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C. Kempamma v/s Managing Director M.K. Agro Tech Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru

    Miscellaneous First Appeal No. 6490 of 2015

    Decided On, 05 January 2021

    At, High Court of Karnataka

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ALOK ARADHE & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V. SRISHANANDA

    For the Appearing Parties: M. Vinay Keerthy, Advocate.



Judgment Text

Alok Aradhe, J.

1. This appeal under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act', for short) has been filed by the claimants seeking enhancement of the amount of compensation against the judgment dated 23.10.2014 passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.

2. Facts giving rise to the filing of the appeal briefly stated are that on 22.08.2012, the deceased Madhu was driving a Goods Canter bearing Registration No.KA-53-2961. When he reached near Green Palace, BM Road, a Goods Vehicle bearing Registration No. KA-11-7032, which was being driven by its driver in a rash and negligent manner, came from the opposite direction and dashed against the vehicle of the deceased who was turning his vehicle to the right. As a result of the aforesaid accident, the deceased sustained grievous injuries and succumbed to the same.

3. The claimants thereupon filed a petition under Section 166 of the Act claiming compensation on the ground that the deceased was aged about 19 years at the time of accident and was employed as a driver and was earning a sum of Rs.15,000/- per month. It was further pleaded that accident took place solely on account of rash and negligent driving of the offending goods vehicle by its driver. The claimants claimed compensation to the tune of Rs.27,20,000/- along with interest.

4. The insurance company filed written statement, in which the mode and manner of the accident was denied. It was pleaded that the offending goods lorry was not insured with the insurance company. It was also pleaded that the driver of the lorry did not hold a valid and effective driving license at the time of accident and that the liability of the insurance company, if any, would be subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. The age, avocation and income of the deceased was also denied and it was pleaded that the claim of the claimants is exorbitant and excessive.

5. On the basis of the pleadings of the parties, the Claims Tribunal framed the issues and thereafter recorded the evidence. The claimant No.2 examined himself as PW-1 and got exhibited documents namely Ex.P1 to Ex.P11. The respondents neither adduced any oral evidence nor any documentary evidence. The Claims Tribunal, by the impugned judgment, inter alia, held that the accident took place on account of rash and negligent driving of the goods vehicle by the deceased as well as the offending goods vehicle equally to the extent of 50% each. It was further held, that as a result of aforesaid accident, the deceased sustained injuries and succumbed to the same. The Tribunal further held that the claimants are entitled to a compensation of Rs.7,65,000/- along with interest at the rate of 6% per annum. Being aggrieved, this appeal has been filed seeking enhancement of the amount of compensation.

6. Learned counsel for the claimant submitted that the Tribunal has grossly erred in assessing the income of the deceased as Rs.5,000/- per month and in any case, the same ought to have been taken as per the guidelines framed by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority. It is further submitted that the Tribunal has erred in not making an addition to the tune of 40% to the income of the deceased on account of future prospects in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in 'NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED Vs. PRANAY SETHI AND OTHERS, (2017) AIR SC 5157'. It is further submitted that the sums awarded under the heads 'loss of consortium' and 'funeral expenses' are on the lower side and deserves to be enhanced suitably.

7. We have considered the submissions made by learned counsel for the claimants and have perused the record. The only question which arises for our consideration in this appeal is with regard to the quantum of compensation. Admittedly, the claimants have not produced any evidence with regard to the income of the deceased. Therefore, the notional income of the deceased is assessed as per the guidelines issued by the Karnataka Legal Services Authority. Since the accident is of the year 2012 notional income comes to Rs.7,000/- per month.

8. In view of the law laid down by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 'NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED Vs. PRANAY SETHI AND OTHERS, (2017) AIR SC 5157', 40% of the income has to be added on account of future prospects. Thus, the monthly income comes to Rs.9,800/-. The Tribunal has rightly deducted 1/3rd from the income of the deceased on account of personal and living expenses placing reliance on SARALA VERMA AND OTHERS. VS. DELHI TRANSPORT CORPORATION AND ANOTHER, (2009) 6 SCC 121 AND SMT. MUNIRATHNAMMA VS. KG VENKATESHWARULU, (2009) ILR(Kar) 151. It is also pertinent to note here that the insurance company has not filed any appeal or cross objection challenging the aforesaid aspect. Therefore, 1/3rd of the income is to be deducted on account of personal and living expenses. Thus, the monthly income of the comes to Rs.6,534/-. Taking into account the age of the deceased which was 19 years at the time of accident, the multiplier of '18' has to be adopted. Therefore, the claimants are held entitled to (Rs. 6,534x12x18) i.e., Rs.14,11,344/- on account of loss of dependency.

9. In view of laid down by the Supreme Court in 'MAGMA GENERAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. VS. NANU RAM & ORS, (2018) 18 SCC 130', which has been subsequently clarified by the Supreme Court in 'UNITED INDIA INSURANCE CO. LTD. Vs. SATINDER KAUR AND ORS.' IN CIVIL APPEAL NO.2705/2020 DECIDED ON 30.06.2020 each of the claimant's are entitled to a sum of Rs.40,000/- on account

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of loss of consortium and loss love and affection. Thus, the claimants are held entitled to Rs.80,000/-. In addition, claimants are held entitled to Rs.30,000/- on account of loss of estate and funeral expenses. Thus, in all, the claimants are held entitled to a total compensation of Rs.15,21,344/-. Since, the deceased was negligent in causing of the accident to the extent of 50%, respondent no.2 is directed to pay 50% of the total amount of compensation viz., Rs.7,60,672/- to the claimants. To the aforesaid extent, the judgment passed by the Claims Tribunal is modified. 10. Accordingly, the appeal is disposed of.
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