Vikas (Minor) And Ors. vs Ram Bhool And Ors. on 18 November, 2003

Punjab-Haryana High Court
Vikas (Minor) And Ors. vs Ram Bhool And Ors. on 18 November, 2003
Equivalent citations: (2004) 138 PLR 49
Author: A Mohunta
Bench: A Mohunta


JUDGMENT

Ashutosh Mohunta, J.

1. The appeal is directed against the award dated 9.10.1990 given by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Gurgaon.

2. Madan Lal, his wife Smt. Meena alias Maina, his son Vikas (present appellant) were on their way from Gurgaon to Faridabad on scooter bearing No. HYW-917 on 17.8.1989 at about 5.15 P.M., when they were knocked down by the truck bearing registration No. DIG-3345. Madan Lal, who was 43 years of age and was working as Assistant Manager with the Eicher Tractors Limited, Faridabad, died at the spot. His wife Smt. Meena, who was aged about 38 years and was a J.B.T. Teacher, suffered serious injuries and remained hopitalised at Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi, for 15 days and thereafter she succumbed to her injuries. Vikas was aged 11 years at that time and was studying in sixth class at the relevant time, suffered permanent disability, underwent pain and suffering and thus, he became crippled for the whole life. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Gurgaon (for short ‘the Tribunal’) has recorded the permanent disability at 50 per cent. However, later on C.M. No. 2153-CII of 1999 has been filed in this Court, wherein a prayer has been made to place on record the original medical certificate issued by the District Medical Officer on behalf of the Civil Surgeon, Hisar, as well as the estimate for the treatment which Vikas is required to undergo after the pronouncement of the award of the Tribunal. The said application is allowed and the documents are taken on record. In the medical certificate issued by the District Medical Officer, Hisar, it has been stated that Vikas has suffered 70 per cent permanent disability. He is still required to undergo surgery of his right knee and the estimated cost for the same has been stated to be about Rs. 60,000/-. The Tribunal awarded total compensation of Rs. 1,44,000/- to both Vikas and his grandmother Smt. Ishwar Devi with regard to the death of his father Madan Lai. A compensation of Rs. 1,44,000/- was granted to Vikas on account of the death, of his mother Smt. Meena. For the disability suffered by Vikas (minor) the Tribunal awarded a compensation of Rs. 60,000/-. For the expenses incurred by him on his treatment as well as on account of the pain and suffering, the Tribunal awarded Rs. 40,000/-. Thus, a total compensation of Rs. 1,10,000/- for the disability suffered and the pain and suffering undergone by Vikas has been awarded to him. To challenge the award, Vikas has filed the present appeal.

3. It has been contended by the learned counsel for the appellant that the Tribunal has awarded the compensation at a meager rate. It has been submitted that the Tribunal erred in applying the multiplier of 12 with regard to the deaths of Madan Lal, who was 43 years of age and Smt. Meena, who was 38 years of age, at the time of the accident. The counsel contends that at least the multiplier of 20 should have been applied. Further contention of the learned counsel for the appellant is that the dependency of Vikas has been assessed to the tune of Rs. 1,000/-, which is also on the very lower side. The counsel contends that Vikas was only 11 years of age when he was orphaned and he has suffered 70 per cent permanent disability. The enjoyment and prospects of life have diminished. Mr. Bhandari submits that while awarding compensation the Court should not only calculate pecuniary damages but special damages should also be awarded to the victim. In support of his contention, he has placed reliance on the dictum of their Lordships of Hon’ble the Supreme Court in R.D. Hattangadi v. Pest Control (India) Pvt. Ltd., (1995-2)110 Punjab Law Reporter 298.

4. I find merit in the contentions raised by the learned counsel for the appellant.

5. It has come on record that Madan Lal, father of the appellant was drawing a salary of Rs. 2,771/- per month at the time of his death in the year 1989. After deducting one-third expenses upon himself, he could contribute at least Rs. 18,000/- towards his family. The Tribunal has erred in calculating the dependency of the family to the tune of Rs. 1,000/-. The Tribunal has also erred in applying the multiplier of 12 while calculating the compensation to be paid to the appellant and his grand mother Smt. Ishwar Devi. Madan Lal was 43 years of age at the time of his death. According to the normal circumstances he would have been in service at least upto age of 58 years. Thereafter, he would have been entitled either to the pension or lump sum retiral benefits. Keeping these circumstances into consideration I am of the considered opinion that it would be appropriate if the multiplier of 15 is applied for calculating the compensation to be paid to the appellant. But considering the monthly dependency of the appellant on Madan Lal to the tune of Rs. 1,800/-, the annual dependence will come to Rs. 21,600/-. By applying the multiplier of 15, the total compensation for the death of Madan Lal will come to Rs. 3,24,000/-. Thus, 1 order that the appellant shall be entitled to the compensation of Rs. 3,24,000/- on account of the death of his father Madan Lal.

6. Now coming to the amount of compensation which has been ordered to be paid to the appellant by the Tribunal, it has come on record that Smt. Meena, mother of the appellant was 38 years of age at the time of her death. She was drawing the monthly salary of Rs. 1814.25. Usually the personal expenses of the women are less as compared to the gents. In case she was spending Rs. 500A on herself, it means that she was contributing at least Rs. 1,300/- towards her family. Here also the Tribunal has erred in assessing the monthly dependency of the appellant on her at Rs. 1,000/-. The Tribunal has also erred in applying the multiplier of ’12’ for calculating the compensation to be paid to the appellant. She was merely 38 years of age at the time of her death in the year 1989. She was in Government service and was employed as a J.B.T. Teacher. She had still 20 years of service to render. Thereafter, she would have become entitled to the grant of pension and other pensionary benefits under the Government rules. By considering the monthly contribution of Smt. Meena towards the family at the rate of Rs. 1300/-, the annual dependency of the family would come to Rs. 15,600/-/ I am of the considered opinion that multiplier of 17 would be most appropriate for calculating the compensation to be paid to the appellant on account of the death of his mother Smt. Meena. By applying the multiplier of 17, the total compensation which the appellant would be entitled to for the death of his mother, would come to Rs. 2,67,000/-. It is ordered that the said amount of Rs. 2,67,000/- be paid to the appellant on account of the death of his mother Smt. Meena.

7. Now coming to the compensation which the appellant would be entitled on account of the injuries suffered by him in the accident. 1 am of the considered view that the Tribunal has been very unfair towards the appellant while granting the compensation for the injuries suffered by him as well as the expenses incurred by him on his treatment. It has come on record that Vikas was 11 years of age at the time of the accident, in which he lost his parents. Learned counsel for the appellant has argued that the treatment of Vikas is still going on and he has suffered 70 per cent permanent disability. In R.D. Hattangadi’s case it has been held by their Lordships of the Supreme Court that while fixing “an amount of compensation payable to a victim of an accident, the damages have to be assessed separately as pecuniary damages and special damages’. Pecuniary damages are those which the victim has actually incurred and which are capable of being calculated in terms of money’ whereas non-pecuniary damages are those which are incapable of being assessed by arithmetical calculation. In order to appreciate two concepts pecuniary damages may include expenses incurred by the claimant: (i) medical attendance; (ii) loss of earning of profit upto the date of trial; (iii) other medical loss. So far non-pecuniary damages are concerned, they may include :(i) damages for mental and physical shock, pain suffering already suffered or likely to be suffered in future; (ii) damages to compensate for the loss of amenities of life which may include a variety of matters, i.e. on account of injury the claimant may not be able to walk, run or sit ; (iii) damages for the loss of expectation of life, i.e. on account of injury the normal longevity of the person concerned is shortened, disappointment, frustration and mental stress in life. “As already mentioned above, in the present case the appellant was only 11 years of age when he suffered fracture on the right knee and right leg. His right leg was shortened by one inch. It shows he has been crippled permanently, when he had still not cross his childhood for whole of his life. He has suffered 70 per cent permanent disability. He lost his father and mother in his childhood. The appellant cannot keep his legs straight. Whole charm of his life has gone. The accident has affected adversely his studies and further prospects in life. He has been deprived of the love and affection of the parents for all times to come. The appellant has also produced on record estimate of the surgery which he was still required to undergo from Dr. P.S. Maini of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi (Annexure A1). According to the said estimate, the cost of surgery in the year 1998 would be Rs. 60,000/-. The Tribunal has granted him Rs. 10,000/- for the expenses incurred by him on his treatment as well as on medicines; Rs. 60,000/- for the disability suffered by him; and Rs. 40,000/- on account of pain and suffering undergone by him. In this way, a total compensation of Rs. 1,10,000/- has been granted to the appellant on account of the injuries suffered by him in the accident in question. The amount awarded by the Tribunal is much on the lower side. Keeping in view all these circumstances, I award Rs. 1,00,000/- for the 70 per cent disability suffered by the appellant, Rs. 50,000/- for the expenses incurred on the medical treatment; Rs. 80,000/- for the pain and suffering; and Rs. 1,00,000/- for the loss of future prospects suffered by the appellant. Thus, the total compensation of Rs. 3,30,000/- is awarded to the appellant on account of the injury suffered by him in the accident.

8. To sum up, the appellant is awarded Rs. 3,24,000/- on account of the death of his father Madan Lal; Rs. 2,67,000/- on account of the death of his mother Smt. Meena; and Rs. 3,30,000/- for the injury suffered by the appellant himself in the accident. Thus, the total compensation which the appellant is entitled to comes to Rs. 9,21,000/-. The appellant will also be entitled to the award of interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition before the Tribunal, till realisation. The respondents shall be liable to pay the compensation along with interest to the appellant jointly and severally.

The appeal is accordingly, allowed.

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