Read Order: Raj Kumar and Another v. Balbir Singh and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, April 20, 2022: While dealing with a motor accident case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has enhanced the amount of monthly income assessed (of the deceased- housewife) at Rs 12,000 per month to Rs 20,000 per month.  

The Bench of Justice Pankaj Jain held,“Thus in view of aforesaid ratio of law, the income of the deceased is [to be] assessed @ Rs.20,000/- per annum which shall have a further component of 40% for future prospects.” 

The Claimants filed the present appeal seeking modification of the award passed by MACT, Chandigarh whereby compensation of Rs. 37,000/- along with interest @ 7.5% per annum (to be calculated from the date of filing of the claim petition till actual realization) was awarded on account of the death of their mother Jwali Devi. 

In this case, a claim petition under Section 163-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988  was filed by the appellants seeking compensation on account of the death of their mother who died in a motor vehicular accident (caused by a bus) in 2005. It was stated that the bus was being driven at high speed rashly and negligently when it struck the deceased and crushed her. The bus was not insured thus, the compensation was awarded against the first and the second respondents jointly and severally. 

The MACT, Chandigarh while granting compensation, came to the conclusion that the deceased was 70-80 years of age and her income was assessed @ Rs.12,000/- per annum with the deduction of 1/3rd. A multiplier of 4 was awarded, apart from awarding Rs.2,500/- as funeral expenses and Rs.2,500/- as a loss to the estate.

While assailing the award passed by MACT, Chandigarh, counsel for the claimants relied upon law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Lata Wadhwa vs. State of Bihar to claim that the deceased was a housewife and thus her income ought to have been assessed @ Rs.20,000/- per annum. 

The appeal on behalf of the first two respondents was argued by the Senior Standing Counsel, U.T. The Counsel argued that the deceased was 80 years of age and thus a multiplier of 4 was rightly awarded. She being dependent on her grandchildren even for her own chores, the income assessed @ Rs.12,000/- per annum is on the higher side, contended the Counsel. 

The finding recorded on the aspect of rash and negligent act on part of the bus driver was not disturbed by the Court as the same was not challenged and also on the ground that the claim petition was filed under Section 163-A of the Act. 

Coming to the compensation part, the Court opined that the income of the deceased was assessed at a lower side. 

Further, after perusing the law laid down in Lata Wadhwa (Supra) and Deepal Girishbhai Soni vs. United India Insurance Company Limited, the Court held that the income of the deceased is to be assessed @ Rs.20,000/- per annum which shall have a further component of 40% for future prospects. Further, the Court held that the deceased being more than 65 years of age, the multiplier applicable will be of 5 and thus the Court held that keeping in view the large family of the deceased, 1/4th deduction shall be made to calculate dependency. Lastly, the Court held that the claimants were further entitled to Rs.10,000/- as funeral expenses and Rs.30,000/- each as loss of consortium and Rs.10,000/- as loss to the estate. 

Thus, the present appeal was allowed and the award of the MACT, Chandigarh impugned under the present appeal was modified to the extent as stated hereinabove.

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