Mohan Singh Vs. Kashi
Bai & Ors.  INSC 53 (13 January 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 105 OF 2009 [Arising out
of SLP (Civil) No. 6227 of 2006] Mohan Singh ...Appellant Versus Kashi Bai
& Ors. ...Respondents
S.B. SINHA, J :
before us is the driver and owner of the jeep bearing registration No. MP-04J
1824 which met with an accident on 21.11.1999 having collided with a truck. The
deceased Balma @ Balram Gond, Ramgopal and Shankarlal admittedly were
travelling in the said vehicle.
First Information Report was lodged. The heirs and legal representatives of the
deceased filed applications for grant of compensation 2 in terms of Section
166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (for short "the Act") which was
marked as Claim Case Nos. 76, 78 and 79 of 2002.
learned Tribunal, having regard to the rival contentions of the parties, framed
the following issues:
"1. Whether on
21.11.99 in the night at about 8 a.m. near village Semri, non applicant No. 1
driving Jeep No. MP04 1824 and truck No. MP04K2028 driven negligently and
rashly the collision between the two vehicle occurred and in the result
2. Whether there was
contributory negligence on the part of both the drivers? If so, effect.
3. At 8 p.m. Jeep No.
MP04J1824 was dashed by truck No. MP04 K 2028 and the accident was caused, if
4. Whether applicants
are entitled for compensation.
5. Relief &
learned Tribunal upon consideration of the depositions of the witnesses held
that neither the truck No. MP04K 2028 was involved in the accident, nor was it
caused on account of rash and negligent driving on the part of its driver. The
learned Tribunal passed awards in all the three cases as under:
3 Claim Case No. 76
of 2002 Rs. 1,32,000/- Claim Case No. 78 of 2002 Rs. 1,92,000/- Claim Case No.
79 of 2002 Rs. 4,22,400/-
were preferred there against by the appellant. By reason of the impugned
judgment, the High Court, however, reversed the said findings, holding:
"16. Coming to
question of negligence, though Mohan Singh and two other witnesses examined by
the claimant has stated that it was the truck driver who drove it in rash and
However, in the claim
petition, it was rightly mentioned that jeep driver also drove it in rash and
negligent manner and the accident took place when two vehicles dashed against
Both were coming from
opposite direction, thus, it was the duty of both the drivers to avoid the
collision in which they have failed. Thus, we come to the conclusion that it is
a case of contributory negligence in equal proportion of both drivers."
Although we are of
the opinion that the High Court in doing so should have considered the matter
at some details and it was further required to assign some reasons in support
thereof, but, it is not necessary 4 for us to consider that aspect of the
matter as the owner or the insurer of the truck having not preferred any
appeal, the same has attained finality.
In this appeal we are
concerned with only one question, viz., as to whether any case has been made
out for enhancement of the amount of compensation in favour of the appellant.
far as the quantum of compensation is concerned, the Tribunal proceeded on the
basis that the age of the deceased Shankarlal was 35 years.
His monthly income
was assessed at Rs. 1500/- per month. One-third of the said amount was deducted
as his personal expenditure. Applying the multiplier of 10, it was held that
the applicants were entitled to compensation of Rs. 1,20,000/-.
As regards the
quantum of compensation payable to the heirs and legal representatives of the
deceased Balma is concerned, the loss of dependency was determined at Rs. 12,000/-
per annum by the Tribunal.
Having regard to the
fact that he was aged 25 years, the multiplier of 15 was used to hold that a
compensation for a sum of Rs. 1,92,000/- should be granted.
5 The deceased Ram
Gopal was aged 31 years at the time of the accident. A multiplier of 12 was
used in his case and the amount of compensation of Rs. 4,22,400/- was held to
be payable to him on the premise that the loss of dependency was Rs. 34,200/-
High Court, however, although did not interfere with these finding of facts,
applied the multiplier of 17 in all the cases.
Shiv Sagar Tiwari, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant would
contend that the High Court committed a serious error in holding that the
multiplier of 17 should be applied in modification of the order of the
liability to pay compensation in a case where a vehicle meets with an accident
is principally that of the owner thereof. The age of the deceased as also the
loss of dependency suffered by his heirs respectively and legal representatives
is seriously not in dispute.
core question, therefore, which arises for consideration is as to whether the
multiplier specified in the table contained in the Second Schedule appended to
the Act should have been applied. Although the 6 Second Schedule is applicable
only in respect of the claim petitions filed under Section 163A of the Act,
indisputably, the same provides for some guidelines. In a case where the
deceased was above 25 years but not exceeding 30 years, in terms of the said
Second Schedule, the multiplier of 18 is to be applied. In the case of the
deceased whose age was above 30 years but not exceeding 35 years, the multiplier
of 17 in terms of the Second Schedule is required to be applied. The High
Court, therefore, in our opinion, has applied the correct multiplier. The
quantum of multiplicand, as noticed hereinbefore, is not in question. In a case
of this nature, it is not necessary to go into the larger question, viz., as to
whether the courts should apply the multiplier specified in the Second Schedule
in a proceeding under Section 166 of the Act.
General Manager, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, Trivandrum v. Susamma
Thomas and others, [(1994) 2 SCC 176] apart from applying the structured
formula for determination of the amount of compensation with regard to the
future prospect of the deceased, it was opined :- "19. In the present case
the deceased was 39 years of age. His income was Rs 1032 per month. Of 7
course, the future prospects of advancement in life and career should also be
sounded in terms of money to augment the multiplicand. While the chance of the
multiplier is determined by two factors, namely, the rate of interest
appropriate to a stable economy and the age of the deceased or of the claimant
whichever is higher, the ascertainment of the multiplicand is a more difficult
exercise. Indeed, many factors have to be put into the scales to evaluate the
contingencies of the future. All contingencies of the future need not
necessarily be baneful. The deceased person in this case had a more or less
stable job. It will not be inappropriate to take a reasonably liberal view of
the prospects of the future and in estimating the gross income it will be
unreasonable to estimate the loss of dependency on the present actual income of
Rs 1032 per month. We think, having regard to the prospects of advancement in
the future career, respecting which there is evidence on record, we will not be
in error in making a higher estimate of monthly income at Rs 2000 as the gross
income. From this has to be deducted his personal living expenses, the quantum
of which again depends on various factors such as whether the style of living
was spartan or bohemian. In the absence of evidence it is not unusual to deduct
one-third of the gross income towards the personal living expenses and treat
the balance as the amount likely to have been spent on the members of the
family and the dependents. This loss of dependency should capitalize with the
appropriate multiplier. In the present case we can take about Rs 1400 per month
or Rs 17,000 per year as the loss of dependency and if capitalized on a
multiplier of 12, which is appropriate to the age of the deceased, the
compensation would work out to (Rs 17,000 x 12 = Rs 2,03,000) to which is added
the usual award for loss of consortium and 8 loss of the estate each in the
conventional sum of Rs 15,000."
In Kaushnuma Begum v.
New India Assurance Co. Ltd., [ (2001) 2 SCC 9 ] this Court observed:- 22. The
appellants claimed a sum of Rs 2,36,000.
But PW 1 widow of the
deceased said that her husband's income was Rs 1500 per month. PW 4 brother of
the deceased also supported the same version. No contra-evidence has been
adduced in regard to that aspect. It is, therefore, reasonable to believe that
the monthly income of the deceased was Rs. 1500. In calculating the amount of
compensation in this case we lean ourselves to adopt the structured formula
provided in the Second Schedule to the MV Act. Though it was formulated for the
purpose of Section 163-A of the MV Act, we find it a safer guidance for
arriving at the amount of compensation than any other method so far as the
present case is concerned."
In United India
Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Patricia Jean Mahajan, [ (2002) 6 SCC 281 ], however,
this Court held :- "21. The purpose to compensate the dependants of the
victims is that they may not be suddenly deprived of the source of their
maintenance and as far as possible they may be provided with the means as were
available to them before the accident took place. It will be a just and fair
compensation. But in cases where the amount of compensation may go much higher
than the 9 amount providing the same amenities, comforts and facilities and
also the way of life, in such circumstances also it may be a case where, while
applying the multiplier system, the lesser multiplier may be applied. In such
cases, the amount of multiplicand becomes relevant. The intention is not to
22. We therefore,
hold that ordinarily while awarding compensation, the provisions contained in
the Second Schedule may be taken as a guide including the multiplier, but there
may arise some cases, as the one in hand, which may fall in the category having
special features or facts calling for deviation from the multiplier usually
It is evident from
the above that this Court in the said decisions had taken a departure from the
In Jyoti Kaul v. State
of M.P., [ (2002) 6 SCC 306 ] multiplier of 15 was adopted, stating :-
"The aforesaid decision makes it clear that the principle of multiplier
would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Looking to the facts
of this case we find that the Tribunal has given good reasons for applying the
15. This was in
addition of taking into consideration that the predecessors of the deceased all
lived for more than 80 years. The High Court reduced the multiplier from 15 to
10 without taking into consideration circumstances considered by the Tribunal
and thus committed the error. We, accordingly, set aside the findings of 10
the High Court only to the extent of the application of multiplier and uphold
other findings including reduction of interest. The present appeal,
accordingly, succeeds in part. The computation of compensation now shall be
made on the basis of multiplier of 15. The difference of enhanced amount which
has yet not been paid by the respondent State shall be paid to the claimants
within a period of three months from today."
In Smt. Supe Dei
& Ors. v. M/s. National Insurance Co. Ltd. & Anr.
[JT 2002 (Suppl.1) SC
451], this Court held:
considering the question of just compensation payable in a case all relevant
factors including the appropriate multiplier are to be kept in mind. The
position is well settled that the second schedule under Section 163A to the Act
which gives the amount of compensation to be determined for the purpose of
claim under the section can be taken as a guideline while determining the
compensation under Section 166 of the Act. In that view of the matter, there is
no reason why multiplier of 17 should not be taken as the appropriate
multiplier in the case."
In Abati Bezbaruah v.
Dy. Director General, Geological Survey of India and Another [(2003) 3 SCC
148], this Court held:
11 "11. It is
now a well-settled principle of law that the payment of compensation on the
basis of structured formula as provided for under the Second Schedule should
not ordinarily be deviated from. Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act lays
down the guidelines for determination of the amount of compensation in terms of
Section 166 thereof. Deviation from the structured formula, however, as has
been held by this Court, may be resorted to in exceptional cases. Furthermore,
the amount of compensation should be just and fair in the facts and
circumstances of each case.
12. The victim at the
relevant time was 40 years of age. The Tribunal and the High Court, therefore,
cannot be said to have committed an error in applying the multiplier of 15. The
only question which is required to be considered now is as to how the
multiplicand should be arrived at.
13. The deceased at
the time of accident was a young man. He had a stable job. A reasonably liberal
view of his future prospects should have, therefore, been taken into
consideration by the High Court as well as by the Tribunal.
14. Having regard to
the prospects and advancement of the future career, a higher estimate of the
yearly income at Rs.45,000 would not be out of place. From the said amount,
one- third of the gross income towards personal living expenses should be
deducted. The amount of Rs 30,000 should thus be determined as the loss of
dependency. The said sum should be capitalized by applying the multiplier of
15, which comes to Rs 4,50,000."
Kataria and Others v. Mukul Chaturvedi and Others [(2005) 12 SCC 190], this
12 "3. Learned
counsel for the claimants made submissions seeking enhancement of compensation
on the ground that the income of the deceased has not been properly estimated.
We are not going into any other aspect except the question of proper multiplier
for computation of compensation. In our opinion, by taking the multiplier of
17, the amount of compensation deserves to be increased. The compensation
amount may be suitably recomputed by the Tribunal by applying the multiplier of
17 and interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum on the increased amount be
In Bilkish v. United
India Insurance Company Limited and Another [(2008) 4 SCC 259], this Court
hearing learned counsel for the parties, we are of the opinion that the view
taken by the High Court and the Tribunal is not correct.
The incumbent was a
bachelor and he could not have spent more than 1/3rd of his total income for
personal use and rest of the amount earned by him would certainly go to the
family kitty. Therefore, determining the loss of dependency by 50% was not
correct. Therefore, we assess that he must be spending 1/3rd towards personal
use and contributing 2/3rd of his income to his family.
Therefore, we work
out that Rs 30,000 was earned by him per annum. The loss of dependency was
2/3rd i.e. Rs 20,000. The multiplier of `11' applied for loss of dependency was
also not correct and as per Schedule appended to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
it should be `12'. Applying the multiplier of 12 the total loss of dependency will
13 be Rs 20,000 x 12 = Rs 2,40,000 and Rs 10,000 towards loss of estate and
funeral expenses, the total compensation comes to Rs 2,50,000 and incumbent is
entitled for interest @ 9% p.a. from the date of the petition. The appeal is
allowed with the aforesaid modification."
therefore, keeping in view the aforementioned peculiar facts and circumstances
of the case, are of the opinion that the judgment of the High Court in applying
the multiplier of 17 need not be interfered with.
the reasons aforementioned, there is no merit in this appeal which is dismissed
accordingly. However, in the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall
be no order as to costs.