10 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Vethambal and Ors. Vs. The Oriental Insurance Company and Ors.

MANU/SC/0179/2024

06.03.2024

Motor Vehicles

Assessment of compensation cannot be done with mathematical precision

The present appeal has been preferred aggrieved against the judgment of the High Court, vide which the compensation awarded to the Appellants (claimants) by the Tribunal was reduced. The accident and the liability of the Insurance Company as such are not in dispute. The only dispute raised in the present appeal is regarding the quantum of compensation to which the Appellants are entitled to.

The basic facts, namely, the date of accident, the age of the deceased and dependency are not in dispute. There is no dispute on the negligence part also. The only issue sought to be raised is with reference to the assessment of the income of the deceased. From the material placed on record by the Appellants, it is evident that besides generating income from the land owned by the family in the form of sale of paddy and bananas, the deceased was also having income from supply of milk and coconuts to the school. There is also material available on record to show that he worked as a Government contractor. Meaning thereby, to make the lives of his family members comfortable, the deceased was multi-tasking and he was not engaged in a 9.00 to 5.00 P.M. job.

The High Court on a very conservative basis assessed the income of the deceased at Rs. 20,000 per month, bifurcating the same at Rs. 8,000 per month for supply of milk to the school, Rs. 5,000 per month from agriculture and Rs. 7,000 per month from working as a contractor. In view of material placed on record by the Appellants, income of the deceased deserves to be re-assessed as it is established that he was doing multiple works. It also came on record that after his death, the land was lying barren and was not being cultivated.

Assessment of compensation cannot be done with mathematical precision. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 also provides for assessment of just and fair compensation. Considering the material placed on record by the Appellants, and value of the labour being put in by the deceased in agriculture, it would be reasonable to assess his income at Rs. 35,000 per month. Considering his age at the time of death as 52 years on the date of accident, the applicable multiplier would be 11. Thus, the Appellants are found entitled to compensation of Rs. 38,81,500 with interest @8% from the date of filing of the claim petition till realization. The judgment of the High Court is modified. Appeal disposed off.

Tags : Compensation Reduction Legality

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