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Basanti Devi & Another v/s Divisional Manager, New India Assurance Co. Ltd. & Others

    C.A. Nos. 7435-7436 of 2021

    Decided On, 06 December 2021

    At, Supreme Court of India

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M.R. SHAH & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE B.V. NAGARATHNA

    For the Appellants: Kaushik Laik, Ashay Kaushik, Advocates. For the Respondents: J.P.N. Shahi, Advocate.



Judgment Text

1. Leave granted.

We have heard Mr. Kaushik Laik, learned Counsel appearing for the Appellants and Mr. J.P.N. Shahi, learned Counsel appearing for the Respondents.

2. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned Judgment and Order passed by the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi in Miscellaneous Appeal No.378 of 2018 and Miscellaneous Appeal No.395 of 2018 by which the High Court has allowed the Appeal preferred by the Respondent-Insurance Company and has dismissed the Appeal preferred by the original Claimants to enhance the amount of Compensation, the original Claimants have preferred the present Appeals.

3. The deceased, at the time of accident, was 25 years of age. The deceased was a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Technology. The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Ranchi (hereinafter referred to as the “Tribunal”) assessed the income of the deceased for the purpose of awarding the Future Loss of Income @ Rs. 20,000 per month and thereafter adding 40% towards Future Prospects and thereafter deducted 50% towards his own personal expenditure as he was a bachelor, the Tribunal arrived at a total figure of Rs. 1,68,000 p.a. for Loss of Dependency and thereafter applying the Multiplier of 18 awarded Rs. 30,24,000 towards Future Loss of Income. The Tribunal also awarded other amounts under the Conventional Heads. Thus, in all, the Tribunal awarded a total sum of Rs. 30,54,000. However, as the Claimants already received a sum of Rs. 50,000 as Interim Compensation under Section 140 of the Motor Vehicles Act, the Tribunal deducted the same and awarded a total sum of Rs. 30,04,000 (Rs. 30,54,000 — 50,000) as Compensation for the death of the deceased. In an Appeal preferred by the Insurance Company, the High Court has reduced the amount of Compensation from Rs. 30,54,000 to Rs. 15,82,000. The High Court has also dismissed the Appeal preferred by the Claimants, which was filed to enhance the amount of Compensation.

4. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned Common Judgment and Order passed by the High Court dismissing the Appeal preferred by the original Claimants and partly allowing the Appeal preferred by the Respondent-Insurance Company and reducing the amount of Compensation from Rs. 30,54,000 to Rs. 15,82,000, the original Claimants have preferred the present Appeals.

5. Having heard the learned Counsel appearing for the respective sides and considering the fact that the deceased at the time of death/accident was aged 25 years of age and was a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Technology, we are of the opinion that the Tribunal rightly considered the income of the deceased at the time of death at least @ Rs. 20,000 p.m. The same was not required to be interfered with by the High Court. The submission on behalf of the Respondent — Insurance Company that as no documentary evidence was produced and/or laid in support of the documentary evidence produced on record that the deceased was earning Rs. 20,000 per month and therefore, the Tribunal ought not to have assessed the income of the deceased at Rs. 20,000 per month is concerned, assuming that there was no supporting evidence laid, in that case also considering the potentiality to earn, as the deceased was a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Technology, his income can safely be assessed atleast at Rs. 20,000 per month. As such we are in complete agreement with the view taken by the Tribunal. The High Court has committed a grave error in reducing the Compensation from Rs. 30,54,000 (Rs. 30,04,000) to Rs. 15,82,000.

5.1. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the impugned Judgment and Order passed by the High Court insofar as allowing the Appeal preferred by the Insurance Company and reducing the amount of Compensation from Rs. 30,54,000 to Rs. 15,82,000 is required to be quashed and set aside and is, accordingly, quashed and set aside. The impugned Judgment and Order passed by the High Court dismissing the Appeal preferred by the original Claimants, which was filed to enhance the amount of Compensation was rightly dismissed by the High Court. We concur with the same.

6. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the present Appeal arising out of the impugned Judgment and Order passed by the High Court p

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artly allowing the Appeal preferred by the Respondent-Insurance Company and reducing the amount of Compensation from Rs. 30,54,000 to Rs. 15,82,000 is hereby quashed and set aside and we restore the Judgment and Award passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Ranchi awarding the Compensation at Rs. 30,54,000. The Appeal preferred by the original Claimants dismissing their Appeal for enhancement is hereby dismissed. The Appeals stand disposed of in the above terms.
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