APSRTC, Rep. by Its General Manager and Anr. Vs. M. Ramadevi and Ors.  Insc
98 (25 January 2008)
Arijit Pasayat & P. Sathasivam
out of S.L.P. (C) No.11647 of 2004) Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of the learned Single Judge of the
Andhra Pradesh High Court. The appellant-Corporation had filed an appeal before
the High Court questioning correctness of the award made by the Motor Accidents
Claims Tribunal-cum-1st Addl. District Judge, R.R. District at Saroornagar, Hyderabad (hereinafter referred to as the
Background facts are as follows:
claim petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 was filed by
the respondents claiming compensation of Rs.5,00,000/- on account of the death
of M. Nageshwar Rao (hereinafter referred to as the deceased) in an
accident on 18.5.1998. The deceased was working as a driver of the
appellant-Corporation. In the claim petition it was stated that the because of
the rash and negligent driving of the bus No.A.P.10 Z 998 belonging to the
Corporation which was being driven in a rash and negligent manner, the deceased
lost his life. It was claimed that the deceased was 38 years of age and was an
employee of the Corporation and was earning salary of Rs.4,467.50 p.m. The
appellant-Corporation filed its objection before the Tribunal taking the stand
that it was not liable to pay any compensation. The quantum of salary claimed
and the age was also disputed.
Tribunal observed that the age of the deceased was 40 years of age and he was
getting a salary of Rs.4,000/- p.m. and after deduction his take home pay was
Rs.2,367/- and the total emoluments was Rs.3,983/-. Applying the multiplier of
12 the entitlement was fixed at Rs.2,16,000/-, in addition Rs.15,000/- for
non-pecuniary damages and Rs.5,000/- as consortium was awarded. Thus the total
compensation awarded was fixed at Rs.2,46,000/-. The same was directed to be
paid with interest @ 12% p.a.
appellant-Corporation filed appeal before the High Court. It is to be noted
that the claimants did not prefer any appeal. The High Court held that the
award as made was inadequate and just compensation was not awarded.
High Court was of the view that the pay of the deceased was Rs.3,536/- and not
Rs.2,367/- as noted by the Tribunal. Accordingly, it fixed the basic pay of
Rs.3,500/- after deducting 1/3rd towards the personal expenses. The monthly
contribution was fixed at Rs.2,333/- and the annual contribution at Rs.27,996/-.
The multiplier was taken at 12.
entitlement was fixed at Rs.3,35,952/- to which was added the sum of
Rs.20,000/- additionally awarded by the Tribunal.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellants submitted that when there
was no appeal by the claimants in the appeal filed by the
appellant-corporation, the High Court should not have enhanced the amount. It
was also submitted that the multiplier as adopted was high.
Learned counsel for the respondents on the other hand submitted that there is
no embargo on the Tribunal or the High Court awarding compensation exceeding
the amount claimed. It was also submitted that the interest was reduced to 9%
from 12% as fixed by the Tribunal. It was, therefore, submitted that there was
no infirmity in the High Courts order.
9. In Nagappa
vs. Gurdial Singh and Ors. (2003 (2) SCC 274) para 21 as follows:
For the reasons discussed above, in our view, under the MV Act, there is no
restriction that the Tribunal/court cannot award compensation amount exceeding
the claimed amount. The function of the Tribunal/court is to award
just compensation which is reasonable on the basis of evidence
produced on record. Further, in such cases there is no question of claim
becoming time-barred or it cannot be contended that by enhancing the claim
there would be change of cause of action. It is also to be stated that as
provided under sub-section (4) to Section 166, even the report submitted to the
Claims Tribunal under sub-section (6) of Section 158 can be treated as an
application for compensation under the MV Act. If required, in appropriate
cases, the court may permit amendment to the claim petition.
The other question that remains to be adjudicated is whether the income has
been rightly adopted by the Tribunal and the High Court was correct and whether
the correct multiplier was adopted.
Considering the figure in the Ex.A/7 the monthly income taken at Rs.3,000/-
after deducting 1/3rd therefrom the annual contribution is fixed at Rs.24,000/-.
Adopting the multiplier of 10, the amount payable to the claimants comes to
Rs.2,40,000/- to that shall be added the amount of Rs.20,000/- fixed by the
Tribunal for non- pecuniary damages and consortium as there was no challenge by
the Corporation to the award of such amounts. Therefore, the entitlement of the
claimant comes to Rs.2,60,000/-. The interest rate of 9% fixed by the High
Court does not warrant any interference. A sum of Rs.2,00,000/- has been
deposited by the Corporation pursuant to the direction given by this Court on
19.7.2004. Admittedly, the same has been withdrawn by the claimants. The
balance amount shall be deposited by the appellant-Corporation within six weeks
from today. Tribunal shall fix the terms for withdrawal/deposit of the amount
in FDs as deemed appropriate.
The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent. No costs.