8 July 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Chandra and Ors. vs. Mukesh Kumar Yadav and Ors.

MANU/SC/0752/2021

01.10.2021

Motor Vehicles

In absence of salary certificate, the minimum wage notification can be a yardstick but cannot be an absolute to fix the income of deceased

In instant case, unfortunate parents who lost their son aged about 32 years in the motor vehicle road accident are before present Court claiming enhancement of compensation arising out of an application filed under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The Tribunal by judgment has awarded the total compensation of Rs.10,99,700 with interest @ 6% p.a. The Appellant-parents alone have filed appeal before the High Court. The High Court by impugned judgment dismissed the appeal.

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 AW¬1 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. 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. In 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. Merely because claimants were unable to produce documentary evidence to show the monthly income of deceased, same does not justify adoption of lowest tier of minimum wage while computing the income. There is no reason to discard the oral evidence of the wife of the deceased who has deposed that, deceased was earning around Rs.15000 per month.

In present case, the accident was on 27th February, 2016 and it is clearly proved that, the deceased was in possession of heavy vehicle driving licence and was driving such vehicle on the day of accident. In view of enormous growth of vehicle population and demand for good drivers and by considering oral evidence on record, present Court takes the income of the deceased at Rs.8000 per month for the purpose of loss of dependency. Deceased was aged about 32 years on the date of the accident and as he was on fixed salary, 40% enhancement is to be made towards loss of future prospects. At the same time, deduction of 1/3rd is to be made from the income of the deceased towards his personal expenses.

Accordingly, the income of the deceased can be arrived at Rs.7467 per month. By applying the multiplier of ‘16’ the claimants are entitled for compensation of Rs.14,33,664. As an amount of Rs.10,99,700 is already paid towards the loss of dependency the Appellant¬parents are entitled for differential compensation of Rs.3,33,964. Further, in view of the judgment of present Court in the case of Magma General Insurance Company Limited vs. Nanu Ram @ Chuhru Ram & Ors., the Appellants are also entitled for parental consortium of Rs.40,000 each. The finding of the Tribunal that, parents cannot be treated as dependents runs contrary to the judgment of this Court in the case of Sarla Verma (Smt). & Ors. vs. Delhi Transport Corporation & Anr.

The Appellants are entitled for further compensation amount of Rs.3,33,964 on account of loss of dependency and consortium amount of Rs.40,000 each. Thus total compensation payable to the Appellants is fixed at Rs.4,13,964 with interest @ 6% p.a. from the date of filing of claim petition. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Award Compensation Validity

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