(1.) JUDGMENT:- The appeal arises out of an accident which occurred at about 2.45 p.m on September 21, 1980, in the course of which one Shasni Kant, who was skiing on the pillion seat of a Motor-cycle which was involved in the accident. received fatal injuries as a result of which he died on the next day, leaving behind his parents and an unmarried sister. The deceased, who was aged about 24 at the time of his death, was a diploma holder in Engineering and employed as Junior Engineer in the Minor irrigation and Tube-well Corporation, Haryana. His monthly emoluments were Rs.714.25 at the time of his death. The Tribunal came to the conclusion that the dependency benefit/loss to the estate was required to be computed at Rs.400/- per month. On that basis the datum figure was worked out at Rs.4800/- per annum. Applying the multiplier of 22, the Tribunal computed the compensation at Rs.1,05,600.00. Adding to the said amount a sum of Rs.3,000/- by way of conventional figure of compensation for loss of expectation of life, the total compensation was determined at Rs.1,08,600.00. The Insurance Company's liability was determined at Rs.50,000/- and the balance amount of compensation was ordered to be paid by the appellant, who is the owner of the major vehicle involved in the accident. Hence the present appeal.
(2.) On the issue of negligence, the Tribunal has discussed the evidence in paragraphs 6 to 10 of the award under appeal. The Tribunal, on the basis of the evidence led before it, came to the conclusion that the accident had occurred due to the negligence of the driver of the vehicle owned by the appellant. The Tribunal has rightly preferred the evidence led on behalf of the claimants to that led on behalf of the appellant. The vehicle owned by the appellant was a Matador whereas the other vehicle was a Motor-cycle. The road at the site of the accident was 35 feet wide with shoulders of 5 feet on each side. There was no curve and the incline was slight. The driver of the bigger vehicle was bound to take greater care in the management of his vehicle. Instead he is shown to have been negligent. There is no reason to differ from the conclusions arrived at on the issue of negligence on the basis of the evidence which has been adequately and substantially dealt with in the course of the impugned award.
(3.) On the quantum of compensation, however, the Tribunal appears to have erred in law in applying the multiplier of 22. On the facts and in the circumstances of the case bearing in mind all the relevant factors, the multiplier could not have exceeded 20. The claimants have stated to the court that they would have no objection if the compensation is re-determined on the basis of the application of multiplier of 20. Be it stated that a feeble attempt was made on behalf of the appellant to challenge the dependency benefit/loss to the estate which is quantified at Rs.4800/- per annum. There is, however, no merit in the said challenge having regard to all the circumstances of the case including the age. emoluments and status in life of the deceased. The condensation could not have been determined on the basis of a lesser datum figure.
(4.) In view of the foregoing, with the consent of the claimants-respondents, the compensation for the loss of dependency benefit/loss to the estate is re-determined at Rs.96000/-. Accordingly the claimants-respondents are held entitled to a total compensation in the sum of Rs.99,000/-. A sum of Rs.50,000/-, which is determined to be payable by the Insurance Company, is stated to have been received by the claimants. The balance amount will be recoverable by the claimants with interest as ordered by the Tribunal out of the amount deposited in the Registry on behalf of the appellant. The excess amount, if any, will be refunded to the appellant by the Registry.
(5.) While making the apportionment, the Tribunal does not appear to have borne in mind the provisions of Sections 1-A and 2 of the Fatal Accidents Act' 1855, read with Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. In view of the decision in Somabhai Vajabhai v. Babubhai Bhailalbhai 23(1) Guj LR 785, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the compensation or substantial portion thereof ought to have been apportioned in favour of the mother of the deceased (respondent No.2). The appellant has obviously no grievance to make in this regard. On behalf of the claimants, it has been stated that they would have no objection if the entire balance amount of compensation, which is payable by the appellant, is paid to respondent No.2 who is the mother of the deceased. Accordingly, the Registry will pay the said amount to the second respondent to the exclusion of respondents Nos.1 and 3. The entire amount will be paid to Mr. A.K. Goel, learned counsel appearing on behalf of respondents Nos. 1 to 3, who will arrange to have the same deposited in a Nationalised Bank at Bhiwani in the State of Haryana. The deposit will be made for a period of 63 months on the condition that it will not be encashable
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
before the due date of maturity and that no loan will be raised against the same save and except with the prior permission of this Court. The original deposit receipt will be lodged in this Court and it will be delivered back to the concerned respondent (respondent No.2) or to the person duly authorised by her upon maturity. The interest accruing due periodically on the fixed deposit will be payable: to the second respondent. The appeal succeeds only to the extent stated above and it stands disposed of accordingly with no order as to costs. Ordered accordingly.