& Ors. Vs. National Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors.  INSC 1316 (29 July
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 4816-4817
OF 2009 [Arising out of SLP(C) Nos. 19668-19669/2008] MAMTA AND ORS. ...
Radheyshyam Sharma, the predecessor in interest of the appellants herein, died
in an accident which took place on 22.10.2003. He was an agriculturist. He was
aged 22 years on the date of accident.
Accident Claims Tribunal believed the evidence adduced on behalf of the
claimants - appellants that the monthly income of the deceased was Rs.
5000-6000 per month. To that effect two witnesses, namely, PW-1 and PW-2
testified. From the award passed by the learned Tribunal, it appears that the
exhibits throwing a suggestion that the said witnesses were not cross-examined
on the aforementioned statement. The age of the deceased was also not disputed.
aforementioned premise the Tribunal awarded a sum of Rs.6,72,880/- to 2 the
At the time of death the date of the deceased was 22 years therefore, for sake
of compensation for the dependents this Court fixes the multiplier as 15
therefore, compensation for the defendants is determined as 40x15 = 6,00,000/-
(Rupees six lacs only). Rs. 2000/- were spent during the last rites and for
applicant No.1 Mamtabai in view of her age Rs. 10,000/- is determined for her
because of her deprivation from the comforts of her husband and Rs. 5,000/- to
each of applicant Kanhaiyalal and Sajanbai for their deprivation form the
comforts of their son.
the amount spent on the treatment of deceased Radheyshyam prior to his death by
the applicants is Rs.50,880/-, for dependents compensation Rs. 6,00,000/-, Rs. 2,000/-
for last rites and Rs 10,000/- for Mamtabai wife of the deceased and Rs.
5,000/- for each of the Kanhaiyalal and Sajanbai for the deprivation of their
respondent - National Insurance Company preferred an appeal thereagainst. The
High Court opining that there was no evidence, whether oral or documentary
evidence, as produced by the claimants to prove the income of the deceased,
held that the notional income as stipulated in the Second Schedule appended to
the Motor Vehicles Act, i.e. Rs. 15,000/- per annum, should be taken to be the
income of the deceased Radheyshyam Sharma. On that basis, the amount of
compensation towards loss of income was calculated at Rs. 1,70,000/-.
said purpose, a multiplier of 17 was applied and 1/3 rd of the income was
attention was drawn to paragraph 8 of the impugned judgment wherein the High
Court proceeded on the basis that no evidence has been adduced by the
respondent that the land was owned by the said Radheyshyam 3 Sharma.
Court, in our opinion, was clearly wrong. As noticed hereinbefore, in paragraph
7 of its judgment the High Court held that neither any oral nor documentary
evidence was adduced by the claimants to prove the income of the deceased. Two
witnesses testified to the income of the deceased Radheyshyam. It was in the
aforementioned premises obligatory on the part of the respondent to test the
correctness or otherwise of the statement made by the two witnesses, by
cross-examining them. The High Court does not say that under no circumstances,
the income of an agriculturist can be Rs.5000-6000 per month. Had the said two
witnesses been cross-examined, they could have produced documentary evidence.
The respondent, in our opinion, cannot take advantage of their own wrong.
Court, in our opinion, was not correct in arriving at the conclusion that that
no evidence has been adduced by the claimants whatsoever.
of Section 59 of the Evidence Act, the term evidence would include oral
evidence. The Tribunal has relied on such oral evidence. It is now a well
settled law, in view of a large number of decisions of the Federal Court as
also this Court, that the Appellate Court shall not disturb the finding of fact
arrived at by the Trial Court on the basis of the evidence as it had the
occasion to notice the demeanour of the witnesses. Unfortunately, the High
Court has not adverted to any of the aforementioned questions. Having regard to
the fact that the deceased was an agriculturist, we are of the opinion that the
multiplier of 17 should have 4 been used.
however, agree with the High Court that as some medical bills were not in the
name of the deceased, the medical expenses incurred by the claimants to the
extent of Rs. 50,000/- have not been proved. We, therefore, uphold the order of
the High Court that the claim towards medical expenses should be confined to
Rs. 40,000/-. In that view of the matter, the claimants are held to be entitled
to a sum of Rs. 6,62,880/- towards compensation plus they may also be entitled
to the interest as awarded by the Tribunal.
aforementioned extent, this appeal is allowed. No costs.
.......................J (S.B. SINHA)
.......................J (DEEPAK VERMA)
JULY 29, 2009.