B. N. Agrawal, J. -
(2.)By the impugned judgments rendered by Karnataka High Court in two separate appeals jointly preferred by the insurer as well as the insured, the same have been partly allowed and compensation awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has been reduced viz. in one case from Rs. 3, 13,000/- to Rs. 1,71,000/- and in another from Rs. 3.49,000/- to Rs. 1,83,000/-. While disposing of the appeals, the High Court directed that out of the compensation awarded, 25% shall be payable to fathers of the respective victims and 75% to their mothers together with proportionate interest. It was further directed that out of the amount of compensation payable to the mothers of the victims, Rs. 50,000/- shall be kept in fixed deposit in a nationalised bank for a period of five years with liberty to draw the interest.
(3.)The short facts are that one Irfan Ahammed-respondent No. 1 owned a lorry bearing No. CNG-6409 and Vazeer Ahamed and Rafeeq Ahamed, sons of the appellants of these appeals were working as a coolie therein. On 1st June, 1996, when respondent No. 1 was driving the said vehicle in which the aforesaid two persons were also travelling as coolie, the same met with an accident at 10.00 a.m. as a result of rash and negligent driving of the respondent No. 1 resulting into the deaths of Vazeer and Rafeeq for which two claims petitions were filed before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal by parents of each of the victims for awarding compensation in their favour on account of death of their sons under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). Age of victim Rafeeq was 21 years and his father's age was 45 years whereas that of his mother was 40 years. The age of another victim Vazeer was 22 years and that of his father and mother was 53 years and 45 years respectively at the time of the accident. The claimants in both the petitions claimed the income of their respective sons to be Rs. 4500/- per month. The claim was contested by the owner as well as the insurance company on grounds, inter alia, that the accident had not taken place on account of any rash or negligent act on the part of the owner in driving the vehicle. Both the cases were heard together. On behalf of the claimants, two witnesses were examined. Father of Rafeeq was examined as PW 1 and that of Vazeer as PW 2 and in their evidence, they stated that the monthly income of their sons was Rs. 3,000/-. The owner of the vehicle was examined as RW1 who, in his deposition, denied payment of Rs. 3,000/- per month to each of the victims. The Tribunal by a common judgment having found the Income of each of the victims to be Rs. 3,000/- per month, awarded compensation to the tune of Rs. 3,49,000/- in favour of the parents of Rafeeq and Rs. 3, 13,000/- in favour of those of Vazeer together with interest thereon at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing of the petition till realisation. Two different appeals were preferred before the High Court against awards of the Tribunal and each of the appeals was jointly filed by insurer as well as the insured. The High Court was of the view that the evidence in relation to income of the two victims was neither reliable nor satisfactory but found their income to be Rs. 18,000/- per annum which was little more than Rs. 1500/- per month that was prescribed as notional income as a non-earning person under the Second Schedule to the Act. After deducting 1/3rd towards personal and living expenses of the deceased, the contribution towards family was assessed at Rs. 12,000/- per annum. According to the High Court in selecting multiplier, the age of younger out of the two parents was required to be taken into consideration. As the age of the mother of Rafeeq was found to be 40 years, the High Court held that the multiplier to be applicable was 14 and compensation was reduced to Rs. 1,83,000/- from Rs. 3,49,000/-. So far Vazeer is concerned, as the age of his mother was found to be 45 years, it was held that the multiplier applicable would be 13 and consequently the compensation awarded by the Tribunal to the tune of Rs. 3, 13,000/- was reduced to Rs. 1,71,000/-. It was directed that 25% of compenpation shall be paid to the father of each of the victims and 75% to their mothers and the compensation payable to the mothers shall be kept in fixed deposit in a nationalised bank for a term of five years with liberty to draw the interest. Hence, these appeals by special leave.