10 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Smt. Meena Pawaia & Ors Vs. Ashraf Ali & Ors.

MANU/SC/1088/2021

18.11.2021

Motor Vehicles

Even if deceased was not earning at the time of death, his legal heirs are entitled to future prospects

The original claimants have preferred the present appeal against impugned judgment passed by the High Court, by which the High Court has partly allowed the said appeal preferred by the Union of India/Railways and has reduced the amount of compensation from Rs.12,85,000 (awarded by the claims tribunal) to Rs.6,10,000¬, the original claimants have preferred the present appeal.

While awarding the future economical loss, when the deceased died at the young age 21¬-22 years and was not earning at the time of death/accident, as per catena of decisions of this court, the income for the purpose of determining the future economic loss is always done on the basis of guesswork considering many circumstances namely the educational qualification and background of the family, etc. Therefore looking to the educational qualification and the family background and, the deceased was having a bright future studying in the 3rd year of civil engineering, present Court is of the opinion that, the income of the deceased at least ought to have been considered at least Rs.10,000¬ per month.

The next question which is posed for the consideration before present court is whether anything further is required to be added towards the future rise in income? It is submitted that as the deceased was not serving and earning at the time of accident/death nothing further is to be added towards the future prospect/future rise in income.

In case of a deceased, who was not earning and/or not doing any job and/or self employed at the time of accident/death, his income is to be determined on the guesswork looking to the circumstances. Once such an amount is arrived at, he shall be entitled to the addition over the future prospect/future rise in income. It cannot be disputed that, the rise in cost of living would also affect such a person.

As observed by this court in the case of National Insurance Company Limited vs. Pranay Sethi and Others, the determination of income while computing compensation has to include future prospects so that the method will come within the ambit and sweep of just compensation as postulated under Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act. It is not expected that the deceased who was not serving at all, his income is likely to remain static and his income would remain stagnant.

Even in case of a deceased who was not serving at the time of death and had no income at the time of death, their legal heirs shall also be entitled to future prospects by adding future rise in income as held by this court in the case of Pranay Sethi i.e. addition of 40% of the income determined on guesswork considering the educational qualification, family background etc., where the deceased was below the age of 40 years.

In the present case, the claimants shall be entitled to future economic loss at Rs.14,000¬ per month. The deceased at the time of accident was aged between 21-¬22 years. Therefore, the multiplier has to be adopted/applied considering the age of the deceased and not the age of the parents thus, multiplier 18 would apply. Therefore, the claimants shall be entitled to Rs.15,12,000 towards the future economic loss. Claimants shall also be entitled to Rs.15,000¬ towards loss of estate, Rs.15,000/ towards funeral expenses and Rs.40,000¬ towards loss of love and affection. Thus, the claimants shall be entitled in all a sum of Rs.15,82,000 with interest thereon at the rate of 7% per annum from the date of claims petition till realization.

Impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is modified and it is held that the claimants shall be entitled a total sum of Rs.15,82,000¬ with interest thereon at the rate of 7% from the date of claims petition till the date of realization. Present appeal is partly allowed.

Tags : Compensation Reduction Legality

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