By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 13: The Supreme Court has held that an extra 40% should be added to the income of fatal road accident victims, aged below 40 and self-employed, while calculating compensation.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said the additional amount should be included in the income of the dead person as “future prospects”.

The recent judgment, authored by Chief Justice Ramana, came in a petition filed by the children of a 37-year-old self-employed woman who died in a car accident 11 years ago, The Hindu reported.

The judgment is significant as it recognises self-employment as gainful employment and calls for an increase in the compensation amount accordingly.

Chief Justice Ramana referred to a Constitution Bench decision in National Insurance versus Pranay Sethi, which had “clearly held that in case the deceased is self-employed and below the age of 40, 40% addition would be made to their income as future prospects”.

“In the present case, the deceased was self-employed and was 37 years old, therefore, warranting the addition of 40% towards future prospects,” Chief Justice Ramana wrote.

The accident occurred on the intervening night of May 18-19, 2010. The vehicle in which the parents of the appellant-children were travelling rammed a truck near Phagwara in Punjab.

The High Court held the victim ineligible for future prospects because she was self-employed. The High Court had also deduced 50% towards personal expenses of the victim from the compensation.

The apex court however disagreed with the High Court’s conclusions. It said “deduction towards personal and living expenses for a person such as the deceased who was married with two dependents should only be one-third … Since the High Court deducted 50% it merits interference by this court”.

The Supreme Court then granted 40% addition towards “future prospects” and deducted only one-third towards personal expenses while determining the total compensation due to the woman’s family.

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