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Sumanbai And Ors. vs Dinesh And Ors. on 18 May, 2006

Madhya Pradesh High Court
Sumanbai And Ors. vs Dinesh And Ors. on 18 May, 2006
Bench: A Sapre, J Maheshwari

JUDGMENT

A.M. Sapre and J.K. Maheshwari, JJ.

1. This is an appeal filed by the claimants under Section 173 of Motor Vehicles Act against an award dated 4.9.2004, passed by First Addl. Member, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Indore in Claim Case No. 271 of 2003. By impugned award, the Claims Tribunal awarded a total sum of Rs. 3,43,000 with interest to the claimants for the death of one Arjun Singh, who died in vehicular accident. According to the claimants, the compensation awarded is on a lower side and hence, it needs to be enhanced. It is for claiming enhancement in the compensation awarded by the Tribunal, the claimants have come up in appeal. So the question that arises for consideration is, whether any case for enhancement in compensation awarded by the Tribunal on facts/evidence is made out and if so to what extent?

2. Heard Mr. Manish Jain, the learned Counsel for the appellants and Mr. Rajesh Salvi, the learned Counsel for respondent No. 3.

3. It is not necessary to narrate the entire facts in detail such as how the said accident occurred? Who was negligent in driving the offending vehicle? It is for the reason that, firstly, all these findings are recorded in favour of claimants by the Tribunal. Secondly, none of these findings though recorded in claimants’ favour are under challenge at the instance of any of the respondents such as owner/driver, or insurance company either by way of cross-appeal or cross-objection. In this view of the matter, we do not wish to burden our judgment by detailing facts on all these issues.

4. As observed supra it is a death case. One Arjun Singh aged around 30 years and employed in Shreenath Dairy met with a motor accident on 25.4.2003 and died giving rise to filing of claim petition by his legal representatives seeking compensation for his death out of which this appeal arises. The matter was contested by the respondents. Parties adduced evidence. The Tribunal by impugned award partly allowed the claim petition. It awarded a sum of Rs. 3,43,000 towards compensation to the claimants. The Claims Tribunal held that deceased’s yearly income was Rs. 24,000, i.e., Rs. 2,000 per month. Deducting 1/3rd from the total income, the Tribunal took Rs. 18,000 by way of dependency and applying multiplier of 17 awarded a total sum of Rs. 3,06,000 by way of compensation. In addition an amount of Rs. 17,000 was also awarded towards compensation under conventional heads thereby making a total of Rs. 3,23,000. A sum of Rs. 20,000 was also awarded towards the damage caused to the motor cycle. This is how a sum of Rs. 3,43,000 was awarded as compensation payable to claimants. It is this determination which is sought to be impugned in this appeal by claimants, inter alia, contending that it should be enhanced reasonably.

5. So the question that arise in this appeal is whether any case for further enhancement is made out and if so to what extent?

6. We have gone through the evidence adduced by the claimants. The documentary evidence tendered by the claimants, i.e., Exh. P15 on the question of income of deceased, i.e., monthly salary of Rs. 4,000 should have been accepted by the Tribunal. We do not concur with this finding of the Tribunal as in our opinion the Tribunal erred in taking the deceased’s monthly income at Rs. 2,000. It should have been taken at Rs. 4,000 on the strength of Exh. PI5 which is duly proved by claimant. In this way, after deducting 1/3rd, we get a Rs. 2,650 for working out the compensation as monthly dependency and Rs. 31,800 as yearly.

7. In view of aforesaid, the claimants are held entitled to claim a total sum of Rs. 31,800 x 17 : Rs. 5,40,600. In addition a sum of Rs. 37,000 already awarded by the Claims Tribunal which does not call for any enhancement makes the total of Rs. 5,40,600 + Rs. 37,000 : Rs. 5,77,600.

8. The compensation awarded to the claimants is just, reasonable and proper looking to the facts and circumstances of the case and taking into account the law laid down by the Supreme Court in these types of cases. Indeed in such cases, no fixed and any static formula is provided for determining the compensation and the same is required to be determined on the basis of evidence adduced and the relevant factors mentioned supra. It is on this basis, the courts have to work out award of reasonable compensation.

9. Learned Counsel for the appellants has cited some authorities for claiming enhancement. We have gone through these authorities. In our opinion and as observed supra, every case depends upon facts of each case and one cannot rely upon the cases for awarding compensation.

10. In this view of the matter, the appeal succeeds and is allowed in part. Impugned award is modified to the extent indicated above. The enhanced sum will carry interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date of application till realization. All other findings are upheld being not under challenge.

Counsel’s fee Rs. 1,500, if certified.

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