Abati Bezbaruah Vs. Dy. Director General
Geological Survey of India & Anr  Insc 83 (14 February 2003)
S.B. Sinha S.B. Sinha, J:
The claimant is in appeal before us being
aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the judgment and award dated 10th April, 1996
passed by the High Court of Gauhati in M.A. (F) No. 208 of 1994 modifying an
award passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as
"the Tribunal"), Shillong in M.A.C. Case No. 20 of 1991.
The basic fact of the matter is not in dispute.
The husband of the appellant herein late (Dr.) Ramani Kanta Bezbaruah met with
a fatal accident on 13th November, 1990 while he was proceeding on a scooter
whence a jeep bearing registration No. MLK-5548 dashed against it. The claimant
claimed compensation for a sum of Rs. 27,46,000/- before the Motor Accidents
Claims Tribunal. The Tribunal, however, having regard to the deceased's salary
which at the relevant point of time was Rs. 3500/- per month, calculated the
monthly dependency at Rs. 1700/-. The Tribunal calculated the life expectancy
of the deceased to be 65 years, and the age of the deceased at the time of
accident being 40 years, applied 15 as multiplier.
However, from the said amount, 20% was directed
to be deducted towards uncertainty of life as well as 10% for getting the lump
sum amount and thus on that basis the amount of compensation which would have
otherwise come to Rs. 3, 06,000/- was reduced to Rs. 2,14,200/-. A sum of Rs.
3,000/- was, however, awarded as expenses incurred by the family for the
treatment of the deceased, and travelling expenses etc. A further sum of Rs.
3,000/- was awarded by way of loss of consortium, Rs. 6000/- towards the
expenses of cremation, Rs. 3,000/- for loss of love and affection. On the said
basis a total compensation of Rs. 2,50,200/- was awarded. It was further
directed that the awarded amount be paid to the claimants with interest at the
rate of 6% per annum. The High Court in appeal, however, held that having
regard to the income of the deceased, which was Rs. 3500/- per month, the loss
of dependency should be enhanced to the tune of Rs. 2,000/- per month. So far
as rate of interest is concerned, the same was also directed to be enhanced to
8% per annum from the date of filing of the claim till the date of the receipt
of the awarded amount.
Mr. A.P. Mohanty, the learned counsel appearing
on behalf of the appellant raised two contentions in support of this appeal.
The learned counsel would firstly submit that the rate of interest prevailing
at the relevant time being 10%, the High Court erred in granting interest at
the rate of 8% per annum. The learned counsel in support of the said
contentions New India Assurance Co. Ltd. and Others [(2001) 2 SCC 9] and United
[(2002) 6 SCC 281].
The learned counsel would next contend as the
appellant was earning about Rs. 3500/- per month, i.e. Rs. 42,000/- per year,
upon deducting one third thereof from the said amount, a sum of Rs. 28,000/-
per annum should have been held to the loss of dependency and in that view of
the matter the amount of compensation should have been calculated by applying
multiplier of 16 as the age of the deceased at the time of the accident was 40
Mr. Ashok Bhan, the learned counsel appearing on
behalf of the respondents, on the other hand, would submit that in a case of
this nature awarding of interest at the rate of 9% would be fair having regard
to the decision of this Court in United India Insurance Co. Ltd. (supra). The
learned counsel, would further draw our attention to the fact that multiplier
of 10 was applied in that case.
The question as to what should be rate of
interest, in the opinion of this Court, would depend upon the facts and
circumstances of each case.
Award of interest would normally depend upon the
bank rate prevailing at the relevant time.
In R.L. Gupta (supra), interest at the rate of
12% was awarded.
However, no reason has been assigned in support
In Kaushnuma Begum (supra) the amount of
compensation was directed to be paid with interest at the rate of 9 per cent
per annum from the date of claim. The same rate of interest was awarded, as
noticed hereinbefore, in the case of United India Insurance Co. Ltd. (supra).
We are of the opinion that the amount of
interest should, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, be
paid at the rate of 9% per annum.
The structured formula base has been set out in
the Second Schedule to the Motor Vehicles Act.
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 of 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.
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
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.
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/-.
This appeal is allowed in part to the extent
In the facts and circumstances of the case, there
shall be no order as to costs.