(1.) These two appeals arising out of the same accident are directed against two separate judgments bearing the same date, i.e. 27-2-2013 passed by the learned Member, Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Court No. 4, West Tripura in T.S. (MAC) No 128 of 2012 and T.S.(MAC) No. 134 of 2012 awarding compensations to two sets of claimants.
(2.) The factum of the vehicular accident taking place on 27-1-2012 resulting in the death of one Shibhu Singh, husband of the claimant-respondent No. 1 and father of the claimant respondent No. 2 in the first of the appeals and of the death of one Haladhar Malakar, husband of the claimant-respondent No. 1 of the second of the appeals, is not in dispute. In the first of the appeal, the deceased died leaving behind him his wife, the claimant-respondent No. 1 and his minor-daughter, was found to be 28 years old at the time of the accident and was a bus driver by occupation and earned an income of",000/- per month at the time of the accident. In the second of the appeals, i.e. MAC Appeal No. 133 of 2013, the deceased was found to be a bachelor at the age of 23 years, when he died of the vehicular accident and is survived by his mother, was aged about 48 years, and was found to be a driver and earning",000/- per month. The claim petition was filed by his mother. Three contentions advanced by Mr. P. Gautam, the learned counsel for the appellant/insurer in both the appeals to attack the impugned judgment, are (i) the Tribunal has erred in adopting the multiplier of 17 on the basis of the age of the deceased for the purpose of multiplier and not on the age of the parents; (ii) the imposition of penal interest of 9% per annum on the compensation is ex facie illegal and without jurisdiction and (iii) the Tribunal also committed illegality by making addition of future income to the extent of 30% when the legality of the decision rendered by the Apex Court in Sarla Verma v. DTC, (2009) 6 SCC 121 has been referred to a larger Bench by the Apex Court in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pushpa, (2015) 9 SCC 166 and is yet to be decided. He, therefore, strenuously urges this Court to set aside the impugned judgment or otherwise modifies thereof so that the claimants-respondents in both the appeals are not granted disproportionate and excessive amount of compensations. The impugned judgment is, however, supported by the Mr. H. Debnath, the learned counsel for the claimant-respondents and submits that the compensations were granted by the Tribunal after taking into account all materials available on record and justly, for which the interference is not called for. He also submits that the fact that the decision of the Apex Court in Sarla Verma (supra) adding 30% in income towards future prospects of the deceased cannot be given a go by merely because a larger Bench is now reconsidering that decision; he informs this Court that the larger Bench has neither stayed Sarla Verma case nor disposed of till now.
(3.) I have given my anxious consideration to the rival submissions made on behalf of the learned counsel appearing for both the parties. I have also carefully gone through the materials on record and the findings of the Tribunal. In so far as addition of future income of the deceased to the extent of 30% as future prospects is concerned, the law holding the field until and unless interfered with by the Apex Court, I find force in the contention of the learned counsel for the claimant-respondents inasmuch as the decision in Sarla Verma as explained in Rajesh v. Rajbir Singh, (2013) 9 SCC 54 is yet to be interfered with by the larger Bench of the Apex Court. This is what the Apex Court said in Rajesh case (supra):
"9. In Rajesh v. Rajbir Singh, (2013) 9 SCC 54, a three-Judge Bench, delivered the judgment on 12-4-2013, opining thus: (SCC p. 61, paras 8-9)
"8. Since, the Court in Santosh Devi v. National Insurance Co. Ltd., (2012) 6 SCC 421 actually intended to follow the principle in the case of salaried persons as laid down in Sarla Verma v. DTC, (2009) 6 SCC 121 and to make it applicable also to the self-employed and persons on fixed wages, it is clarified that the increase in the case of those groups is not 30% always; it will also have a reference to the age. In other words, in the case of self-employed or persons with fixed wages, in case, the deceased victim was below 40 years, there must be an addition of 50% to the actual income of the deceased while computing future prospects. Needless to say that the actual income should be income after paying the tax, if any. Addition should be 30% in case the deceased was in the age group of 40 to 50 years.
9. In Sarla Verma case (supra), it has been stated that in the case of those above 50 years, there shall be no addition. Having regard to the fact that in the case of those self-employed or on fixed wages, where there is normally no age of superannuation, we are of the view that it will only be just and equitable to provide an addition of 15% in the case where the victim is between the age group of 50 to 60 years so as to make the compensation just, equitable, fair and reasonable. There shall normally be no addition thereafter." ;