Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: K. Somashekar, J. modified the order of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) by enhancing the compensation awarded to the petitioners.

On 20-02-2008, the deceased Narasaiah after being hit by a car was taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Due to the untimely death of the deceased, the petitioners, his wife and two children, suffered mental shock, pain, agony and suffering and lost financial assistance too. Therefore, the petitioners sought compensation.

The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) awarded compensation of Rs 1,90,000 with interest at 6% p.a. The petitioners were not satisfied with the aforesaid award and thus this petition for enhanced compensation.

Counsel for the petitioner, Bhushani Kumar contended that the compensation awarded is very low considering the family’s condition. It was further contended that the MACT failed to consider the income of the deceased by opining that the age of the deceased was 65 years whereas he was 50 years. Moreover, no compensation was awarded for loss of love and affection and towards transportation of deceased’s body.

Counsel for the respondent – Insurance Company, K. Suresh contended that the accident occurred due to the contributory negligence of the deceased also. Therefore, the insurer is not liable to indemnify. It further contended that the award for compensation is just and proper.

The Court observed that it would be appropriate to hold the multiplier of ‘9’ as the deceased falls under the age group of 56-60 years as per the case of  Sarla Verma v. DTC, (2009) 6 SCC 121. Taking the Supreme Court’s view in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1270, 10% of the deceased’s income ought to have been added towards future prospects, which was not done by the MACT. But, the MACT was right in deducting 1/3rd of his income towards personal expenses. Therefore, the compensation under the head ‘loss of dependency’ comes to Rs 3,56,400. It was further observed that the compensation under the conventional head as per Pranay Sethi case should not exceed Rs 70, 000. But, the MACT awarded Rs 40,000, which is to be enhanced to Rs 70,000.

In addition to this, the Supreme Court in Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Nanu Ram, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1546 held that “Parental consortium is granted on the premature death of the parent, loss of parental aid, protection, affection…”. In the instant case, the children of the deceased have lost the passion of their father. Therefore, an additional sum of Rs. 40,000 each should be awarded.[Laxmamma v. Raju P., 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 882, decided on 19-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: P.K. Lohra, J. allowed an appeal for enhancement of the compensation amount awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Bikaner.

In the instant case, the husband of the appellant wife, aged about 38 years, was driving to Bikaner from Delhi in his car when he was hit by a truck, driven at a high speed and rashly. The severity of the accident caused the husband to expire on spot. The appellants claimed compensation. The Tribunal decided the accident to have happened due to the negligence of the truck driver and there was no negligence on the part of the deceased. The Tribunal had made one-third deduction as his personal expenses from the salary and thereafter, compensation for loss of dependency, and non-conventional damages worked out total amount of compensation to Rs 4,19,000.

The Counsel representing the appellant, Gurvinder Singh, challenged the order contending that the tribunal did not consider the income tax return of the deceased and income of business profits while calculating the compensation amount. He also put forth, the tribunal erred in not taking into consideration the number of dependents (which was four in number) instead it considered three. Lastly, the learned counsel contended that the interest should have been awarded at 9% per annum.

The Counsel representing the respondents, Mukul Singhvi, defended the impugned judgment of the tribunal and stated that the court was correct in calculating the interest at 6% per annum.

The High Court upon examination of the evidences produced before the Court, decided to enhance the compensation amount. It reassessed the income of the deceased and took into consideration the number of dependents of the family, hence deducted one-fourth under the head “Loss of Dependency”. The High Court placed reliance on the Supreme Court Judgment in Sarla Verma v. DTC, (2009) 6 SCC 121, wherein it was held that the number of dependents shall be taken into consideration while calculating one’s deduction of personal expenses. However, while calculating the future prospects of the deceased it allowed a 40% increase on the same owing to difficulty in calculating one’s future prospects and by placing reliance on the decision of the Supreme Court in National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi, (2017) 16 SCC 680 wherein it was decided to make the quantum of compensation just and reasonable. The court also awarded unprecedented damages under the head “loss of consortium”, which relates to the right of spouse to the company care, help, etc. It thereafter went on to enhance the amount awarded towards the children of the deceased and for the funeral expenses as well. The Court, therefore, reassessed and enhanced the compensation amount partly to what the Tribunal had declared, and it also directed the rate of interest to be at 9% per anum in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India Guidelines.[Arti v. Teja Ram, 2019 SCC OnLine Raj 1168 decided on 02-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: H.T. Narendra Prasad, J. dismissed the appeal filed by an Insurance Company against the order passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).

In the instant case, Jyothi and Nagaraj were traveling on a motorcycle and a lorry came in a rash and negligent manner and dashed against the motorcycle. As a result, Jyothi fell on the road and the lorry ran over her and she died while shifting her to the hospital. Hence, the parents of the deceased filed the claim petition before the Tribunal. The Tribunal granted compensation of Rs 6,96,000 with interest at 6 percent per annum. Being aggrieved by the same, the Insurance Company filed the present appeal.

The learned counsel for the petitioner, Lingaraj H S submitted that the Tribunal had erred in taking the multiplier based on the age of the deceased instead of based on the age of the mother. Further, the Tribunal was unjustified in adding 50 percent of the income of the deceased towards loss of future prospects while calculating the “loss of dependency”. Further, the compensation of Rs 25,000 each awarded to the claimants in the category of “loss of love and affection” was on the higher side. Therefore, the counsel for the petitioner prayed for allowing the appeal by reducing the compensation.

The learned counsel for the claimants, Nataraj Ballal relied on the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of National Insurance Co. Ltd v. Pranay Sethi, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1270, in which it was held that in case the deceased was having a permanent job and was below the age of 40 years, an addition of 50 percent of the established income should be made. Further, as per the said decision, while calculating the “loss of dependency”, the age of the deceased had to be taken into consideration. Hence, the counsel for the claimants submitted that there was no error in the finding of the Tribunal. Therefore, he prayed for dismissal of the appeal.

The Court relied on the decision of Supreme Court in the case of Pranay Sethi, and held that multiplier had to be applied based on the age of the deceased and not based on the age of the mother of the deceased. Moreover, the Court also relied on the case of Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd v. Nanu Ram, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1546 in which it was held that the claimants were entitled to compensation under the head “loss of love and affection”. Therefore, the Insurance Company has erred in taking the multiplier based on the age of deceased instead of based on the age of the mother and that the Tribunal was unjustified in adding 50 percent of the income of the deceased towards loss of future prospects while calculating the “loss of dependency”. Hence, the appeal could not be accepted and was unsustainable.

The appeal was dismissed accordingly.[Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Rathna, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 566, decided on 29-05-2019]