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In Motor Accident Cases, Deceased Victim's Salary Cannot Be Assessed Merely On The Count That He Was A Brilliant Student: Bombay HC [Read Judgment]

By LawStreet News Network      19 August, 2019 03:08 PM      0 Comments
In Motor Accident Cases, Deceased Victim's Salary Cannot Be Assessed Merely On The Count That He Was A Brilliant Student: Bombay HC [Read Judgment]

The Bombay High Court on August 13, 2019, in the case of Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Murlidhar has held that merely because the victim in a motor accident case was a brilliant student, his salary cannot be assessed as exemplary.

Justice Vibha Kankanwadi of the Aurangabad Bench has partly allowed the appeal modifying the compensation amount from Rs.21.90 lakh to Rs.15.82 lakh.

Case Background

The deceased Krushna Kabra, was 22 years old and studying in M.Com. He was driving a motorcycle and his friend was the pillion rider. They were travelling on the NagarPune road, Khedgaon, Ahmednagar on December 31, 2015. They dashed into by a Mahindra Bolero from behind and both fell off suffering severe injuries.

Krushna was taken to Civil Hospital, Ahmednagar and then to Nobel Hospital, Ahmednagar. However, he succumbed to injuries on January 1, 2016. The driver of Bolero vehicle was prosecuted by police and the said vehicle was insured with Reliance General Insurance on the date of the accident.

It was contended before the claims tribunal that he was doing a private job and getting a monthly salary of Rs.18,000. He was in share purchasing and selling business and in addition, he was getting Rs.3000 per month. Thus, he had a total income of Rs.21,000 per month. Hence, deceased's parents claimed compensation of Rs.55 lakhs.

The tribunal partly allowed the claim petition and directed both the insurer and the driver to jointly pay Rs.21.90 lakh as compensation. The insurer had challenged the award passed by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.

Judgment

Learned counsel V.N. Upadhye appearing for the insurer, Reliance challenged the award passed by the tribunal on the point of quantum. It was submitted that excessive compensation has been awarded in this case whereas the law requires just compensation.

Tribunal has discarded the evidence adduced by the claimants on the point of income and observed that except bare words of the witnesses, there is nothing on record to support that deceased was getting in all Rs.21,000 per month. However, was no basis for this observation and therefore, the calculation based on the said imaginary figure has ended in granting bonanza to the claimants, Upadhye argued.

After examining the submissions on behalf of the claimants regarding the monthly salary of the deceased, the court concluded-

"What remains after discarding the oral evidence in respect of point of income adduced by the claimants is, the only guess work that has been done by the learned Tribunal. The documents in the form of degree certificate of B.Com. was produced wherein it appears that the deceased had passed B.Com. in first class. There was no doubt, that he was taking education in M.Com. Under such circumstance, when the claimants have not come with a case, what were his plans in future, then what could have deceased achieved on the basis of his M.Com. Degree, is required to be imagined.

The accident has occurred in 2015. The Courts are also required to take a note of the fact of unemployment prevailing in the society. Even highly qualified young persons are unable to get job and if at all they are able to get, then they are required to be satisfied with a lesser salary. Under such circumstance, merely on the count that deceased was a brilliant student, his monthly salary cannot be assessed to Rs. 20,000 per month, but it was reasonable to arrive at a conclusion that he could have fetched a job giving him salary of Rs.10,000 per month, for his said qualification of M.Com."

Following the criteria laid down by the apex court in National Insurance Company Limited v. Pranay Sethi & others and Sarla Verma & others v. Delhi Transport Corporation & another, the court held that total loss of dependency for the claimants was Rs.15,12,000. Further Rs.15,000, 40,000 and 15,000 was awarded towards loss of estate, loss of consortium and funeral expenses, respectively. Thus, the Bench determined that claimants are entitled to get compensation of Rs. 15,82,000.

Accordingly, the court partly allowed the appeal stating that "The amount that has been awarded based on the income of the deceased, at the rate of Rs.20,000 per month, calculated by the learned Tribunal, is excessive and therefore, deserves to be corrected.”

[Read Judgment]



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