S. S. BYAS, J. -
(1.)IN this appeal under section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (for bravity 'the Act') against an award of the Claims Tribunal, Jodhpur dated December 9, 1977, the grievance raised by the injured appellant is that the compensation has been quantified too low and should be raised from Rs. 11,300/- to Rs. 45,000/ -.
(2.)BRIEFLY recalled, the facts relevant for the disposal of this appeal are that at about 10. 00 A. M. on August 6, 1972, Satish Kumar and his brother Virendra Kumar were going on scooter No. D. L. M. 2836 in the city of Jodhpur. Virendra Kumar was driving the scooter while the appellant Satish Kumar was sitting on the pillion. The scooter was running at a very moderate speed. When the scooter reached Shastri Circle and took a turn to go towards Residency Road, truck No. R. J. Q. 8125 came at a terrific speed and suddenly struck the roar side of the scooter, and the right leg of the appellant. The impact and force was so big and heavy that the appellant and his brother Virendra Kumar were thrown aside and the truck dragged the scooter to a good distance. The appellant sustained multiple injuries His brother also received injuries. Both the injured persons were immediately taken to Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Jodhpur, where they were admitted as indoor patients. The appellant remained an indoor patient at Jodhpur from August 6, 1972 to November 5, 1972. Thereafter he was taken to Jaipur where it was found that his right leg had shortened by 3/4 inch and the bone-joint did not remain in order. From Jaipur he was taken to Delhi. The appellant claimed Rs. 5000/- as special damages and Rs. 40,000/- as general damages. It was alleged that respondent Devisingh was driving the truck and the accident took place due to his rash and negligent driving. The truck was owned by respondent M/s. Murlidhar Ishardas. It was insured with respondent No. 3 the New India Insurance Company. The appellant, therefore, submitted a claim under the Act for a sum of Rs. 45,030/-against the respondents, His brother Virendra Kumar also filed a separate claim, in which he demanded a sum of Rs 5000/- as compensation. Both the claim petitions were consolidated for trial. The claims were resisted by the respondents. On the conclusion of trial, both the claims were decided by a single judgment. A sum of Rs. 1808. 44 p. was allowed as compensation to Virendra Kumar while a sum of Rs. 11,300/-was allowed as compensation to the appellant by the Tribunal vide its award dated December 9, 1977. Virendra Kumar has not come-up in appeal. The respondents also did not file any appeal against the award whereby they were directed to pay the aforesaid amounts of compensation to the claimants. As such, the finding of the Tribunal that the accident took place due to the rash and negligent driving of the truck by its driver Devisingh is final for the purpose of this appeal. The appellant is dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation allowed to him. He has, therefore, come for its being raised to the amount claimed by him in his petition.
I have heard the learned counsel for the parties and gone through the case file carefully.
It was vehemently contended by Mr Singhvi, learned counsel appearing for the appellant that the compensation has been quantified too low. The appellant was a youngman approximately of 35 years of age at the time of the mishap. He was a Junior Ecologist in Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur at the time of the accident and was drawing Rs. 750/- per month as emoluments His right leg has been shortened by 3/4" and this disability is life-long This disability has discapacitated him from having various pleasures of life. He limps and cannot properly walk. He can neither run nor can play games to keep him physically fit. He also underwent great mental agony and physical pain and remained hospitalised for a considerable long-time. In these circumstances, a sum of Rs. 30,000/- allowed to him towards general damages is by no means adequate. It was, on the other hand, contended by the learned counsel appearing for the respondents that the appellants future prospects of promotion etc. have not been bleaked or jeopardised by the shortening of his leg. He, thus, suffered no pecuniary loss nor is there any apprehension for of such a loss coming to him in future. The Tribunal has taken all these factors into consideration. Therefore, the quantum of compensation fixed by the Tribunal should not be disturbed and deserves to be maintained. I have taken the respective submissions into consideration.
The law is well settled and I do not detain myself for long to discuss the various aspects which are taken into consideration for awarding compensation in the accident cases. However, it may be added that in the case of personal injury caused to a claimant in a motor accident, compensation, special as well as general, is awarded. The special compensation includes the expenses which the injured incurs in his treatment, loss of income for the period he is unable to carry out his profession and so on and so forth. The general compensation is awarded for physical pain and suffering, mental agony, prospects of the loss of future earnings, loss of emenities, the shortening of life due to the injury etc. These are the various factors which are generally taken into consideration while assessing compensation under the special head. It may be noted that there is a consensus of judicial precedents on the point that when general compensation is quantified, the status of claimant in his life has little significance. It is the injury sustained by the injured which is material and not his status in life. The injury will cause the same pain, suffering and agony to the sufferer, irrespective of the fact whether he is a pauper or prince, whether he rolls in luxury or sleeps in open with no roof over his head. The injury does not make any different in causing pain or agony to the victim.
The assessment of compensation in cases of personal injury presents various difficulties. It is really a perplexing and stupendous task, to say as to what would be just compensation to compensate a person who has lost his limb or has sustained permanent disability. It would be apposite here to notice what Lord Benning observed in Ward versus Jones (1):- "money cannot renews a physical frame that has been battered and shattered. All that Judges and courts can do is to award sums which must be regarded as giving reasonable compensation. In the process there must be endeavour to secure some uniformity in the general method of approach. By common assent awards must be reasonable and must be assessed with moderation. Furthermore, it is eminently desirable that so far as possible comparable injuries should be compensated by comparable awards. When all this is said, it still must be that amounts which are awarded are to a considerable extent conventional. Award of damages in personal injury cases is basically a conventional figure derived from experience and from awards in comparable cases. "
(3.)THUS, in a case involving the loss of limb or its permanent inability or impairment, it is difficult to say with precise certainty as to what compensation would be adequate to the sufferer. The reason is that the loss of a human limb or its permanent impairment cannot be measured or converted in terms of money. The Courts still today have not been able to invent any standard or uniform formula to measure the compensation to compensate the sufferer for the loss of his limb or permanent disability. It is why the legislature has wisely left it to the discretion of the Court to say as to what compensation would be just in a given case. Section 110-B of the Act casts a duty on the Tribunal to fix compensation which appears to be just. THUS, the assessment of compensation when left to the discretion of the Tribunal to a good extent, becomes a guess work. The scope of arbitrariness in a guess work cannot be altogether rules out.
It is true, as discussed above, that no set formula has been invented so far to assess, the compensation in personal injury cases. But, at the same time, judicial pronouncements have been made from time to time laying down the broad principles and guidelines which are to be kept in view in discharging this difficult task of assessing the compensation. They are (1) the quantum of compensation should be reasonable and should be assessed with moderation. If somebody is to err, it should be in the liberal side rather than conservative and (2) so far possible, the compensation should be more or less that which has been hither to awarded in similar or comparable or like cases.
In the instant case, the appellant was examined by the Medical Jurist AW 6 Dr. P. Dayal. He found the following injuries on his person:- " (1) Deformity at the middle of right thigh. (2) Lacerated wound at the gum at the site of left upper central incisor. The tooth that is the left upper central incisor had exfoliated. (3) Abrasion two c. m. x 1. 5 c. m. on the anterior aspect of the left leg in the region of left knee joint. "