UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS Vs. USHA RANI AND OTHERS
LAWS(J&K)-2020-8-5
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Decided on August 05,2020

UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS Appellant
VERSUS
Usha Rani And Others Respondents




JUDGEMENT

Sanjeev Kumar, J. - (1.)Union of India and its functionaries are in appeal against the award dated 29th March, 2016 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jammu in Claim file No.534/C titled Usha Rani and others v. Suresh Chand and others, whereby respondent Nos. 1 to 4 (hereinafter "the claimants") have been held entitled to compensation of Rs.44,79,892/- along with pendente lite and future interest @ 7.5% per annum on account of death of one Sh. Avtar Singh.
(2.)The impugned award has been primarily assailed on quantum. It is submitted that amount of compensation awarded by the Tribunal is exorbitant and excessive. The appellants have also made a feeble attempt to even dispute the findings of fact recorded by the Tribunal on issue No.1. It is claimed that given the evidence on record, it had fairly come out that the accident involving the offending vehicle had occurred due to bad road conditions and not because of any negligence on part of the driver of the offending vehicle. This ground, however, is not pressed before me by learned Assistant Solicitor General of India, appearing for the appellants. His whole impetus was on the quantum of compensation awarded to the claimants. Relying upon few judgments of the Supreme Court, learned ASGI submits that several payments received by the claimants from the appellants on account of death of Hav. Avtar Singh, particularly, payment relating to ex-gratia, were liable to be deducted from the loss of income/dependency to the claimants. The Tribunal having failed to deduct the payments made on account of ex-gratia to the claimants has, thus, conferred double benefit on the claimants.
(3.)Per contra, Mr. R.K.Bhatia, learned counsel appearing for respondent Nos. 1 to 4 (claimants), placing reliance on the recent judgment of the Supreme Court rendered in the case of Sebastiani Lakra and others v. National Insurance Company Limited and another, 2018 AIR(SC) 5034, urges that the payments and service benefits including ex-gratia payment made to the dependents/legal heirs of the deceased employee, cannot be deducted from computation of compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, unless such payment/payments have co-relation with the motor accident. Learned counsel argues that all these payments, to which reference has been made by the appellants in the memo of appeal, are otherwise payable to the dependents of the deceased employee irrespective of the cause of death. He further submits that no such claim was made by the appellants before the Tribunal nor any policy, statutory or otherwise pertaining to the payment of ex-gratia relief, was brought on record by the appellant and it is because of this reason, the Tribunal did not frame any specific issue in this regard.
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