Muktaben Himmatlal Korat And Ors. vs Fatehsinh Manroji And Ors. on 16 November, 1998

Gujarat High Court
Muktaben Himmatlal Korat And Ors. vs Fatehsinh Manroji And Ors. on 16 November, 1998
Equivalent citations: (2000) 1 GLR 393
Author: S Keshote
Bench: S Keshote


JUDGMENT

S.K. Keshote, J.

1. Heard the learned Counsel for the Petitioners.

2. The claimants-petitioners, by this Civil Revision Application under Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, challenge the order of the learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Aux.) No. 11, dated 10-7-1998 under which their application Ex. 104 in Claims Petition No. 114 of 1989 came to be decided. It is necessary to mention here that Smt. Parvatiben Dayalbhai Korat, who was one of the claimants in the main claim application has died on 23-2-1998. She was mother of deceased who died in the motor vehicle accident.

3. Under the application, the claimants-petitioners Nos. 1 and 2 prayed for withdrawal of Rs. 5,10,920/-, being the amount of compensation deposited in the Tribunal by the insurance company. The learned Tribunal has ordered that out of the total amount of compensation of Rs. 5,10,920/-, first the amount of Court-fees to be paid on the claim application has to be deducted. Out of the remainder, the sum may be equally disbursed amongst three claimants, i.e., including deceased claimant No. 3. The Tribunal has further ordered that out of the amount coming to the share of claimant No. 1, widow of deceased, Rs. 1,10,000/- be invested in any of the nationalised banks of her choice for a period of five years on the condition that the said amount shall not be encumbered upon in any manner and that no loan will be advanced upon it. Further, periodical interest accruing due upon it may be paid to the Claimant No. 1 as per rules and regulations of the bank. The balance amount of her share was ordered to be paid to her by account payee cheque.

4. One-third of Rs. 5,10,920/- comes to nearly Rs. 1,73,000/-. The order of the Tribunal to the extent where it permits withdrawal of amount of Rs. 63,000/- to the claimant No. 1 is not justified. Moreover, it is contrary to the guidelines as laid down by this Court for disbursement and investment of the amount of compensation awarded by the Tribunal in motor accident claims case in the case of Muljibhai Ajarambhai Harijan v. United Insurance Co. Ltd. , and as confirmed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lilaben Udesing Gohel v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. . I am seeing every day that despite of the fact that sufficient guidelines have been laid down by this Court as well as the Apex Court in respect of the order of disbursement and investment of the amount of compensation in such matters, still the Tribunals in the State are not adhering to those guidelines. The very purpose and object of giving these guidelines is being permitted to be frustrated by the Tribunal. No reason, good, bad or indifferent has been given to permit withdrawal of such heavy amount by widow of the victim of motor vehicle accident.

5. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Aux.) No. 11, Ahmedabad, is directed to see that while deciding the matter of disbursement and investment of the amount of compensation in motor accident claims cases, the guidelines, as laid down in respect thereof by this Court in the case of Muljibhai (supra) and as confirmed by the Apex Court in the case of Lilaben Udesing Gohel (supra) are to be strictly followed and non-compliance thereof will be taken seriously in future. The order passed by the learned Tribunal for disbursement and investment of the share of amount of compensation of claimant No. 2 is strictly in accordance with the guidelines as laid down by this Court in the case aforesaid.

6. The main grievance of the petitioners in the Civil Revision Application is that part of the order of the Tribunal, where it declined to permit them to withdraw the amount of share of compensation of claimant No. 3 (since deceased) could not have been made. They prayed for giving this amount to them in the equal share as being heirs and legal representatives of deceased claimant No. 3. However, the Tribunal has passed the order that this amount may be invested in a nationalised bank in the name of the Registrar of City Civil Court initially for a period of one year and the same should be paid to the person on production of Probate or Letter of Administration or Succession Certificate in respect of such amount before this Tribunal. The Tribunal has clarified that in case such document is produced before the period of one year, the Tribunal shall be at liberty for premature encashment of the said fixed deposit and appropriate order for the disbursement to the heirs and legal representatives of the deceased claimant No. 3. It has further ordered that if such document is not produced within the period mentioned above in respect of fixed deposit, the same shall be renewed for the further period from time to time. This approach of the Tribunal cannot be said to be 100% erroneous.

7. The claimant Nos. 1 and 2 may be one of the heirs and legal representatives of deceased claimant No. 3 but may not be the only heirs and legal representatives. There may be some other persons who may also fall in the category of heirs and legal representatives and successors for getting their share in this amount of compensation. The learned Tribunal has rightly ordered that entitlement of this amount shall only be there as per what it is provided under the Probate or Letter of Administration or Succession Certificate in respect of this amount by the competent Court. This is a perfect, legal and justified approach and in the larger interest of heirs and legal representatives of deceased claimant No. 3. However, it is difficult to appreciate the order for investment of this amount of share of claimant No. 3 only for one year initially in the fixed deposit. The rate of interest on fixed deposit receipt in the nationalised banks vary with reference to the period of investment. In case it is for a longer period, the rate of interest is higher and as a result thereof by investing the amount for small term, there is direct loss of interest to the heirs of deceased claimant No. 3. The amount is not small amount but it is substantial amount and this approach taken by the tribunal in this respect is difficult to appreciate. The Tribunal is directed to invest this amount in long term F.D.R. It is further directed that as and when the Succession Certificate or Probate or Letter of Administration is produced, then while considering the matter for disbursement of amount, the Tribunal shall adhere to the guidelines as laid down by this Court in the case of Muljibhai (supra). It may not be influenced only by the fact that this amount pertains to the deceased-claimant. It has to be kept in mind that this amount is the amount of compensation for the death of bread-earner of the family in a motor vehicle accident. Subject to die directions aforesaid, this Civil Revision Application is dismissed.

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