The Court held that only because the witnesses were related to the deceased, that fact by itself does not render their evidence to be inadmissible, especially when they were the natural witnesses to the incident. Therefore, the High Court held that there was no infirmity in the order passed by the trial court. The appeals were accordingly dismissed. [Binod Sinku v. State of Jharkhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 360, dated 17-05-2018]