Madras High Court: S.M. Subramaniam, J., while determining the compensation in the cases of accident, observed that,
“…job of Homemaker can never be compared with employee or employment and the importance and the values are also to be considered by the Courts, while assessing the compensation.”
Claimant who is the appellant has sought enhancement of compensation in the present appeal.
Claimant sought who sustained grievous injuries resulted in permanent disability. A Bus had hit the appellant/claimant when she was standing near the bus stand to catch a bus, causing her grievous injuries in the back along with other serious injuries.
Perusal of the nature of injuries revealed that the appellant/ claimant sustained not only grievous injuries but resulted in permanent disability and she is continuously taking treatment for that.
Tribunal concluded that due to the rash and negligent driving of the bus driver, the grievous injuries were caused to the appellant.
A monthly income of the appellant was fixed as Rs 4,500 ad accordingly a sum of Rs 4, 86, 000 was granted towards loss of income by the Tribunal.
Analysis & Decision
Court noted that the appellant/claimant is unable to support the family and the husband and children have to take care of her. Undoubtedly, no document has been produced to establish employment as well as the income of the appellant/claimant.
“…as a woman at home is the Homemaker and for this purpose, the fixation of income for grant of compensation, assessment can be made considering the appellant/claimant as to the Homemaker.”
It happens the claimants are advised either by the relatives, friends, or counsels to say as if they are employed and earning and in order to get compensation, the claimants are ill-advised to provide such facts before the Tribunal in their claim petitions.
In the present matter, there is no dispute between the parties that the appellant is a Homemaker with husband and children. Thus, the tribunal ought to have drawn factual inference in the absence of any material to establish employment and income.
High Court found the amount of compensation fixed to be inadequate and improper.
Bench also emphasized on the importance of “Homemakers”. Thus, the importance, value as well as the materialistic factors are to be considered, while fixing the compensation as far as the Homemakers are concerned.
Keeping in view the amount of fairness to be adopted in the cases of Homemakers, we cannot forget that the Homemakers are the Nation Builders.
If the Homemaker died, the impact would be unmeasurable and the family will become scattered. It would be very difficult to cope with the family.
Therefore, homemakers are standing on a higher pedestal than that of the earning member in a family. Thus, mitigating factors, family status, the income of the husband and other aspects are to be considered while fixing the compensation for Homemakers.
Bench stated that it has no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion that the permanent disability caused to the appellant/claimant would affect not only her family life but also a great loss to the entire family.
Tribunal has mechanically on the basis of proof for employment as well as income decided the compensation without taking the aspects in the right perspective.
Once the fact of an accident is established and the Insurance Policy Coverage is not disputed and negligence is decided, then the claimants are entitled to ‘Just Compensation’.
Enhancement of Compensation
Hence, it was held that the compensation of Rs 4,86,000 awarded by the Tribunal towards loss of income is to be modified. This apart, the compensation granted under the head of ‘Pain and Sufferings’ is also very less, which is to be enhanced as the appellant/claimant has suffered continuously, and therefore, the enhancement is to be granted to the appellant/claimant.
Total compensation of Rs 14,07,000 with an interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum is to be granted to the appellant/claimant. [Bhuvaneswari v. Mani, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2163, decided on 01-09-2020]