Urmila and others Vs.
Rashpal Kaur and others
J U D G M E N T
G.S. Singhvi, J.
dissatisfied with the enhancement granted by the Division Bench of the Chhattisgarh
High Court in the amount of compensation awarded by Second Additional Motor
Accident Claims Tribunal, Jagdalpur (for short, "the Tribunal"), the
appellants have filed this appeal.
Shivlal Verma (husband of appellant No.1, father of appellant Nos. 2 and 3 and
son of Shri Swaminath and Smt. Tulsi Devi) died in an accident, which occurred on
23.4.1999 when he was hit by the truck belonging to respondent No.1. The appellants
and the parents of the deceased (both of them died during the pendency of the case
before the Tribunal) filed a petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles
Act, 1988 (for short, `the Act') for award of compensation of Rs.28,45,000/- by
asserting that the accident was caused due to rash and negligent driving of the
truck by its driver-Shri Ashok Kumar Dass (respondent No.2). They claimed that
at the time of death, Shri Shivlal Verma was 28 years old and was earning
Rs.60,000/- per annum by doing agriculture.
No.1 contested the claim by asserting that the accident was caused due to negligence
and carelessness of the deceased. She also pleaded that the claim made by the appellants
and the parents of the deceased was highly exaggerated.
considering the pleadings of the parties and evidence produced by them, the Tribunal
held that the accident was caused due to rash and negligent driving of the truck
by respondent No.2.
The Tribunal then
considered the issue relating to quantum of compensation, referred to the
statements of appellant No.1-Smt. Urmila (P.W.1) and Swaminath Verma (P.W.3),
both of whom deposed that the deceased was earning Rs.60,000/- per annum from agriculture,
but assessed his income at Rs.50,000/- per annum. The Tribunal noted that family
of the deceased consisted of six members and in terms of the judgment of this Court
in U.P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Trilok Chandra (1996) 4 SCC 362, the
total number of units would be
The Tribunal then proceeded
to make a deduction of Rs.1,500/- (Rs.911/- for 2 units of the deceased and
Rs.589/- towards his personal expenses) and concluded that dependency of the
claimants would be Rs.2,600/- per month. Finally, the Tribunal applied the
multiplier of 8 and held that the claimants are entitled to compensation of
Rs.2,59,000/- with interest at the rate of 12% per annum with a stipulation
that if the amount is not paid within two months, then they would be entitled
to receive interest at the rate of 18% per annum.
appellants challenged the award of the Tribunal by filing an appeal under
Section 173 of the Act. They pleaded that the Tribunal had committed an error
by applying the multiplier of 8 and that keeping in view the age of the
deceased the multiplier of 17 should have been applied.
Division Bench of the High Court did not accept the plea of the appellants but
applied the multiplier of 13 and held that the appellants are entitled to total
compensation of Rs.4,20,600/-. The reasons assigned by the High Court for doing
so are contained in paragraph 7 of the impugned judgment, which is extracted
below: "So far as the multiplier is concerned, admittedly the deceased was
aged about 28 years and, in our opinion, the Tribunal erred in selecting the
Tribunal has selected the multiplier of 8 on the basis of age of the father of
the deceased, 60 years. The Tribunal completely lost sight of the fact that the
Claim Petition was also filed by the widow and 2 minor children of the deceased
who were aged about 25 years, 2 years and 15 days, respectively, on the date of
the accident. In the facts and circumstances of the case, the Tribunal ought to
have applied a higher multiplier than 8. Looking to the age of the deceased, his
widow and minor children, we deem it appropriate to apply the multiplier of 13
in place of 8 applied by the Claims Tribunal."8. We have heard learned
counsel for the parties and perused the record.
In Sarla Verma v. Delhi
Transport Corporation (2009) 6 SCC 121, a two-Judge Bench of this Court considered
various issues relevant for determination of compensation payable in motor
accident cases, noticed the judgments in G.M., Kerala SRTC v. Susamma Thomas (1994)
2 SCC 176, U.P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Trilok Chandra (supra),
T.N. State Transport Corporation Limited v. S. Rajapriya (2005) 6 SCC 236, New
India Assurance Company Limited v. Charlie (2005) 10 SCC 5720, Oriental Insurance
Company Limited v. Meena Variyal (2007) 5 SCC 428 and held:
hold that the multiplier to be used should be as mentioned in Column (4) of the
table above (prepared by applying Susamma Thomas, Trilok Chandra and Charlie), which
starts with an operative multiplier of 18 (for the age groups of 15 to 20 and
21 to 25 years), reduced by one unit for every five years, that is M-17 for 26
to 30 years, M-16 for 31 to 35 years, M-15 for 36 to 40 years, M-14 for 41 to
45 years, and M-13 for 46 to 50 years, then reduced by two units for every five
years, that is, M-11 for 51 to 55 years, M-9 for 56 to 60 years, M-7 for 61 to
65 years and M-5 for 66 to 70 years."
at the time of accident the age of the deceased was 28 years. Therefore, in
terms of the ratio of the judgment in Sarla Verma's case, the amount of
compensation payable to the appellants is required to be determined by applying
the multiplier of 17. By doing so, the appellants would become entitle to get
compensation of Rs.5,30,400/-. If Rs.15,000/- is added to this amount under
other permissible heads, as was done by the High Court, the total amount payable
to the appellants would be Rs.5,45,400/-.
appeal is accordingly allowed, the impugned judgment is modified and it is declared
that the appellants are entitled to total compensation of Rs.5,45,400/-. Respondent
No.1 shall, within a period of three months from the receipt/production of copy
of this judgment to pay to the appellants the total amount of compensation,
after deducting the amount already paid in terms of the award of the Tribunal
and the judgment of the High Court. Within that period, respondent No.1 shall
also pay interest to the appellants at the rate of 6% per annum on the enhanced
amount of Rs.1,24,800/- from the date of filing the claim petition. The balance
amount shall be paid to the appellants within a period of three months from the
date of receipt/production of certified copy of this judgment.
J. [G.S. Singhvi]
J. [H.L. Dattu]