27 July 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Jagdish Vs. Mohan and Ors.

MANU/SC/0209/2018

06.03.2018

Motor Vehicles

Benefit of future prospects should not be confined only to those who have a permanent job and would extend to self-employed individuals

In present case, the Appellant was injured in a motor accident. The Tribunal awarded compensation of Rs. 12,81,228 for the injuries suffered by him. The High Court enhanced the award of compensation by an amount of Rs. 2,19,000. Interest of 7.5 per cent per annum has been awarded from the date of the filing of the claim. The Appellant seeks an enhancement of compensation. The Appellant was 24 years of age when the accident took place on 24th November, 2011. The accident occurred when the Appellant and another person were riding on a motor cycle.

A victim who suffers a permanent or temporary disability occasioned by an accident is entitled to the award of compensation. If the victim of an accident suffers permanent or temporary disability, then efforts should always be made to award adequate compensation not only for the physical injury and treatment, but also for the pain, suffering and trauma caused due to accident, loss of earnings and victim's inability to lead a normal life and enjoy amenities, which he would have enjoyed but for the disability caused due to the accident.

The accident took place on 24th November, 2011. The Appellant was a skilled carpenter and self-employed. The claim of the Appellant that, his earnings were Rs. 6,000 per month cannot be discarded. This claim cannot be regarded as being unreasonable or contrary to a realistic assessment of the situation on the date of the accident.

In the judgment of the Constitution Bench in Pranay Sethi, present Court has held that, the benefit of future prospects should not be confined only to those who have a permanent job and would extend to self-employed individuals. In the case of a self-employed person, an addition of 40 per cent of the established income should be made where the age of the victim at the time of the accident was below 40 years. Hence, in the present case, the Appellant would be entitled to an enhancement of Rs. 2400 towards loss of future prospects.

In making the computation in the present case, the Court must be mindful of the fact that, the Appellant has suffered a serious disability in which he has suffered a loss of the use of both his hands. For a person engaged in manual activities, it requires no stretch of imagination to understand that, a loss of hands is a complete deprivation of the ability to earn. Nothing-at least in the facts of this case-can restore lost hands. But the measure of compensation must reflect a genuine attempt of the law to restore the dignity of the being.

The Tribunal has noted that, the Appellant is unable to even eat or to attend to a visit to the toilet without the assistance of an attendant. In this background, it would be a denial of justice to compute the disability at 90 per cent. The disability is indeed total. Having regard to the age of the Appellant, the Tribunal applied a multiplier of 18. In the circumstances, the compensation payable to the Appellant on account of the loss of income, including future prospects, would be Rs. 18,14,400. In addition to this amount, the Appellant should be granted an amount of Rs. 2 lakhs on account of pain, suffering and loss of amenities.

The amount awarded by the Tribunal towards medical expenses (Rs. 98,908); for extra nourishment (Rs. 25,000) and for attendant's expenses (Rs. 1 lakh) is maintained. The Tribunal has declined to award any amount towards future treatment. The Appellant should be allowed an amount of Rs. 3 lakhs towards future medical expenses. The Appellant is thus awarded a total sum of Rs. 25,38,308 by way of compensation. The Appellant would be entitled to interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum on the compensation from the date of the filing of the claim petition. The liability to pay compensation has been fastened by the Tribunal and by the High Court on the insurer, owner and driver jointly and severally which is affirmed. The amount shall be deposited before the Tribunal and shall be paid over to the Appellant upon proper identification. The appeal is accordingly allowed.

Relevant

National Insurance Co. Limited v. Pranay Sethi MANU/SC/1366/2017
: (2017) 13 SCALE 12

Tags : Award Compensation Enhancement

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