State Road Transport Corpn.
Vs. Lalnipuii  Insc 954 (14 December 2006)
Arijit Pasayat & Lokeshwar Singh Panta
out of S.L.P. (C) No.15507 of 2005) With CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 5824 2006 (Arising
out of SLP( C) Nos. 14260-14261 of 2005) Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
in these appeals is to the order passed by a Division Bench of the Guwahati
High Court , Aizwal Bench at Aizwal. By the order dated 18.2.2002, the appeal
filed by the appellant was dismissed for default after hearing learned counsel
for the respondent. Applications filed for restoration of the appeal after condonation
of delay in presentation of the same also stood dismissed. Though the orders
challenged in the appeals related to restoration of the appeal dismissed for
default, it was felt that no useful purpose would be served by remitting the
matter back to High Court for consideration on merits. The main ground taken by
the appellant before the High Court was that it had no notice of the transfer
of the case from the Guwahati Bench to the Aizwal Bench and therefore, there
was no appearance. This plea was turned down by the High Court on the ground
that sufficient notice was given to the appellant. Considering the long passage
of time and, as agreed to by learned counsel for the parties, the appeals are
taken up for disposal on merits of the facts involved.
facts in a nutshell are as follows:
who was member of the Indian Information Service under the Central Government
and working under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
lost her life in a road accident on 8.7.1997. She was travelling from Mumbai to
Pune by a bus belonging to the appellant-Maharashtra State Road Transport
Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the 'Corporation'). A Claim Petition
was filed by her mother who is respondent herein. In the Claim Petition it was
stated that she was aged about 31 years and 2 months at the time of accident
and was drawing monthly salary of Rs.6,500/-. Her pay was revised as per the
recommendation of the Fifth Pay Commission and the scale of pay was Rs.8,000-275-13,500/-
and on that basis her total emoluments would be Rs.9,340/- with effect from
1.1.1996 i.e. effective date fixed by the Fifth Pay Commission.
claimant made a claim of Rs.15,00,000/-. Pursuant to the notice the appellant
entered appearance and took the preliminary stand that the application was not
maintainable and there was no cause of action. On the basis of the pleadings
several issues were framed.
Accidents Claims Tribunal, Aizwal ( in short the 'Tribunal') considering the
material on record awarded compensation of Rs.12,00,000/- and granted interest
at the rate of 15% from the date of judgment till realization. This sum of Rs.12,00,000/-
was fixed on the following basis:
Income of the deceased = Rs.1,12,080/- per annum Rs.9,340 x 12
According to the Schedule Rs.40,000/- annual income Total Compensation is Fixed
at Rs.6,40,000/- Therefore Rs.(6,40,000 x 112.080) 40,000 = Rs.17,93, 280/-
Deducting one third expenses if she still alive as per note under the Schedule.
(-) = Rs. 5,97,760/- Rs.11,95,520/-
Funeral Expenses. = + Rs. 2,000/-
Loss of estate. = + Rs.2,500/-
Total compensation due to the claimant is =Rs.12,00,020/- One month time was
granted to satisfy the Award.
appellant filed an appeal which was originally heard by the Guwahati Bench, and
was subsequently transferred to the Aizwal Bench. The Award was questioned by
the appellant before the Guwahati Bench where the same was registered but the
same was transferred to the Aizwal Bench. As noted above, taking into account
the non-appearance of the counsel at the time of hearing, the application was
dismissed. The applications for restoration and for condonation of delay in
filing the said application were dismissed. Therefore, these appeals are filed.
counsel for the appellant has submitted that the High Court ought to have
noticed that the case was transferred from the Guwahati Bench to the Aizwal
Bench and therefore, there was no appearance on the date fixed. The High Court
should not have summarily dismissed the appeal particularly when it was noted
in the order that the learned counsel for the respondent was heard. High Court
did not take note of the fact that the claimant was the mother, who is the wife
of the Chief Secretary of the State. There was no averment in the Claim
Petition that the respondent was dependant on the deceased. On the contrary,
she being the wife of the Chief Secretary by no stretch of imagination be
treated as having any dependency on the income of the deceased. A multiplier of
17 applied is clearly was on higher side.
counsel for the respondent on the other hand submitted that no plausible reason
was shown to the High Court for the non-appearance on the date fixed and
therefore, belated applications for restoration and condonation of delay for
presentation of the application were rightly rejected. So far as the plea of
dependency is concerned, it is stated that this aspect was not raised before
the Tribunal and on the contrary the only ground raised was that no part of the
cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
facts need to be noted.
of the deceased was not the claimant and it was only the mother. There was no
material adduced before the Tribunal to show any dependency on the income of
the deceased. The multiplier of 17 appears to have been taken on the basis of
the age of the deceased. The interest rate of 15% is fixed also on the higher
fairly a settled position in law that while parents are the claimants, the age
of the deceased is not relevant and it is the age of the claimants which would
determine the multiplier to be adopted. On that score it is clear that the
Tribunal's assessment of the quantum of Award was incorrect. (See: Jyoti Kaul
and Ors. v. State of M.P. and Anr. (2002(6) SCC 306),
National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. M/s. Swaranlata Das and Others (1993 Supp (2)
SCC 743) and C.K. Subramania Iyer and Ors. v. T. Kunhikuttan Nair and Six Ors. (1969
(3) SCC 64).
was the only daughter of her parents and was not staying with her parents and
there is no material to show that she was contributing to the household
expenses. Taking into account the age of the claimant and the monthly income as
noticed by the Tribunal, a total sum of Rs.5,00,000/- shall be payable by the
appellant to the respondent as Award. This quantum is fixed taking into account
the age of the claimant, income of the deceased and other relevant factors like
loss of love and affection, mental shock etc. Interest is fixed at the rate of
7.5% from the date of claim till payment. It is stated that a total sum of
Rs.10,00,000/- has been paid to the respondent. If any further amount is to be
paid on the basis of the direction as contained above, the same shall be paid
within three months from today. If, however, the amount already paid is in
excess of the entitlement, the same shall be returned within a period of three
appeals are accordingly disposed of with no orders as to costs.