Misc Appeal C No 837 of 2009
1 Smt Sanjudevi Mahato
2 Pawan Kumar
3 Manish Kumar
4 Ku Mamta
1 Shri Bunti
2 Shri S Ahuja
3 The Oriental Insurance Company Private Ltd ...Respondents
! Shri AS Rajput counsel for the appellants ^ Shri Sunil Sahu counsel for respondents No1 & 2 Shri AK Athaley counsel for respondent No 3 CORAM: HONBLE SHRI RAJEEV GUPTA CJ & HONBLE SHRI RANGNATH CHANDRAKAR J Dated: 09/12/2011
Memo of appeal under Section 173 of Motor Vehicle Act 09th December 2011
The following order of the Court was passed by Rajeev Gupta, C.J.
This is claimants' appeal for enhancement of the compensation awarded by the 11th Additional Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Raipur (for short `the Tribunal') vide award dated 19.01.2009, passed in Claim Case No.14/2008. 2) As against the compensation of Rs.19,98,000/- claimed by the appellants/ claimants, unfortunate widow and minor children of deceased Sanjay Kumar Mahato, by filing a claim petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, for his death in the motor accident on 26.06.2007, the Tribunal awarded a total sum of Rs.3,09,480/- as compensation along with interest @ 6% per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till the date of actual payment. 3) The Tribunal on a close scrutiny of the entire evidence led before it held that deceased Sanjay Kumar Mahato died on account of the injuries sustained by him in the motor accident on 26.06.2007; the accident occurred due to rash and negligent driving of the driver of the offending vehicle Bus bearing registration No. C.G. 04/E-0355; as the above offending vehicle Bus on the date of the accident was insured with the Oriental Insurance Company Limited and the Insurance Company could not establish any breach of the policy conditions, the Insurance Company was liable to pay compensation to the claimants.
4) As the insurer of the above offending vehicle Bus has not filed any appeal against the impugned award challenging the above findings recorded by the Tribunal, the same now have attained finality.
5) The Tribunal assessed the income of the deceased at Rs.100/- per day and Rs.2,600/- per month assuming that the deceased was getting work only for 26 days in a month. By deducting 1/3rd of Rs.2,600/- towards the personal expenses of the deceased, the claimants' dependency was assessed at Rs.1,734/- per month and Rs.19,608/- per annum. By multiplying the annual dependency of Rs.19,608/- with the multiplier of 15, the compensation was worked out to Rs.2,94,480/-. By awarding further sum of Rs.15,000/- under other heads, the Tribunal awarded a total sum of Rs.3,09,480/- as compensation to the claimants for the death of deceased Sanjay Kumar Mahato in the motor accident. The Tribunal further directed payment of interest on the above amount of compensation of Rs.3,09,480/- @ 6% per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till the date of actual payment.
6) Shri A.S. Rajput, learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the Tribunal has erred in not accepting the claimants' evidence about the income of the deceased and in assessing his income at Rs.2,600/- per month only; and in awarding low compensation of Rs.3,09,480/- only. 7) Shri A.K. Athaley, learned counsel for respondent No.3, the Oriental Insurance Company Limited, the insurer of the offending vehicle Bus, on the other hand, supported the award and contended that the compensation of Rs.3,09,480/- awarded by the Tribunal is just and proper compensation in the facts and circumstances of the present case. 8) Shri Sunil Sahu, learned counsel for respondents No.1 and 2, the driver and owner of the offending vehicle Bus also supported the award.
9) In a motor accident claim case what is important is that the compensation to be awarded by the Courts/Tribunal should be just and proper compensation in the facts and circumstances of the case. It should neither be a meager amount of compensation nor a bonanza.
10) Now, we shall examine as to whether the compensation of Rs.3,09,480/- awarded by the Tribunal is just and proper compensation in the facts and circumstances of the present case.
11) True, the claimants pleaded that deceased Sanjay Kumar Mahato used to earn Rs.8,500/- per month by working as Supervisor in a Private Concern Dhara Construction Company, the evidence led in that behalf was not of clinching nature. We, therefore, do not find any fault in the approach of the Tribunal in discarding the claimants' evidence about the income of the deceased.
12) Nevertheless, the Tribunal after having assessed the income of the deceased at Rs.100/- per day has erred in assessing his monthly income at Rs.2,600/- per month assuming that the deceased was getting work only for 26 days in a month. In the absence of any specific and positive evidence that the deceased was working only for 26 days in a month, the Tribunal in our opinion, has erred in assessing the monthly income of the deceased at Rs.2,600/- per month in place of Rs.3,000/- per month. We, therefore, propose to re-compute the compensation taking the income of the deceased at Rs.3,000/- per month and Rs.36,000/- per annum. 13) By deducting the usual 1/3rd of Rs.36,000/- towards the personal expenses of the deceased, the claimants' dependency is assessed at Rs.24,000/- per annum.
14) The multiplier of 15 selected by the Tribunal, in our opinion, is appropriate as deceased Sanjay Kumar Mahato on the date of the accident was aged about 40 years and the dictum of the Apex Court in the case of Sarla Verma (Smt) and Others Versus Delhi Transport Corporation and another, reported in (2009) 6 SCC 121 prescribes the multiplier of 15 for the age group between 36-40 years.
15) By multiplying the annual dependency of Rs.24,000/- with the multiplier of 15 the compensation works out to Rs.3,60,000/-. By adding further sum of Rs.5,000/- for funeral expenses; Rs.5,000/- for loss of estate; and Rs.5,000/- for loss of consortium to the widow, the claimants become entitled to receive a total sum of Rs.3,75,000/- as compensation for the death of deceased Sanjay Kumar Mahato in the motor accident. 16) Learned counsel for the parties submitted that with a view to avoid any possible dispute between the parties before the Tribunal about the period for which the claimants are entitled to receive interest on the enhanced amount of compensation, the amount of interest on the enhanced amount of compensation may be quantified in this appeal itself. 17) Considering all the relevant aspects of the matter including the delay in disposal of the claim petition and the present appeal and the fact that the Insurance Company alone is not to be blamed for the entire delay in the matter, we quantify the amount of interest on the enhanced amount of compensation of Rs.65,520/- at Rs.9,480/-. 18) For the foregoing reasons, the appeal filed by the appellants/ claimants for enhancement of the compensation is allowed in part. The compensation of Rs.3,09,480/- awarded by the Tribunal is enhanced to Rs.3,75,000/- with further quantified amount of interest of Rs.9,480/- on the enhanced amount of compensation of Rs.65,520/-.
19) Respondent No.3 the Oriental Insurance Company Limited is granted three months' time for depositing the total sum of Rs.75,000/- (Rupees seventy-five thousand only) (Rs.65,520/- towards enhanced amount of compensation + Rs.9,480/- towards quantified amount of interest on the enhanced amount of compensation of Rs.65,520/-) before the concerning Claims Tribunal.
20) No order as to costs.
J U D G E