Chandra @ Chnada @ Chandraram vs Mukesh Kumar Yadav on 1 October, 2021


Try out our Premium Member services: Virtual Legal Assistant, Query Alert Service and an ad-free experience. Free for one month and pay only if you like it.

Supreme Court of India

Chandra @ Chnada @ Chandraram vs Mukesh Kumar Yadav on 1 October, 2021

Author: R. Subhash Reddy

Bench: R. Subhash Reddy, Hrishikesh Roy

     [email protected](C)No.6466 of 2019



                                                                                 REPORTABLE

                                       IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                         CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                         CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6152 OF 2021
                                     [Arising out of S.L.P.(C)No.6466 of 2019]


                      Chandra @ Chanda @ Chandraram & Anr.                   …..Appellants

                           Versus

                      Mukesh Kumar Yadav & Ors.                              …..Respondents



                                                 JUDGMENT

R. Subhash Reddy, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. Unfortunate parents who lost their son aged about 32 years

in the motor vehicle road accident on 27.02.2016, are before this

Court claiming enhancement of compensation arising out of an

application filed under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

3. The appellants are the parents; 4 th respondent is the wife; 5th
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by

respondent is the minor son; 6 th respondent is the brother; and 7 th
Rachna
Date: 2021.10.01
15:10:07 IST
Reason:

respondent is the sister of the deceased Shivpal. The appellants and

1
[email protected](C)No.6466 of 2019

respondent nos.4 to 7 were the applicants in the application filed

under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 before the Motor

Vehicle Accident Claims Tribunal, Ajmer, Rajasthan (for short, ‘the

Tribunal’) claiming compensation of Rs.93,08,000/­ with interest @

15% p.a. The Tribunal by judgment dated 25.11.2017 has awarded

the total compensation of Rs.10,99,700/­ with interest @ 6% p.a. The

appellant­parents alone have filed appeal before the High Court. The

High Court by impugned judgment dated 06.07.2018 dismissed the

appeal. As such the appellants are before this Court.

4. The deceased Shivpal was employed as driver on the vehicle,

i.e., truck trailer bearing No.RJ­06­GA­6576. When he was driving

the vehicle on 27.02.2016, within the limits of Adarsh Nagar Police

Station, Ajmer, the vehicle – truck trailer ­ bearing no.RJ­14­GD­

1156, driven by the 1st respondent; belonging to the 2nd respondent;

and insured with the 3rd respondent, came on the wrong side and

rammed into the vehicle of the deceased resulting in the accident, as a

result of which Shivpal died in the said accident.

5. It was the case of the claimants before the Tribunal that

deceased Shivpal was in possession of heavy vehicle driving licence

and was earning Rs.15,000/­ per month. Apart from the claim on

account of loss of dependency, they also claimed compensation on all

2
[email protected](C)No.6466 of 2019

other conventional heads. The Tribunal has held that accident

occurred due to rash and negligent driving of the vehicle, driven by

the 1st respondent. The Tribunal by taking into account the income of

the deceased at Rs.5746/­ per month has awarded a total

compensation of Rs.10,99,700/­ inclusive of consortium of

Rs.40000/­ to the wife and minor child. The Tribunal had merely

awarded an amount of Rs.10000/­ each to the appellant­parents, of

the deceased.

6. We have heard Sri Aditya Singh, learned counsel for the

appellants and Sri Sahil Raveen, learned counsel for respondent no.3.

7. Mainly it is contended by learned counsel for the appellants

that though the deceased was earning Rs.15,000/­ per month, being a

heavy vehicle driver, the Tribunal has awarded compensation on

account of loss of dependency by taking the income of the deceased at

Rs.5746/­ per month. It is submitted that wife of the deceased, i.e.

respondent no.4 has clearly stated in her deposition that deceased

was earning Rs.15000/­ per month. It is submitted that inspite of

such evidence on record the Tribunal has committed error in taking

the income of the deceased at Rs.5746/­ as per the minimum wage

notified to the skilled labour. Further it is submitted that Tribunal

has committed error in recording a finding that the appellants are not

3
[email protected](C)No.6466 of 2019

dependents as they were living separately. Lastly it is submitted that

appellants are also entitled to compensation under the head of ‘loss of

consortium’.

8. The learned counsel appearing for the 3 rd respondent has

submitted that in absence of any documentary evidence on record to

show the salary of the deceased at Rs.15,000/­ per month the

Tribunal has correctly taken into account the monthly earnings of the

deceased at Rs.5746/­. By relying on a judgment of this Court in the

case of Kirti & Anr. v. Oriental Insurance Company Limited1,

learned counsel has submitted that there are no grounds to interfere

with the impugned judgment of the High Court.

9. Having heard the learned counsels on both sides, we have

perused the impugned order and other material placed on record. At

the outset, we may note that the High Court by a cryptic order

dismissed the appeal preferred by the appellants without considering

the various grounds raised in the appeal.

10. It is the specific case of the claimants that the deceased

was possessing heavy vehicle driving licence and was earning

Rs.15000/­ per month. Possessing such licence and driving of heavy

vehicle on the date of accident is proved from the evidence on record.

1 (2021) 2 SCC 166

4
[email protected](C)No.6466 of 2019

Though the wife of the deceased has categorically deposed as AW­1

that her husband Shivpal was earning Rs.15000/­ per month, same

was not considered only on the ground that salary certificate was not

filed. The Tribunal has fixed the monthly income of the deceased by

adopting minimum wage notified for the skilled labour in the year

2016. In absence of salary certificate the minimum wage notification

can be a yardstick but at the same time cannot be an absolute one to

fix the income of the deceased. In absence of documentary evidence

on record some amount of guesswork is required to be done. But at

the same time the guesswork for assessing the income of the deceased

should not be totally detached from reality. Merely because claimants

were unable to produce documentary evidence to show the monthly

income of Shivpal, same does not justify adoption of lowest tier of

minimum wage while computing the income. There is no reason to

discard the oral evidence of the wife of the deceased who has deposed

that late Shivpal was earning around Rs.15000/­ per month. In the

case of Minu Rout & Anr. v. Satya Pradyumna Mohapatra & Ors.2

this Court while dealing with the claim relating to an accident which

occurred on 08.11.2004 has taken the salary of the driver of light

motor vehicle at Rs.6000/­ per month. In this case the accident was

2 (2013) 10 SCC 695

5
[email protected](C)No.6466 of 2019

on 27.02.2016 and it is clearly proved that the deceased was in

possession of heavy vehicle driving licence and was driving such

vehicle on the day of accident. Keeping in mind the enormous growth

of vehicle population and demand for good drivers and by considering

oral evidence on record we may take the income of the deceased at

Rs.8000/­ per month for the purpose of loss of dependency. Deceased

was aged about 32 years on the date of the accident and as he was on

fixed salary, 40% enhancement is to be made towards loss of future

prospects. At the same time deduction of 1/3 rd is to be made from the

income of the deceased towards his personal expenses. Accordingly

the income of the deceased can be arrived at Rs.7467/­ per month.

By applying the multiplier of ‘16’ the claimants are entitled for

compensation of Rs.14,33,664/­. As an amount of Rs.10,99,700/­ is

already paid towards the loss of dependency the appellant­parents are

entitled for differential compensation of Rs.3,33,964/­. Further in

view of the judgment of this Court in the case of Magma General

Insurance Company Limited v. Nanu Ram @ Chuhru Ram & Ors.3

the appellants are also entitled for parental consortium of Rs.40,000/­

each. The finding of the Tribunal that parents cannot be treated as

dependents runs contrary to the judgment of this Court in the case of

3 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1546 = (2018) 18 SCC 130

6
[email protected](C)No.6466 of 2019

Sarla Verma (Smt). & Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation & Anr.4.

The judgment in the case of Kirti & Anr. v. Oriental Insurance

Company Limited1 relied on by the counsel for the respondent would

not render any assistance in support of his case having regard to facts

of the case and the evidence on record.

11. For the aforesaid reasons this appeal is allowed and

appellants are entitled for further compensation amount of

Rs.3,33,964/­ on account of loss of dependency and consortium

amount of Rs.40,000/­ each. Thus total compensation payable to the

appellants is fixed at Rs.4,13,964/­ with interest @ 6% p.a. from the

date of filing of claim petition.

12. For the aforesaid reasons the appeal is partly allowed, with no

order as to costs.

………………………………J.

[R. Subhash Reddy]

………………………………J.

[Hrishikesh Roy]
New Delhi.

October 01, 2021.

4 (2009) 6 SCC 121

7



Source link