A VILASINI Vs. LAXMAN DASS
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
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(1.)The present first appeal is directed against award dated 27th April. 1992 of Shri Jaswant Singh, Judge, Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Delhi. The appellant is the daughter of the deceased Shri P. K. Nair and filed an application under Section 110A of the Motor Vehicles Act for claim of compensation of Rs 1,50,000.00 as a result of the death of her late father. The brief facts are that on 2nd June, 1983 at about 11.30 a.m. the deceased who was employed as Warrant Officer in Vayu Sena Bagh, New Delhi was proceeding to his office on his bicycle. When he reached the place in front of Vayu Sena Bagh. a lorry bearing chasis no. MHP/577 driven by respondent no. 1 hit the deceased as a result of of which he fell down and sustained injuries due to which he died in the Army Hospital on 8th June. 1983. The driver of the offending vehicle was in employment of respondent no. 2. It was alleged that the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving on the part of respondent no.1. Respondent no.3 filed its written statement. The other respondents did not file any written statement and they were proceeded against ex parte. The insurance company, respondent no. 3 herein in its written statement admitted that the offending vehicle was insured with it at the time of accident. The company, however, stated that the liability was limited to the extent as mentioned in the insurancy policy. The following issues were framed on the pleadings of the parties:
1. Whether the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of vehicle No, MHP 577 by respondent 1 and caused the death of P.K.Nair?
2. To what amount of compensation if any is the petitioner entitled and from whom?
(2.)The Tribunal examined the evidence on record and held that the accident took place because of rash and negligent driving of vehicle no. MHP 577 by respondent no.1 and the deceased died as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident. The income of the deceased was assessed on the basis of the salary certificate at Rs.2166.32 per month. The learned Judge took note of the fact that the appellant claimant was the only legal heir of the deceased because she had no other brothers or sisters and her mother had died prior to her marriage The dependency on the basis of appreciation of evidence and other related factors was assessed at Rs.1200.00 per month. The deceased was aged 55 years at the time of his death. Though the Tribunal noted that there was no evidence on record with regard to the retirement age of the deceased, the same was accepted at 58 years on the basis of averments in the claim petition and a multiplier of 3 was used which gave an award of compensation of Rs. 43,200.00. The said claim was allowed in favour of the appellant with interest @ 12% p.a. from the date of the petitioner till realisation of the awarded amount.
(3.)The learned attorney of the appellant has contended that the Tribunal has erred in adopting a lower multiplier particularly in view of the settled position of law by the Supreme Court that the life expectancy could not be less than 65 or 70 years. He has referred to the judgments of that court as reported in Jyotsna Dey and Ors. Vs. State of Assam and Ors 1987 ACJ 172 where the span of life was taken to be 70 years in view of the high rise in life expectancy. The later judgments as reported in Hardeo Kaur and Ors. Vs. Rajasthan State RoadTransport Corporation 1992 ACJ 300 and Urmila Pandey and Ors. Vs. Khalil Ahmad and Ors. 1994 ACJ 805 have taken the life expectancy at 60 and 65 years respectively. The Tribunal has taken the dependency amount at Rs.1200.00 per month i.e. Rs. 14,400.00 per year and I do not propose to disturbthis finding. The only question which requires consideration is with regard to the life span. whether it should betaken as 58 years or 70 years as has been contended by the Attorney of the appellant. The deceased was 55 years of age at the time of his death, there was every likelihood of his continuing to live in view of the rise in life expectancy. It could be assessed at 60, 65 or even 70 years. Taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances of the present case I am of the view that a multiplier of 7 would meet the ends of justice. The compensation on that basis to which the appellant would be entitled comes to 1,08,000.00 on the basis of annual dependency assessed at Rs.14,400.00 (Rs.1200 x 12) which multiplied by 7 will come to the compensation now being awarded. I, therefore, assess that amount as payable to the appellant in the present case. The appellant shall also be entitled to interest @ 15% p.a. from the date of application before the tribunal till realisation. The amount which has already been disbursed to the appellant shall be taken into consideration in working out the amount now held payable. The appeal is allowed with costs which are quantified at Rs. 2,500.00. The amount shall be deposited with the Tribunal and the same shall be disbursed to the appellant on her appearance before that court.
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