New Delhi, October 4, 2021: The Supreme Court has observed that in absence of salary certificate, the minimum wage notification can be a yardstick, but at the same time cannot be an absolute one to fix the income of the deceased.
A Division Bench of Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that merely because claimants were unable to produce documentary evidence to show the monthly income of Shivpal (deceased), same does not justify adoption of lowest tier of minimum wage while computing the income.
The observation came pursuant to a plea filed by parents of the deceased who died in a motor vehicle road accident, seeking enhancement of compensation.
The plea stated that the Tribunal’s computation of compensation by fixing the monthly income of the deceased by adopting minimum wage notified for the skilled labour in the year 2016, was not appropriate.
As the High Court rejected their appeal for enhancement of compensation, they approached the Supreme Court.
“It is the specific case of the claimants that the deceased was possessing heavy vehicle driving licence and was earning Rs.15000/ per month. Possessing such licence and driving of heavy vehicle on the date of accident is proved from the evidence on record. Though the wife of the deceased has categorically deposed as AW1 that her husband Shivpal was earning Rs.15000/ per month, same was not considered only on the ground that salary certificate was not filed. The Tribunal has fixed the monthly income of the deceased by adopting minimum wage notified for the skilled labour in the year 2016”, observed the Apex Court.
The Top court said that in the absence of documentary evidence on record some amount of guesswork is required to be done. But at the same time the guesswork for assessing the income of the deceased should not be totally detached from reality.
Thus, the Apex Court allowed the appeal and held the appellants entitled for further compensation amount of Rs.3,33,964/ on account of loss of dependency and consortium amount of Rs.40,000/ each.