22 July 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Alifiya Husenbhai Keshariya Vs. Siddiq Ismail Sindhi and Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 457)

MANU/SC/0490/2024

27.05.2024

Civil

A person who is entitled to receive compensation cannot be said to have given up his status and can file appeal as an 'indigent person'

The sole point for consideration is whether a person who is entitled to receive compensation by way of a claim before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal can be said to have given up its status as an 'indigent person', by virtue of the amount stated to be received.

The Appellant, who was the original claimant before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, was injured in an accident, while riding pillion on a bike, which was hit by a truck. Having sustained injuries, she was admitted for medical treatment at a hospital for a period of fourteen days and subsequently she underwent plastic surgery. At the time of the accident, she was earning Rs. 3,000per month, but, post the accident, she sustained permanent disablement, and hence had not been able to work thereafter. A claim was filed for Rs. 10 lakhs with 18% interest and costs.

The Tribunal vide Award, awarded a sum of Rs. 2,41,745 with 9% interest from the date of claim petition till the date of realization and proportionate cost(s).Dissatisfied thereby, the claimant-Appellant approached the High Court by which the claimant- Appellant prayed for permission to file the said First Appeal as an indigent person. The High Court vide judgment and order dismissed the Application

The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 provides for mechanism by which a person who is indigent may file a suit or an appeal. Order XXXIII thereof pertains to filing of suits and Order XLIV deals with appeals by such persons. The intent of Orders XXXIII and XLIV is unmistakable. They exemplify the cherished principle that lack of monetary capability does not preclude a person from knocking on the doors of the Court to seek vindication of his rights.

It is unquestioned that, a person dissatisfied with the amount of compensation received can file an appeal. In the present case, for a claim of Rs. 10 lakhs, the Tribunal awarded compensation which was less than Rs. 2.5 lakhs.

The ground, upon which the claimant-Appellant's application to file the appeal as an indigent person was rejected, was that she had received compensation by way of the Award of the Tribunal, and therefore, she was not indigent. Present Court find this observation to be belied by the impugned order itself as the learned Single Judge has recorded the submission of the counsel for the claimant-Appellant that no money stood paid to her at that point in time. So even though she had been awarded a sum, her indigency was not extinguished thereby. High Court was incorrect in rejecting the Application.

There is a further ground on which present Court find that the High Court erred in not allowing the claimant-Appellant to file the appeal. The language used in Orders XXXIII and XLIV so far as deferring of payment of court fees is concerned, as was observed in Union Bank of India v. Khader Intl. Construction, that if the suit so filed, as an indigent person succeeds, the Court fee shall be deductible from the amount received as a result thereof as if the person who files the suit is not an indigent.

On both counts, one, that she had not yet received the money and, therefore, at the time of filing the appeal she was arguably indigent; and second, that the statutory requirement under the Code of Civil Procedure, was not met - the impugned judgment and order of the learned Single Judge is set aside. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Indigent person Compensation Status

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