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Jakkavva & Others v/s Mahesh & Others

    Miscellaneous First Appeal No. 200740 of 2015 (MV)

    Decided On, 12 March 2018

    At, High Court of Karnataka Circuit Bench OF Kalaburagi


    For the Appellants: Sanganagouda V. Biradar, Advocate. For the Respondents: R2, C.S. Kalburgi, R4, Mallanna Reddy, Advocates (Absent).

Judgment Text

(Prayer: This MFA is filed under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, praying to enhance the compensation amount payable to the appellant by suitably modifying the judgment and award dated 13.02.2015 passed by the Judge Fast Track Court, Vijaypur at Vijaypur in MVC No.699/2014.)

Raghvendra S. Chauhan, J.

1. The appellants have challenged the legality of the award, dated 13.02.2015, passed by the Fast Track Court, Vijaypur, whereby for the sudden death of Mr. Dharmanna, the learned Tribunal has granted a compensation of Rs.9,74,000/- along with an interest at th

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e rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing of the petition till the date of realisation.

2. Briefly the facts of the case are that on 13.01.2014, at about 8.30 p.m., Mr. Dharmanna was travelling in a Cruiser Jeep, bearing Reg. No.MH-11/AK- 1016, along with others, from Karad to Pune, on the National Highway No.4. When the jeep came near a tunnel, a Container Trailer, bearing Reg. No.MH-06/AQ- 2093, being driven in rash and negligent manner, lost control and fell on the Cruiser Jeep in which Mr. Dharmanna was travelling. Due to the impact, Mr. Dharmanna died on the spot. Since the appellants were totally dependent upon his earnings, they filed a claim petition before the learned Tribunal.

3. In order to support their case, the appellant- claimant No.1 examined herself as PW.1, another witness as PW.2, and submitted thirteen documents. On the other hand, the Insurance Company did not examine any witness, but did submit two documents. After assessing the evidence, the learned Tribunal granted the compensation as aforementioned. Hence, this appeal for enhancement.

4. Mr. Sanganagouda V. Biradar, the learned counsel for the appellants, has vehemently contended that according to Appaso Maruti Shiragai (PW.2), Mr. Dharmanna was working with the Tata Motors Limited, Pune, and was earning Rs.11,865/- per months as his salary. Therefore, the learned Tribunal was not justified in taking Mr. Dharmanna's notional income as merely Rs.6,000/- per month. Therefore, his salary should be taken as Rs.11,865/- instead of Rs.6,000/- per month. Hence, the impugned award needs to be modified as far as compensation in the category of "loss of dependency" is concerned.

5. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the respondent No.2, the Insurance Company, Mr. C.S. Kalburgi has pleaded that according to the testimony of PW.2, Mr. Dharmanna had stopped working two days prior to his untimely death, namely on 11.01.2014. Therefore, on the date of his death, he was an unemployed young man. Therefore, his salary certificate produced by PW.2 cannot be taken as the basis for calculating the salary earned by the deceased. Since he was unemployed, only a notional income could be taken. Therefore, the learned Tribunal was justified in taking his notional income as merely Rs.6,000/- per month. Hence, the loss of dependency does not need to be re-calculated by this Court.

6. In rejoinder, the learned counsel for the appellants has pleaded that even if the notional salary needs to be taken, according to the Schedule prepared by this Court, the notional salary for an accident of 2014 is Rs.7,500/- per month. Thus, the notional income should be enhanced from Rs.6,000/- per month to Rs.7,500/- per month. But nonetheless, the loss of dependency needs to be re-calculated by this Court.

7. Heard the learned counsel for the parties and perused the impugned award.

8. A bare perusal of the testimony of Mr. Apaaso Maruti Shiragavi (PW.2) clearly reveals that in his examination-in-chief, he has informed the learned Tribunal that Mr. Dharmanna had joined the company on the post of Sheet Metal worker. He had worked in the company till 11.01.2014. During the tenure of his service, he was earning Rs.11,865/- per month. However, on 11.01.2014, his services were terminated interalia on the ground that his services were "no more required". The fact that his services were terminated had been admitted by the witness in his cross- examination. Thus, obviously on 13.01.2014, on the date of the accident, Mr. Dhamranna was unemployed. Therefore, the salary certificate issued prior to his death cannot be taken as the basis for assessing his monthly income. Thus, the learned Tribunal had no other option, but to take the notional income of Mr. Dharmanna, and to calculate the loss of dependency on the said basis.

9. In catena of cases, this Court has emphasized that where the notional income needs to be taken by the Tribunal, the learned Tribunal shall rely upon the Schedule prepared by this Court. According to the said Schedule, for an accident of 2014, the notional income should be taken as Rs.7,500/- per month. Therefore, the learned Tribunal was not justified in assessing Mr. Dharmanna's income as merely Rs.6,000/- per month. Hence, the income needs to be enhanced from Rs.6,000/- to Rs.7,500/- per month.

10. Naturally, Mr. Dharmanna would have spent 1/3 of his annual income upon himself. Therefore, he would have spent Rs.5,000/- per month upon his family. Thus, the loss of dependency needs to be recalculated as Rs.5,000/- x 12 x 18 = Rs.10,80,000/-. Therefore, the loss of dependency is enhanced from Rs.8,64,000/- to Rs.10,80,000/-. To this limited extent, the impugned award stands modified. The compensation amount shall carry an interest @ 6% p.a. from the date of filing of the petition till the date of realisation.

11. The respondent No.2 - Insurance Company is directed to deposit the entire compensation amount, along with interest, with the Tribunal within a period of one month from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this judgment. The Tribunal is directed to release the said amount according to the proportions declared by it in the impugned award, in favour of the appellants- claimants.

The appeal is hereby allowed.