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Supreme Court of India
Erudhaya Priya vs State Express Transport … on 27 July, 2020
Author: Sanjay Kishan Kaul
Bench: Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose
Reportable IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2811-2812 OF 2020 [Arising out of SLP (C) Nos.8495-8496 of 2018] ERUDHAYA PRIYA ……APPELLANT VERSUS STATE EXPRESS TRANSPORT CORPORATION LTD. ….RESPONDENT JUDGMENT
SANJAY KISHAN KAUL, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. On the fateful day of 16.08.2011, the appellant was travelling from
Chennai to Bangalore in a bus owned by the respondent State Corporation
bearing registration No. TN-01-N-7531.
Signature Not Verified
At about 5.40 a.m., while the bus
Digitally signed by
was moving on the Kolar Bangalore National Highway, it ran into a stationary
lorry. The collision resulted in multiple injuries to numerous passengers
including the appellant, and caused death of the bus conductor on the spot.
The appellant was rushed to R.L. Jallappa Research & Medical College
Hospital, Tamak, Kolar and further treatment was administered at the
Manipal Hospital, Bangalore where she remained admitted for 8 months. The
injuries to the appellant were grievous including fractures in the arms and
legs and she suffered a disability of 31.1% of the whole body.
3. An FIR was registered in pursuance of investigation naming the driver
of the bus as an accused. Chargesheet was filed. But what is relevant is that
the appellant filed a claim petition before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal
(“MACT”), Madurai under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (“MV
Act”) read with Rule 3(1) of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Accident Claims
Tribunal Rules, 1989 claiming a compensation of Rupees One Crore for
injuries sustained in the accident. Evidence was led by both the parties and
the MACT, on a perusal of the documents and oral testimonies, including the
rough sketch and the chargesheet, came to the conclusion that the accident
occurred due to the rash and negligent manner of driving of the bus driver of
the bus owned by the respondent State Corporation and, thus, held the
respondent liable to pay compensation to the appellant. In terms of the
judgment dated 20.10.2014, the MACT opined that the permanent disability
of 31.1% would have to be considered and applied the multiplier method to
calculate the loss of earning power. Since the appellant was 23 years of age,
multiplier of 17 was applied on the monthly salary of the appellant as a
software engineer and the compensation was worked out for loss of earning
power to Rs. 9,27,424/. The compensation was also attributed under various
heads of extra nourishment, medical expenses, physiotherapy, loss of
matrimonial aspects, loss of comfort and amenities, mental agony, and pain
and suffering. The total quantification of the compensation by the MACT was
of Rs. 35,24,288/- payable by the respondent State Corporation along with
interest @ 7.5% per annum from the date of petition till the date of
realization with costs.
4. The respondent State Corporation filed an appeal against this order
and the appellant filed cross objections. Both of them were decided by the
impugned judgment of the High Court dated 27.10.2017 by a common order.
The High Court, confirming the findings of negligence of the bus driver,
reduced the compensation to Rs. 25,00,000/- primarily on the ground that
the multiplier method for quantifying loss of earning power has been wrongly
applied as it had not come on record as to how the injuries suffered by the
appellant would have a bearing on her earning capacity as a software
engineer. The interest rate was sustained.
5. The appellant has claimed before this Court that she is entitled to
enhancement of compensation even over and above what was granted by
the MACT and has quantified the same as Rs. 41,69,831/- under various
heads along with claiming a revised interest rate @ 12% per annum.
6. We heard learned counsels for the parties. They have also filed short
synopses of their respective claims and rebuttals thereof, with the appellant
enlisting the principles which can apply to her case, the law being now well
settled in like cases.
7. There are three aspects which are required to be examined by us:
(a) the application of multiplier of ‘17’ instead of ‘18’;
The aforesaid increase of multiplier is sought on the basis of age of the
appellant as 23 years relying on the judgment in National Insurance
Company Limited v. Pranay Sethi and Others1. In para 42 of the said
judgment, the Constitution Bench effectively affirmed the multiplier method
to be used as mentioned in the table in the case of Sarla Verma (Smt) and
Others. v. Delhi Transport Corporation and Another. 2. In the age group of 15-
25 years, the multiplier has to be ‘18’ along with factoring in the extent of
The aforesaid position is not really disputed by learned counsel for the
respondent State Corporation and, thus, we come to the conclusion that the
multiplier to be applied in the case of the appellant has to be ‘18’ and not
(b) Loss of earning capacity of the appellant with permanent disability of
In respect of the aforesaid, the appellant has claimed compensation on what
is stated to be the settled principle set out in Jagdish v. Mohan & Others3 and
1 (2017) 16 SCC 680
2 (2009) 6 SCC 121
3 (2018) 4 SCC 571
Sandeep Khanuja v. Atul Dande & Another4. We extract below the principle
set out in the Jagdish case (supra) in para 8:
“8. In assessing the compensation payable the
settled principles need to be borne in mind. A victim
who suffers a permanent or temporary disability
occasioned by an accident is entitled to the award of
compensation. The award of compensation must cover
among others, the following aspects:
(i) Pain, suffering and trauma resulting from the accident; (ii) Loss of income including future income; (iii) The inability of the victim to lead a normal life together with its amenities; (iv) Medical expenses including those that the victim may be required to undertake in future; and (v) Loss of expectation of life.” [emphasis supplied]
The aforesaid principle has also been emphasized in an earlier judgment, i.e.
the Sandeep Khanuja case (supra) opining that the multiplier method was
logically sound and legally well established to quantify the loss of income as
a result of death or permanent disability suffered in an accident.
In the factual contours of the present case, if we examine the disability
certificate, it shows the admission/hospitalization on 8 occasions for various
number of days over 1 ½ years from August 2011 to January 2013. The
nature of injuries had been set out as under:
“Nature of injury:
(i) compound fracture shaft left humerus (ii) fracture both bones left forearm (iii) compound fracture both bones right forearm 4 (2017) 3 SCC 351 5 (iv) fracture 3rd, 4th & 5th metacarpals right hand (v) subtrochanteric fracture right femur (vi) fracture shaft left femur (vii) fracture both bones left leg”
We have also perused the photographs annexed to the petition
showing the current physical state of the appellant, though it is stated by
learned counsel for the respondent State Corporation that the same was not
on record in the trial court. Be that as it may, this is the position even after
treatment and the nature of injuries itself show their extent. Further, it has
been opined in para 12 of Sandeep Khanuja case (supra) that while applying
the multiplier method, future prospects on advancement in life and career
are also to be taken into consideration.
We are, thus, unequivocally of the view that there is merit in the
contention of the appellant and the aforesaid principles with regard to future
prospects must also be applied in the case of the appellant taking the
permanent disability as 31.1%. The quantification of the same on the basis
of the judgment in National Insurance Co. Ltd. case (supra), more specifically
para 59.3, considering the age of the appellant, would be 50% of the actual
salary in the present case.
(c) The third and the last aspect is the interest rate claimed as 12%
In respect of the aforesaid, the appellant has watered down the
interest rate during the course of hearing to 9% in view of the judicial
pronouncements including in the Jagdish case (supra). On this aspect, once
again, there was no serious dispute raised by the learned counsel for the
respondent once the claim was confined to 9% in line with the interest rates
applied by this Court.
8. The result of the aforesaid is that relying on the settled principles, the
calculation of compensation by the appellant, as set out in para 5 of the
synopsis, would have to be adopted as follows:
HEADS AMOUNT (INR.) LOSS OF EARNING POWER (14648*12*18*31.1/100) 9,81,978.76 TOWARDS FUTURE PROSPECTS (50% ADDITION) 4,90,989 MEDICAL EXPENSES INCLUDING TRANSPORT 18,46,864 CHARGES, NOURISHMENT ETC. LOSS OF MATRIMONIAL ASPECTS 5,00,000 LOSS OF COMFORT, AMENITIES AND MENTAL AGONY 1,50,000 PAIN AND SUFFERING 2,00,000 TOTAL 41,69,831
The appellant would, thus, be entitled to the compensation of Rs. 41,69,831/-
as claimed along with simple interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the
date of application till the date of payment.
9. The appeals are, accordingly, allowed with costs throughout.
10. The balance amount be transmitted by the respondent State
Corporation to the appellant within a maximum period of six weeks from
[SANJAY KISHAN KAUL]
JULY 27, 2020