The New India Assurance Company … vs Somwati on 7 September, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

The New India Assurance Company … vs Somwati on 7 September, 2020

Author: Ashok Bhushan

Bench: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy, M.R. Shah

                                                                         1


                                                               REPORTABLE

                               IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                CIVIL APPEAL NO.3093 OF 2020
                         (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO. 23478 OF 2019)

                THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE
                COMPANY LIMITED                         ...APPELLANT
                                       VERSUS
                SMT. SOMWATI AND OTHERS                 ...RESPONDENTS

                                           WITH

                               CIVIL APPEAL NO.3094 OF 2020
                         (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO. 4801 OF 2020)

                THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE
                COMPANY LIMITED                         ...APPELLANT
                                       VERSUS
                SMT. SANGITA AND OTHERS                 ...RESPONDENTS

                                           WITH

                               CIVIL APPEAL NO.3095 OF 2020
                         (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO. 4643 OF 2020)

                THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE
                COMPANY LIMITED                         ...APPELLANT
                                       VERSUS
                AZMATI KHATOON AND OTHERS               ...RESPONDENTS

                                           WITH

                               CIVIL APPEAL NO.3096 OF 2020
                         (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO. 5441 OF 2020)

                CHOLAMANDALAM MS GENERAL
                INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
                                                         ...APPELLANT
MEENAKSHI KOHLI
Date: 2020.09.07
15:25:04 IST
                                       VERSUS
                UMARANI AND OTHERS                      ...RESPONDENTS
Reason:
                                                      2

                         WITH

           CIVIL APPEAL NO.3097 OF 2020
     (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO. 6381 OF 2020)

THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE
COMPANY LIMITED                      ...APPELLANT
                       VERSUS
SMT. PINKI AND OTHERS                ...RESPONDENTS

                         WITH

           CIVIL APPEAL NO.3098 OF 2020
     (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO. 7556 OF 2020)

THE NEW INDIA ASSURANCE
COMPANY LIMITED                       ...APPELLANT
                       VERSUS
NANAK CHAND AND OTHERS               ...RESPONDENTS

                         WITH

           CIVIL APPEAL NO.3099 OF 2020
     (ARISING OUT OF SLP(C) NO. 8250 OF 2020)

THE ORIENTAL INSURANCE
COMPANY LIMITED                       ...APPELLANT
                       VERSUS
SMT. RINKU DEVI AND OTHERS           ...RESPONDENTS



                   J U D G M E N T

ASHOK BHUSHAN,J.

Leave granted.

2. These appeals raising common questions of law

have been heard together and are being decided by
3

this common judgment. For deciding these appeals,

it is sufficient to notice the facts in detail in

Civil Appeal No…………………/2020(arising out of

SLP(C)No.23478 of 2019), New India Assurance

Company Limited Versus Smt. Somwati and Others and

brief facts in other appeals.

3. All these appeals have been filed by three

Insurance Companies, i.e., New India Assurance

Company Limited, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance

Company Ltd. and The Oriental Insurance Company

Ltd. questioning the judgments of the High Courts

arising out of the award by Motor Accident Claims

Tribunal (MACT) with regard to the compensation

awarded in favour of the claimants under two heads,

i.e., “Loss of Consortium” and “loss of love and

affection.”

Civil Appeal NO…………………/2020(arising out of
SLP(C)No.23478 of 2019), New India Assurance
Company Limited versus Smt. Somwati and Others

4. Ram Jiyawan, the husband of Smt. Somwati died

in a Motor Vehicle accident on 06.12.2001 leaving

behind his widow Smt. Somwati and seven minor
4

children. Claim petition No.7 of 2002 was filed

under Section 166 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,

claiming compensation of Rs.15,25,000/-. The MACT

by award dated 22.03.2003 allowed a claim of Rs.

1,67,000/- with 9% interest. An appeal was filed

by Smt. Somwati Devi and others in the High Court

being F.A.F.O.No.1894 of 2003. The High Court

allowed the appeal of the claimants and awarded a

compensation of Rs.12,54,000/-. Against the

judgment of the High Court dated 25.02.2019, this

appeal has been filed by the Insurance Company. The

grant of compensation under two heads has been

challenged in this appeal, i.e., item No. (vi) and

(viii), which are to the following effect:-

“(vi)Loss of love and affection=
Rs.4,00,000/-(Rs.50,000/- to each of the
eight claimants).

(viii) Loss of Parental Consortium to
claimant/appellant nos.2 to 8=
Rs.2,80,000/-(Rs.40,000/- to each of the
claimants).”

5. This Court while issuing notice on 24.04.2019

passed following order:-

“O R D E R

Delay condoned.

5

Issue notice returnable in four weeks
limited to the issue whether both
consortium and loss of love and affection
could have been awarded by the High Court
in this case.

           Dasti      service,          in    addition,         is
       permitted.

Until further orders, there shall be
stay of 2 payment of the compensation
amount payable to the claimants towards
clause (vi) of the impugned judgment which
reads as under :

“Loss of love and affection=Rs.
4,00,000/- (Rs. 50,000/- to each of the
eight claimants)”

6. In pursuance of notice issued by this Court,

the respondents have appeared and filed reply as

well as written submissions.

Civil Appeal No……../2020(arising out of
SLP(C)No.4801 of 2020), New India Assurance Company
Limited Versus Sangita Devi and Others

7. Sanjay Kumar, husband of the respondent

Sangeeta Devi died of Motor Vehicle accident on

12.01.2015. Claim Petition bearing MACP No.862 of

2016 was filed by the respondents, which claim

petition was allowed by Motor Accident Claims

Tribunal, granting a compensation of Rs.17,71,000/-
6

with interest of 9%. Claimants filed an appeal in

the High Court. The High Court following the

judgment of this Court in Magma General Insurance

Company ltd. Versus Nanu Ram @ Chuhru Ram and Ors.,

(2018) 18 SCC 130, granted compensation for ‘loss

of love and affection’ at the rate of Rs.50,000/-

to each of eight claimants and similarly, under the

head ‘Loss of consortium’ at the rate of

Rs.40,000/- to all the eight claimants. Aggrieved

by the judgment of the Delhi High Court, Insurance

Company has filed appeal challenging the order of

the High Court.

Civil Appeal No………………/2020(arising out of
SLP(C)No.4643 of 2020),New India Assurance Company
Limited Versus Azmati Khatoon and Others

8. Mohd. Hasibul Bassan, died in a Motor Vehicle

accident on 29.10.2007. Claim Petition was filed by

respondents which has been allowed by Motor

Accident Claims Tribunal granting a compensation of

Rs.17,32,776/- with interest. The appellant filed

an appeal in the High Court. The High Court granted

compensation under the head ‘loss of love and
7

affection’ at the rate of Rs.50,000/- to each seven

claimants and Rs.40,000/- each to seven claimants

under the head ‘loss of consortium’. Aggrieved by

the judgment of the Delhi High Court, Insurance

Company is in appeal.

Civil Appeal No…………………/2020 (arising out of
SLP(C)No.5441 of 2020), Cholamandalam Ms General
Insurance Company Limited Versus Umarani and Others

9. The deceased Krishnasamy met with a vehicular

accident on 07.09.2014 who subsequently died. Claim

petition was filed by the respondents which has

been allowed by Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation

Tribunal granting compensation of Rs.13,60,000/-.

Appeal was filed by the Insurance Company. The

award under the head ‘loss of consortium’, an

amount of Rs.One Lakh and award under the head

‘loss of love and affection’ an amount of Rs. Three

Lakhs was confirmed by the High Court, which is

challenged by Insurance Company in this appeal.

Civil Appeal No………………/2020(arising out of
SLP(C)No.6381 of 2020),New India Assurance Company
Limited Versus Smt. Pinki and Others

10. One Dinesh Kumar met with a motor vehicle
8

accident on 11.06.2014 and died. Claim Petition

filed by the respondents was allowed by the Motor

Accident Claims Tribunal granting an amount of

Rs.13,01,776/-. Claimants filed an appeal before

the High Court which enhanced the compensation. The

High Court granted compensation under the head

‘loss of love and affection’ Rs.50,000/- each to

four claimants and under the head ‘loss of

consortium’ at the rate of Rs.40,000/- each to four

claimants. Aggrieved by the judgment of the High

Court, Insurance Company is in this appeal.

Civil Appeal No………………/2020(arising out of
SLP(C)No.7556 of 2020), New India Assurance Company
Limited Versus Nanak Chand and Others

11. Gaurav died in a motor vehicle accident on

23.09.2010. Claim petition was filed by the parents

of the deceased, which was allowed granting

compensation of Rs.4,83,348/-. Claimants filed an

appeal in the High Court which was allowed. The

High Court granted compensation of Rs.50,000/- each

to both the claimants under the head ‘loss of love

and affection’ and Rs.40,000/- each to both the
9

claimants under the head ‘loss of consortium’.

Aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court, this

appeal has been filed.

Civil Appeal No………………/2020(arising out of
SLP(C)No.8250 of 2020),The Oriental Insurance
Company Limited Versus Smt. Rinku Devi and Others

12. Birbal Kumar met with an accident on

27.07.2008 resulting in his death. Claim petition

filed by the respondents claiming Rs.Twenty lakhs

was allowed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal

granting compensation of Rs.5,80,000/-. Insurance

company filed an appeal. The Tribunal has awarded

filial consortium at the rate of Rs.40,000/- to

each of the claimants, i.e., wife, two children and

father totaling Rs.1,60,000/-. The High Court in

the appeal filed by the Insurance Company further

enhanced the compensation under the head ‘loss of

love and affection’ at the rate of Rs.50,000/- to

each of four claimants, i.e., enhancing total

amount by Rs. Two Lakhs. Insurance Company

aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court has

come up with this appeal.

10

13. We have heard learned counsel for the

appellant as well as learned counsel for the

claimants.

14. In all the appeals, only issue to be

considered is with regard to award of compensation

to the claimant under two heads, i.e., (a)loss of

consortium and (b) loss of love and affection. With

regard to ‘consortium’, the question is as to

whether it is only the wife who is entitled for

consortium or the consortium can be awarded to

children and parents also.

15. Learned counsel for the appellants contends

that the Constitution Bench of this Court in

National Insurance Company Ltd. Versus Pranay Sethi

and Others, (2017) 16 SCC 680, has laid down that

there are only three conventional heads namely

(i)‘loss of estate’, (ii)‘loss of consortium’ and

(iii)‘funeral expenses’, for which the amount

determined by the Constitution Bench is

Rs.15,000/-, Rs.40,000/- and Rs.15,000/-

respectively. Thus, the total amount under
11

conventional head was Rs.70,000/- and the amount

under conventional heads could not exceed

Rs.70,000/-.

16. It is submitted that the amount granted under

the head ‘loss of love and affection’ is wholly

without jurisdiction and further amount granted

under the head ‘consortium’ could not be more than

Rs.40,000/- and the amount of ‘consortium’ is only

payable to wife who is entitled to Rs.40,000/- and

the Tribunals and the High Courts committed error

in awarding amount of consortium to each of the

claimant, i.e., wife, children and parents.

17. It is submitted that even after the

Constitution Bench Judgment, this Court has allowed

amounts under conventional heads as ‘loss of state’

Rs.15,000/-, ‘consortium’ Rs.40,000/- and ‘funeral

expenses’ Rs.15,000/-. It is submitted that after

the judgment of Pranay Sethi, this Court had

confined the payment under conventional heads as

per judgment of Pranay Sethi, the impugned judgment

of the High Court awarding compensation under the
12

head ‘loss of love and affection’ as well as

‘consortium’ to each of the claimant is contrary to

the law laid down by this Court and has to be set

aside.

18. An additional submission has been made by

learned counsel appearing for the appellant in The

Oriental Insurance Company ltd. Versus Smt. Rinku

Devi and others. Learned counsel submits that

although MACT has erred in allowing consortium to

four claimants at the rate of Rs.40,000/- but the

High Court in the appeal filed by the Insurance

Company further enhanced the compensation under the

head ‘loss of love and affection’. The compensation

could not have been enhanced on the appeal filed by

the insurance company when the claimants have not

filed an appeal. Learned counsel further submits

that the High Court further committed an error in

directing the statutory amount deposited by the

appellant along with the appeal to be deposited in

AASRA fund opened in Delhi High Court which ought

not to have been directed since the appellant has

raised substantial questions of law and the appeal
13

deserves to be allowed.

19. Learned counsel appearing for the claimants

refuting the submissions of counsel for the

appellant contends that the award to each of the

claimants at the rate of Rs.40,000/- under the head

‘consortium’ is in accordance with law laid down by

this Court. It is submitted that the award of

compensation under the head ‘consortium’ cannot be

given a narrow interpretation. The amount under the

head ‘consortium’ has rightly been given not only

to wife but children and parents. Learned counsel

for the claimant has supported the judgments of the

High Court.

20. Learned counsel for the parties have also

placed reliance on various judgments of this Court,

which shall be referred to while considering the

submissions in detail.

21. We have considered the submission of the

learned counsel for the parties and have perused

the record.

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22. The expression ‘compensation’ is a

comprehensive term which includes a claim for the

damages. Compensation is by way of atonement for

the injury caused.

23. The claimant in a claim for award of

compensation under Section 166 of Motor Vehicles

Act, 1988, is entitled for just compensation. The

just compensation has to be equitable and fair. The

loss of life and limb can never be compensated in

an equal measure but the statutory provisions under

Motor Vehicles Act is a social piece of legislation

which has been enacted with intent and object to

facilitate the claimants to get redress for the

loss of the member of family, compensate the loss

in some measure and to compensate the claimant to a

reasonable extent.

24. We may refer to the judgment of this Court in

General Manager Kerala State Road Transport

Corporation, Trivandrum Versus Susamma Thomas(Mrs)

and others, (1994) 2 SCC 176. This court

considering the concept of compensation under Motor
15

Vehicle Act, 1939, laid down following in paragraph

5:-

“5….The determination of the quantum
must answer what contemporary society
“would deem to be a fair sum such as would
allow the wrongdoer to hold up his head
among his among his neighbours and say
with their approval that he has done the
fair thing”. The amount awarded must not
be niggardly since the “law values life
and limb in a free society in generous
scales”. All this means that the sum
awarded must be fair and reasonable by
accepted legal standards.”

25. In the above case also, this Court awarded the

amount under the conventional head of ‘loss of

consortium’.

26. Another judgment which needs to be noted is

the judgment of this Court in Sarla Verma (Smt) and

Others Versus Delhi Transport Corporation and

Another, (2009) 6 SCC 121, in which judgment in

paragraph 16, this Court while elaborating the

“just compensation” laid down following: –

“5….”Just compensation is adequate
compensation which is fair and equitable,
on the facts and circumstances of the
case, to make good the loss suffered as a
result of the wrong, as far as money can
do so, by applying the well-settled
principles relating to award of
16

compensation. It is not intended to be a
bonanza, largesse or source of profit.”

27. This court also awarded an amount under the

head ‘loss of consortium’ to the wife.

28. We need to notice the Constitution Bench

judgment in National Insurance Company Ltd.(supra)

which case notices the earlier judgments of this

Court where compensation was awarded towards loss

of consortium. In paragraph 46, the following was

laid down: –

“46. Another aspect which has created
confusion pertains to grant of loss of
estate, loss of consortium and funeral
expenses. In Santosh Devi, the two-Judge
Bench followed the traditional method and
granted Rs.5000/- for transportation of
the body, Rs.10,000/- as funeral expenses
and Rs.10,000/- as regards the loss of
consortium. In Sarla Verma, the Court
granted Rs.5000/- under the head of loss
of estate, Rs.5000/- towards funeral
expenses and Rs.10,000/- towards loss of
consortium. In Rajesh (2013) 9 SCC 54, the
Court granted Rs.1,00,000/- towards loss
of consortium and Rs.25,000/- towards
funeral expenses. It also granted
Rs.1,00,000/- towards loss of care and
guidance for minor children. The Court
enhanced the same on the principle that a
formula framed to achieve uniformity and
consistency on a socio-economic issue has
to be contrasted from a legal principle
and ought to be periodically revisited as
17

has been held in Santosh Devi (2012) 6 SCC

421. On the principle of revisit, it fixed
different amount on conventional heads.
What weighed with the Court is factum of
inflation and the price index. It has also
been moved by the concept of loss of
consortium. We are inclined to think so,
for what it states in that regard. We
quote: (Rajesh case):-

“17…In legal parlance,
“consortium” is the right of the
spouse to the company, care, help,
comfort, guidance, society,
solace, affection and sexual
relations with his or her mate.

That non-pecuniary head of damages
has not been properly understood
by our courts. The loss of
companionship, love, care and
protection, etc., the spouse is
entitled to get, has to be
compensated appropriately. The
concept of non-pecuniary damage
for loss of consortium is one of
the major heads of award of
compensation in other parts of the
world more particularly in the
United States of America,
Australia, etc. English courts
have also recognised the right of
a spouse to get compensation even
during the period of temporary
disablement. By loss of
consortium, the courts have made
an attempt to compensate the loss
of spouse’s affection, comfort,
solace, companionship, society,
assistance, protection, care and
sexual relations during the future
years. Unlike the compensation
awarded in other countries and
other jurisdictions, since the
legal heirs are otherwise
18

adequately compensated for the
pecuniary loss, it would not be
proper to award a major amount
under this head. Hence, we are of
the view that it would only be
just and reasonable that the
courts award at least rupees one
lakh for loss of consortium.””

29. In paragraph 52, the Constitution Bench opined

that reasonable figures on conventional head namely

‘loss of estate’, ‘loss of consortium’ and ‘funeral

expenses’ should be Rs.15,000/-, Rs.40,000/- and

Rs.15,000/- respectively. In paragraph 52,

following has been laid down: –

“52. As far as the conventional heads
are concerned, we find it difficult to
agree with the view expressed in Rajesh.
It has granted Rs. 25,000/- towards
funeral expenses, Rs. 1,00,000/- loss of
consortium and Rs. 1,00,000/- towards loss
of care and guidance for minor children.
The head relating to loss of care and
minor children does not exist. Though
Rajesh refers to Santosh Devi, it does not
seem to follow the same. The conventional
and traditional heads, needless to say,
cannot be determined on percentage basis
because that would not be an acceptable
criterion. Unlike determination of income,
the said heads have to be quantified. Any
quantification must have a reasonable
foundation. There can be no dispute over
the fact that price index, fall in bank
interest, escalation of rates in many a
field have to be noticed. The court cannot
remain oblivious to the same. There has
19

been a thumb rule in this aspect.
Otherwise, there will be extreme
difficulty in determination of the same
and unless the thumb rule is applied,
there will be immense variation lacking
any kind of consistency as a consequence
of which, the orders passed by the
tribunals and courts are likely to be
unguided. Therefore, we think it seemly to
fix reasonable sums. It seems to us that
reasonable figures on conventional heads,
namely, loss of estate, loss of consortium
and funeral expenses should be Rs.
15,000/-, Rs. 40,000/- and Rs. 15,000/-
respectively. The principle of revisiting
the said heads is an acceptable principle.
But the revisit should not be fact-centric
or quantum-centric. We think that it would
be condign that the amount that we have
quantified should be enhanced on
percentage basis in every three years and
the enhancement should be at the rate of
10% in a span of three years. We are
disposed to hold so because that will
bring in consistency in respect of those
heads.”

30. In paragraph 59.8, the Court further held that

the amount of conventional head should be enhanced

at the rate of 10% every three year. In paragraph

59.8, following was held:-

“59.8. Reasonable figures on conventional
heads, namely, loss of estate, loss of
consortium and funeral expenses should be
Rs. 15,000/-, Rs. 40,000/- and Rs.
15,000/- respectively. The aforesaid
amounts should be enhanced at the rate of
10% in every three years. ”
20

31. The next judgment which needs to be noted is

Magma General Insurance Company Limited versus Nanu

Ram alias Chuhru Ram and others, (2018) 18 SCC 130,

the concept of consortium was explained in

paragraphs 21,22 and 23 which are as follows: –

“21. A Constitution Bench of this Court
in Pranay Sethi (supra) dealt with the
various heads under which compensation is
to be awarded in a death case. One of
these heads is Loss of Consortium. In
legal parlance, “consortium” is a
compendious term which encompasses
‘spousal consortium’, ‘parental
consortium’,and ‘filial consortium’. The
right to consortium would include the
company, care, help, comfort, guidance,
solace and affection of the deceased,
which is a loss to his family. With
respect to a spouse, it would include
sexual relations with the deceased spouse.

21.1. Spousal consortium is generally
defined as rights pertaining to the
relationship of a husband-wife which
allows compensation to the surviving
spouse for loss of “company, society,
cooperation, affection, and aid of the
other in every conjugal relation.”

21.2. Parental consortium is granted to
the child upon the premature death of a
parent, for loss of “parental aid,
protection, affection, society,
discipline, guidance and training.”

21.3. Filial consortium is the right of
the parents to compensation in the case of
21

an accidental death of a child. An
accident leading to the death of a child
causes great shock and agony to the
parents and family of the deceased. The
greatest agony for a parent is to lose
their child during their lifetime.
Children are valued for their love,
affection, companionship and their role in
the family unit.

22.   Consortium    is    a    special   prism
reflecting changing norms         about    the
status      and     worth        of     actual
relationships.      Modern       jurisdictions
world over       have recognized that the

value of a child’s consortium far exceeds
the economic value of the
compensation awarded in the case
of the death of a child. Most
jurisdictions therefore permit parents to
be awarded compensation under loss of
consortium on the death of a child.

The      amount      awarded        to     the
parents    is    a compensation for loss of
the     love,     affection,       care    and

companionship of the deceased child.

23. The Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial
legislation aimed at providing
relief to the victims or their
families, in cases of genuine claims. In
case where a parent has lost their minor
child, or unmarried son or daughter, the
parents are entitled to be awarded loss of
consortium under the head of Filial
Consortium. Parental Consortium is awarded
to children who lose their parents in
motor vehicle accidents under the Act. A
few High Courts have awarded compensation
on this count. However, there was no
clarity with respect to the principles on
which compensation could be awarded on
loss of Filial Consortium.”
22

32. A two-Judge Bench in Magma General Insurance

Company Limited awarded the amount of Rs.40,000/-

to father and sister of the deceased. Paragraph 24

is as follows: –

“24. The amount of compensation to be
awarded as consortium will be
governed by the principles of
awarding compensation under ‘Loss of
Consortium’ as laid down in Pranay Sethi
(supra). In the present case, we deem it
appropriate to award the father and the
sister of the deceased, an amount of
Rs. 40,000 each for loss of
Filial Consortium.”

33. A three-Judge Bench in United India Insurance

Company Ltd. versus Satinder Kaur alias Satvinder

Kaur and others, (2020) SCC Online 410, had

reaffirmed the view of two-Judge Bench in Magma

General insurance Company Ltd. Three-Judge Bench

from paragraph 53 to 65, dealt with three

conventional heads. The entire discussion on three

conventional heads of three-Judge Bench is as

follows: –

“53. In Pranay Sethi (supra), the
Constitution Bench held that in death
cases, compensation would be awarded only
under three conventional heads viz. loss
of estate, loss of consortium and funeral
expenses.

23

54. The Court held that the conventional
and traditional heads, cannot be
determined on percentage basis, because
that would not be an acceptable criterion.
Unlike determination of income, the said
heads have to be quantified, which has to
be based on a reasonable foundation. It
was observed that factors such as price
index, fall in bank interest, escalation
of rates, are aspects which have to be
taken into consideration.

The Court held that reasonable figures on
conventional heads, namely, loss of
estate, loss of consortium and funeral
expenses should be Rs. 15,000/-, Rs.
40,000/- and Rs. 15,000/- respectively.
The Court was of the view that the amounts
to be awarded under these conventional
heads should be enhanced by 10% every
three years, which will bring consistency
in respect of these heads.

a) Loss of Estate – Rs. 15,000 to be
awarded

b) Loss of Consortium

55. Loss of Consortium, in legal parlance,
was historically given a narrow meaning to
be awarded only to the spouse i.e. the
right of the spouse to the company, care,
help, comfort, guidance, society, solace,
affection and sexual relations with his or
her mate. The loss of companionship, love,
care and protection, etc., the spouse is
entitled to get, has to be compensated
appropriately. The concept of nonpecuniary
damage for loss of consortium is one of
the major heads for awarding compensation
in various jurisdictions such as the
United States of America, Australia, etc.
English courts have recognised the right
24

of a spouse to get compensation even
during the period of temporary
disablement.

56. In Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd. v.
Nanu Ram & Ors
., 12 this Court interpreted
“consortium” to be a compendious term,
which encompasses spousal consortium,
parental consortium, as well as filial
consortium. The right to consortium would
include the company, care, help, comfort,
guidance, solace and affection of the
deceased, which is a loss to his family.
With respect to a spouse, it would include
sexual relations with the deceased spouse.

57. Parental consortium is granted to the
child upon the premature death of a
parent, for loss of parental aid,
protection, affection, society,
discipline, guidance and training.

58. Filial consortium is the right of the
parents to compensation in the case of an
accidental death of a child. An accident
leading to the death of a child causes
great shock and agony to the parents and
family of the deceased. The greatest agony
for a parent is to lose their child during
their lifetime. Children are valued for
their love and affection, and their role
in the family unit.

59. Modern jurisdictions world-over have
recognized that the value of a child’s
consortium far exceeds the economic value
of the compensation awarded in the case of
the death of a child. Most jurisdictions
permit parents to be awarded compensation
under loss of consortium on the death of a
child. The amount awarded to the parents
is the compensation for loss of love and
affection, care and companionship of the
deceased child.

25

60. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is a
beneficial legislation which has been
framed with the object of providing relief
to the victims, or their families, in
cases of genuine claims. In case where a
parent has lost their minor child, or
unmarried son or daughter, the parents are
entitled to be awarded loss of consortium
under the head of Filial Consortium.

61. Parental Consortium is awarded to the
children who lose the care and protection
of their parents in motor vehicle
accidents.

62. The amount to be awarded for loss
consortium will be as per the amount fixed
in Pranay Sethi (supra).

63.   At  this   stage,   we    consider   it
necessary   to  provide    uniformity    with

respect to the grant of consortium, and
loss of love and affection. Several
Tribunals and High Courts have been
awarding compensation for both loss of
consortium and loss of love and affection.
The Constitution Bench in Pranay Sethi
(supra), has recognized only three
conventional heads under which
compensation can be awarded viz. loss of
estate, loss of consortium and funeral
expenses.

64. In Magma General (supra), this Court
gave a comprehensive interpretation to
consortium to include spousal consortium,
parental consortium, as well as filial
consortium. Loss of love and affection is
comprehended in loss of consortium.

65. The Tribunals and High Courts are
directed to award compensation for loss of
consortium, which is a legitimate
26

conventional head. There is no
justification to award compensation
towards loss of love and affection as a
separate head.

c) Funeral Expenses – Rs. 15,000 to be
awarded”

34. The Three-Judge Bench in the above case

approved the comprehensive interpretation given to

the expression ‘consortium’ to include spousal

consortium, parental consortium as well as filial

consortium. Three-Judge Bench however further laid

down that ‘loss of love and affection’ is

comprehended in ‘loss of consortium’, hence, there

is no justification to award compensation towards

‘loss of love and affection’ as a separate head.

35. The Constitution Bench in Pranay Sethi has

also not under conventional head included any

compensation towards ‘loss of love and affection’

which have been now further reiterated by three-

Judge Bench in United India Insurance Company Ltd.

(supra). It is thus now authoritatively well

settled that no compensation can be awarded under

the head ‘loss of love and affection’.
27

36. The word ‘consortium’ has been defined in

Black’s law Dictionary, 10th edition. The Black’s

law dictionary also simultaneously notices the

filial consortium, parental consortium and spousal

consortium in following manner:-

“Consortium 1. The benefits that one
person, esp. A spouse, is entitled to
receive from another, including
companionship, cooperation, affection,
aid, financial support, and (between
spouses) sexual relations a claim for loss
of consortium.

 Filial consortium A child’s society,
affection, and companionship given
to a parent.

 Parental consortium A parent’s
society, affection and companionship
given to a child.

 Spousal consortium A spouse’s
society, affection and companionship
given to the other spouse.”

37. The Magma General Insurance Company Ltd.

(Supra) as well as United India Insurance Company

ltd.(Supra), Three-Judge Bench laid down that the

consortium is not limited to spousal consortium and

it also includes parental consortium as well as

filial consortium. In paragraph 87 of United India

Insurance Company Ltd. (supra), ‘consortium’ to all
28

the three claimants was thus awarded. Paragraph 87

is quoted below:-

“87. Insofar as the conventional heads are
concerned, the deceased Satpal Singh left
behind a widow and three children as his
dependants. On the basis of the judgments
in Pranay Sethi (supra) and Magma General
(supra), the following amounts are awarded
under the conventional heads:-

i) Loss of Estate: Rs. 15,000

ii) Loss of Consortium:

a) Spousal Consortium: Rs.

40,000

b) Parental Consortium: 40,000
x 3 = Rs. 1,20,000

iii) Funeral Expenses: Rs. 15,000”

38. Learned counsel for the appellant has

submitted that Pranay Sethi has only referred to

spousal consortium and no other consortium was

referred to in the judgment of Pranay Sethi, hence,

there is no justification for allowing the parental

consortium and filial consortium. The Constitution

Bench in Pranay Sethi has referred to amount of

Rs.40,000/- to the ‘loss of consortium’ but the

Constitution Bench had not addressed the issue as

to whether consortium of Rs.40,000/- is only

payable as spousal consortium. The judgment of
29

Pranay Sethi cannot be read to mean that it lays

down the proposition that the consortium is payable

only to the wife.

39. The Three-Judge Bench in United India

Insurance Company Ltd. (Supra) has categorically

laid down that apart from spousal consortium,

parental and filial consortium is payable. We feel

ourselves bound by the above judgment of Three

Judge Bench. We, thus, cannot accept the submission

of the learned counsel for the appellant that the

amount of consortium awarded to each of the

claimants is not sustainable.

40. We, thus, found the impugned judgments of the

High Court awarding consortium to each of the

claimants in accordance with law which does not

warrant any interference in this appeal. We,

however, accept the submissions of learned counsel

for the appellant that there is no justification

for award of compensation under separate head ‘loss

of love and affection’. The appeal filed by the

appellant deserves to be allowed insofar as the
30

award of compensation under the head ‘loss of love

and affection’.

41. We may also notice Three-Judge Bench judgment

of this Court relied by learned counsel for the

appellant i.e. Sangita Arya and others versus

Oriental Insurance Company ltd. and others, (2020)

SCC Online 513. Counsel for the appellant submits

that this Court has granted only Rs.40,000/-

towards ‘loss of consortium’ which is an indication

that ‘consortium’ cannot be granted to children. In

the above case, Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has

awarded Rs.20,000/- to the widow towards loss of

consortium and Rs.10,000/- to the minor daughter

towards ‘loss of love and affection’. The High

Court has reduced the amount of consortium from

Rs.20,000/- to Rs.10,000/-. Paragraph 16 of the

judgment is to the following effect: –

“16. The consortium payable to the widow
was reduced by the High Court from Rs.
20,000 (as awarded by the MACT) to
Rs.10,000; the amount awarded
towards loss of love and affection
to the minor daughters was
reduced from Rs.10,000 to Rs.

       5,000.      However,      the      amount     of
       Rs.     5,000 awarded        by     the     MACT
                                                                       31

       towards      funeral                  expenses          was
       maintained.”


42. This        Court    in    the    above       case    confined    its

consideration towards the income of the deceased

and there was neither any claim nor any

consideration that the consortium should have been

paid to other legal heirs also. There being no

claim for payment of consortium to other legal

heirs, this Court awarded Rs.40,000/- towards

consortium. No such ratio can be deciphered from

the above judgment that this Court held that

consortium is only payable as a spousal consortium

and consortium is not payable to children and

parents.

43. It is relevant to notice the judgment of this

Court in United India Insurance Ltd. which was

delivered shortly after the above Three-Judge Bench

judgment of Sangeeta Arya specifically laid down

that both spousal and parental consortium are

payable which judgment we have already noticed

above.

32

44. We may also notice one more Three-Judge Bench

judgment of this Court in Civil Appeal No.2885 of

2020, M.H.Uma Maheshwari and others versus United

India Insurance Company Ltd. decided on 12.06.2020.

In the above case, the Tribunal had granted the

amount of Rs.One Lakh towards loss of consortium to

the wife and Rs.Three Lakhs for all the appellants

towards loss of love and affection. The High Court

in the above case had reduced the amount of

compensation in the appeal filed by the Insurance

Company. The High Court held that by awarding the

amount of Rs.One Lakh towards loss of consortium to

the wife, Tribunal had committed error while

awarding Rs.One Lakh to the first appellant towards

the head of ‘loss of love and affection’. Allowing

the appeal filed by the claimant, this Court

maintained the order of MACT.

45. In the above judgment although rendered by

Three-Judge Bench, there was no challenge to award

of compensation of Rs.One Lakh towards the

consortium and Rs.Three Lakhs towards the loss of

love and affection. The appeal was filed only by
33

the claimants and not by the Insurance Company. The

Court did not pronounce on the correctness of the

amount awarded under the head ‘loss of love and

affection’.

46. We may also notice the additional submission

advanced in Civil Appeal No……/2020 (arising out

of SLP(C)No.8250 of 2020), Oriental Insurance

Company Ltd. versus Smt.Rinku Devi & Ors. As noted

above, we have taken the view that the order of the

High Court awarding compensation towards ‘loss of

love and affection’ at the rate of Rs.50,000/- to

each of the claimants is unjustified which is

being set aside in this appeal. We, further, in the

above appeal also set aside the directions of the

High Court in paragraph 9 by which statutory amount

along with interest accrued thereon was directed to

be deposited in AASRA fund.

47. In result, all the appeals are partly allowed.

The award of compensation under the conventional

head ‘loss of love and affection’ is set aside. The

Motor Accident Claims Tribunals shall recompute the
34

amount payable and take further steps in accordance

with law.

48. All the appeals are partly allowed

accordingly. No costs.

…………………J.

( ASHOK BHUSHAN )

………………….J.

( R. SUBHASH REDDY )

NEW DELHI,
SEPTEMBER 07, 2020.



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