IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS DATED: 28.01.2010 CORAM THE HONOURABLE Mrs.JUSTICE R.BANUMATHI and THE HONOURABLE Mr.JUSTICE M.M.SUNDRESH C.M.A.No. 20 of 2004 1.P.Natarajan 2.Chandra 3.Porkodi 4.Rajalakshmi 5.Manimaran 6.Rajendran (Minor) 7.Ramachandran (Minor) 8.Pushpa (Minor) ... Appellants Appellants 6 to 8 are minors and represented by their father and natural guardian P.Natarajan ..vs.. 1.Krishnan 2.The New India Assurance Co. Ltd., 46, Moore Street Chennai 600 001 ... Respondents Prayer: Civil Miscellaneous Appeal filed under section 173 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, against the judgment and decree dated 28.6.2002 and made in MACT OP.No.661 of 1998, on the file of Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (Principal District Judge), Tiruvannamalai. For Appellants : Mr.A.N.Vishwanatha Rao For Respondents : Mr.M.Krishnamoorthy JUDGMENT
(Judgment of the Court is made by R.BANUMATHI.J)
Being dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation, parents of deceased Rajagopal have filed this appeal.
2.Deceased Rajagopal passed M.B.B.S in the year 1997 and he was running a clinic under the name and style of “Chandra Clinic” in Koovathur. On 11.3.1998 at 4.50pm Rajagopal was travelling from Koovathur towards Chengalpattu in his bike bearing Registration No. TN 22 E 3248. While he was approaching Vittilapuram Village, the lorry bearing Registration No. TN 09E 3209 driven in a rash and negligent manner came from behind and hit against Rajagopal and caused the accident. In the accident, the deceased sustained fracture in the head and multiple injuries all over the body and immediately he was taken to Chengalpattu Medical College Hospital for treatment and he died on his way to the hospital. Regarding the accident a criminal case was also registered in Cr. No.137/8 in E.3, Sadras Police Station. It is stated that the deceased was running a clinic in the name and style of ‘Chandra clinic’ and that he was selected for the post of Assistant Divisional Medical Officer in Indian Railways and salary for the said post was Rs.15,500/- per month. Parents of Rajagopal have filed claim petition claiming compensation of Rs.50,00,000/-.
3.Respondents resisted the claim petition inter alia denying negligent driving of the lorry. Appellant Insurance Company also denied the income of deceased Rajagopal.
4.To substantiate appellant’s claim, 2nd claimant- mother was examined as PW1 and one Mr.Sudhakar was examined as PW2 and Exs.A1 to A11 were marked on the claimants’ side. No evidence was adduced on the respondents’ side.
5.Upon consideration of oral and documentary evidence, Tribunal held that even though Rajagopal was a qualified Medical Practitioner, there was no evidence to show his actual income. Pointing out that by running a medical shop monthly income of the deceased would have been Rs.4,900/-, Tribunal adopted multiplier of 17. After deducting 1/3rd (Rs.3,44,200/-) towards personal expenses, Tribunal has awarded compensation of Rs.7,26,000/- as under:-
Loss of Dependency : Rs. 6,96,000.00 Loss of Love and Affection : Rs. 15,000.00 Loss of Expectation of Life : Rs. 15,000.00 Rs. 7,26,000.00
6.Challenging the quantum of compensation, learned counsel for appellants submitted that the deceased was a partner in “Nataraj Medicals” and was also running a clinic under the name and style of “Chandra Clinc”, Tribunal erred in fixing a very low sum of Rs.4,900/- as monthly income of deceased Rajagopal. It was further contended that the deceased was selected for the post of Assistant Divisional Medical Officer in Indian Railways (Ex.A11) and Tribunal erred in brushing aside Ex.A11 and erred in not taking into account the future prospects of the deceased.
7.We have heard Mr.M.Krishnamoorthy, learned counsel for 2nd Respondent Insurance Company. It is not necessary for us to narrate the entire facts, such as how the accident happened, who was negligent and who is liable to pay the compensation. It is for the reason that these things are recorded in favour of the claimant by the Trial Court and secondly none of the above findings are under challenge. Only the quantum of compensation is in dispute.
8.In her evidence PW1 mother of the deceased has stated that her son was a Doctor by profession and that he was running a clinic in the name and style of ‘Chandra clinic’. Ex.A7 is the Medical Registration Certificate of Rajagopal. That apart he was also a partner in ‘Nataraj Medicals’ along with other partner Udaya Suriyan. Ex.A9 is the licence issued for the Medical Shop in Koovathur Village. PW1 has further stated that her son’s monthly income was Rs.16,000/- per month and the Tribunal has taken the monthly income of deceased at Rs.4900/- per month on the ground that no material was produced to prove the income of the deceased. Even though no document was produced, the fact remains that deceased Rajagopal was a qualified Medical Practitioner and Ex.A11 has been filed to prove that deceased has been selected for the post of Assistant Divisional Medical Officer in Indian Railways. Ex.A10 is the Admission Certificate and Mark Sheet issued by UPSC. Had the deceased joined the said post, he would have got the salary more than Rs.15,000/- per month.
9.As held by Supreme Court in 2003 ACJ 1775 [Divisional Controller, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Mahadevashetty & Anorther], Courts have awarded ‘Just compensation’. Compensation awarded has to be equitable, fair and reasonable. While awarding compensation, future prospects have to be taken into consideration. For determining quantum of compensation, Court should bear in mind the potential future income. Even though deceased was a qualified Medical Practitioner, the Tribunal did not keep in view the future prospects of the deceased.
10.Had the deceased been alive, he would have either joined the post of Assistant Divisional Medical Officer in Indian Railways or the deceased might have developed his clinic and would have earned more. Having regard to the nature of the profession, age of the deceased and other relevant factors, it is reasonable to presume that there is sufficient scope for increase of income. Having regard to the profession of the deceased and his age, in our considered view, income of the deceased is to be fixed at Rs.15,000/- per month. Deducting Rs.5,000/- (15,000 x 1/3) per month for personal expenses, the contribution of the deceased to his parents is calculated at Rs.10,000/-.
11.The next point to be considered is choice of multiplier. Father, mother, brothers and sisters of the deceased Rajagopal are the claimants. At the time of death, deceased was aged 24 years. Taking into account age of the deceased, as per II Schedule Tribunal has adopted multiplier 17. As held by the Supreme Court in 2008 AIR SCW 1238 [Ramesh Singh & Anr Vs. Satbir Singh & Anr], choice of multiplier would depend upon age of deceased or of claimants whichever is higher. When the claimants parents were aged 51 and 45 respectively, the Tribunal was not justified in applying multiplier 17 based on the age of the deceased.
12.First claimant father is aged 51 years and as per II Schedule multiplier applicable would be 11. Second claimant mother is aged 45 years and as per II Schedule multiplier applicable would be 13. Even though brothers and sisters are the claimants, their age cannot be taken into consideration for adopting the multiplier. Taking the age of father and mother, we are adopting the multiplier 12, being average of 11 plus 13.
13.Even though we adopt multiplier 12, after few years deceased Rajagopal would have married and his attention and love and affection would have been partly diverted towards his wife and children. Deceased would have contributed Rs.10,000/- per month to his parents for the initial multiplier period of 6 years. For the rest of multiplier period of 6 years, the deceased would have contributed less to his parents, brothers and sisters, which we fix at Rs.7,500/- per month. Total loss of dependency is calculated at Rs.12,60,000/- as under:-
Initial period of 6 years (Rs.10,000/- x 12 x 6) : Rs. 7,20,000.00 For the remaining 6 years (Rs.7,500/- x 12 x 6) : Rs. 5,40,000.00 Total Rs.12,60,000.00
14.In so far as the conventional damages, Tribunal has awarded Rs.15,000/- for loss of love and affection and another Rs.15,000/- for loss of expectation of life. The compensation awarded towards conventional damages is reasonable and we confirm the same. In so far as interest, Tribunal has awarded interest at the rate of 9% p.a. As per the decisions of the Supreme Court in Rajapriya’s Case (2005 AIR SCW 2542), rate of interest is reduced to Rs.7.5%. The quantum of compensation is enhanced to Rs.12,90,000/- as under:-
Loss of Dependency : Rs.12,60,000.00 Loss of Love and Affection : Rs. 15,000.00 Loss of Expectation of Life : Rs. 15,000.00 Rs.12,90,000.00 Rounded off to : Rs.13,00,000.00
Claimants 3 to 8 are entitled to compensation of Rs.75,000/- each along with accrued interest. The balance compensation of Rs.8,50,000/- along with accrued interest shall be equally apportioned amongst claimants 1 and 2.
15.In the result, the compensation amount awarded by the Tribunal in MACT OP.No.661 of 1998 is enhanced to Rs.13,00,000/-. Claimants 3 to 8 are entitled to compensation of Rs.75,000/- each along with accrued interest. The balance compensation of Rs.8,50,000/- along with accrued interest shall be equally apportioned amongst claimants 1 and 2. The second respondent insurance company is directed to deposit the entire amount payable within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order. On such deposit all the claimants are permitted to withdraw the entire amount of the modified compensation along with accrued interest. It appears that claimants 6 to 8 have already attained age of majority. After obtaining necessary orders declaring claimants 6 to 8 as major, the claimants 6 to 8 are also entitled to withdraw entire compensation amount i.e., Rs.75,000/- each along with accrued interest. No costs in this C.M.A.
The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal
(Principal District Judge),