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Considering that serious injuries in a bus accident had rendered a businessman of nearby Thane permanently disabled and paraplegic 7 years ago, the Bombay High Court has enhanced compensation awarded to him by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal from Rs 10.61 lakh to Rs 41.31 lakh.
“The right to life in Article 21 of the Constitution means something more than survival of animal existence. It would include within its ambit the right to live with human dignity, right to health, right to potable water, right to pollution-free environment and right to education, which have been held to be part of right to life”, observed a bench.

“In case of death, initial shock for the family gives way to a feeling of resignation and acceptance. The case of a permanently disabled person is more pitiable and the feeling of hurt, helplessness, despair and often destitution endures every day”, according to the Justice Abhay Oak who headed the bench.

“The support that is needed by a severely handicapped person comes at an enormous price, physical, financial and emotional, not only on the victim but even more so on his family and attendants and the stress saps their energy and destroys their equanimity”, the judges observed.

The bench ordered the Thane Municipal Transport Undertaking to pay the petitioner, Shaikh Farooq Mohammad (Gaouse), the enhanced compensation amount of Rs 30.70 lakh within three months.

The Tribunal had earlier awarded Rs 10.61 lakh.

The high court ordered that this sum would be paid to the claimant along with interest of 7.5 per cent from the date of his claim till the payment is realised.

For the balance amount of Rs 30.70 lakh, the Thane Transport Undertaking was asked to pay interest at 7.5 per cent from the date of the impugned order of the Tribunal (August 16, 2008) till the payment is made.

The court also held that of the total compensation amount available for disbursement, 25 per cent of the sum shall be paid to the claimant by cheque and the rest equally divided and invested in two separate fixed deposits with a nationalised bank.



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