24 June 2024


Supreme Court

Sarnam Singh Vs. Shriram General Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ors.



Motor Vehicles

Any physical disability resulting from an accident has to be judged with reference to the nature of the work being performed by the person who suffered disability

The Appellant has filed the present appeal aggrieved against the order of High Court reducing amount of compensation. The Appellant has raised a limited argument that the order of the High Court reducing the loss of earning capacity to 80% is erroneous as the Appellant had suffered amputation of his right lower limb. He was working as gunman. As a result of the accident on account of his inability to discharge duty as gunman, his services were terminated w.e.f. 31st May, 2015. Hence, in the case of the Appellant the functional disability could not be taken as 80%. It should be taken as 100%.

The issue required to be considered in the present appeal is with the reference to the functional disability of the Appellant for the purpose of assessment of compensation. The fact remains that he suffered injuries in a road accident on account of which his right lower limb was amputated. This resulted in permanent disability.

There is a certificate produced by the Appellant from Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, (Government of NCT Delhi) showing his permanent physical disability at 85% with further note that the condition is not likely to improve and no further reassessment is recommended. The certificate was issued by a board of doctors. As per the photograph of the Appellant appearing in the disability certificate, his right leg has been amputated above the knee. The income of the Appellant, his age and other factors are not in dispute.

As to how compensation, in case where permanent disability of an injured affects his functional disability, is to be assessed has been considered by this Court, repeatedly. Reference can be made to the judgment of this Court in Mohan Soni v. Ram Avtar Tomar and Ors. wherein it is held that, any physical disability resulting from an accident has to be judged with reference to the nature of the work being performed by the person who suffered disability.

On applying the same principle to the case in hand, present Court find that the Appellant was working as a gunman with Bharat Hotel Limited. On account of amputation of his right leg above the knee, he was terminated from service w.e.f. 31st May, 2015. It is not a matter of dispute that a person with his right leg amputated cannot perform the duty of a gunman. This is his functional disability. He was 50 years & 5 months old at the time of accident.

The Tribunal was right in assessing the loss of earning capacity of the Appellant at 100% and assessing the compensation accordingly. The High Court was in error in reducing the loss of earning capacity to 80%, relying upon the judgment of High Court, despite there being a judgment of this Court available on the issue.The impugned order passed by the High Court is set aside and the award passed by the Tribunal is restored. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Compensation Reduction Legality

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