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Rumita Banik & Others v/s Ripan Chandra Ghosh & Others

Company & Directors' Information:- N R GHOSH & CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U52400WB1938PTC009511

Company & Directors' Information:- J R & M BANIK PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U24231WB1978PTC031711

Company & Directors' Information:- S K GHOSH PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U51909WB1945PTC010956

Company & Directors' Information:- A K GHOSH PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1960PTC024523

Company & Directors' Information:- A R GHOSH PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U25209WB1987PTC042917

Company & Directors' Information:- R K CHANDRA PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U36911WB1989PTC046753

Company & Directors' Information:- A GHOSH & CO PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74210WB1949PTC018128

Company & Directors' Information:- H CHANDRA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65990MH1952PTC008894

Company & Directors' Information:- K C GHOSH & CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U74210WB1934PTC008006

Company & Directors' Information:- A N GHOSH PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U45201WB1948PTC016772

Company & Directors' Information:- BANIK AND CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U22219WB1946PTC013754

Company & Directors' Information:- H C CHANDRA & CO. PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U20231WB1957PTC023337

Company & Directors' Information:- CHANDRA AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U74999KL1952PTC000280

Company & Directors' Information:- R. CHANDRA LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = U99999MH1953PLC009175

    Mac App No. 113 of 2018

    Decided On, 22 May 2020

    At, High Court of Tripura


    For the Appellants: A. Nandi, Advocate. For the Respondents: Biswanath Majumder, Advocate.

Judgment Text

1. The claimants have preferred this appeal seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, West Tripura, Agartala in Title Suit (MAC) No.177 of 2014 by the impugned award dated 11th September, 2017.[2] Brief facts are as under :On 16th March, 2014 one Arjun Banik was going from Ranirbazar to Agartala on his bicycle. Near Reshambagan School one auto-rickshaw coming from opposite direction collided with the bicycle causing grievous injuries to said Shri Arjun Banik. He received head injuries. He was taken to GBP hospital, Agartala. On 17th March, 2014 he was referred to ILS hospital, Agartala where he was treated as an indoor patient from 17th March, 2014 to 21st March, 2014. From there he was taken to AMRI hospital at Kolkata. His condition did not improve. He remained in a coma all throughout. He was, therefore, brought back to Agartala in the same state where he expired on 8th July, 2014. In the meantime, his wife had filed a claim petition for and on his behalf. She was joined as claimant No.2. The petition was thus instituted as an injury case. During the pendency of the petition, the injured expired. Ideally, the claim petition should have been amended and the daughter of the deceased who was another claimant should have been joined as a claimant or if not ready as a proforma respondent. Unfortunately, this was not done. However, the Claims Tribunal was apprised of the death of the injured. Evidence was led in order to show that the deceased was aged 43 years at the time of accident, that he was a skilled mason, that he had left behind two dependents, his wife and daughter and lastly, that after the accident till his death, he was treated at various hospitals at Agartala and Kolkata for which the family had to incur considerable expenditure.[3] The Claims Tribunal held that the accident was caused due to sole negligence of the driver of the auto-rickshaw. The Tribunal reimbursed medical expenditure of Rs.40,246/- spent by the wife for the treatment of the deceased at ILS hospital at Agartala, a sum of Rs.4,88,371/- for his treatment at Kolkata, a sum of Rs.1,24,367/- was awarded for journey to Kolkata and back with one escort and one Medical Officer for his treatment at Kolkata. The Tribunal believed the age of the deceased at 43 years. In absence of any evidence of his income, the Tribunal believed his income to be Rs.5,000/- per month, granted 30% increase for future prospect, applied a multiplier of 14 and deducted 1/3rd for the personal expenditure of the deceased in order to avoid a sum of Rs.7,28,000/- towards loss of dependency benefits. To this, Tribunal added Rs.50,000/- towards loss of consortium and Rs.25,000/- towards funeral expenses. A total of Rs.14,55,984/- was, thus, awarded by the Tribunal.[4] This appeal has been filed by the widow and daughter of the deceased though daughter was not a party to the claim petition. Mr. A. Nandi, learned counsel appearing for the appellants submitted that the Claims Tribunal did not award any amount for attendant charges for the treatment of the patient at Kolkata. Multiplier of 15 instead of 14 should have been adopted and lastly the monthly income of the deceased was wrongly believed by the Tribunal to be Rs.5,000/- which is too low.[5] On the other hand Mr. Biswanath Majumder, learned counsel appearing for the insurance company submitted that the claim petition was not suitably amended after the death of the claimant. His daughter was not brought on record though she was a dependent. She has filed this appeal along with the widow though the daughter was not party to the claim petition. He lastly submitted that the Tribunal has awarded adequate compensation.[6] It is true that certain consequential amendments after the injured died, ought to have been made in the claim petition. The daughter of the deceased who was also one of the dependents should have been brought on record. However, when all necessary facts had been brought on record before the Tribunal, the entire claim cannot be defeated on account of procedural errors in a benevolent legislation such as the present one. The presence of the daughter in the appeal also cannot be fatal to the cause of the appellants. At best, the insurance company can insist that she must be transposed as a proforma respondent in this appeal. However, this would be purely cosmetic and no further time need be vested on these aspects.[7] Coming to the question of compensation, so far as the medical expenditure and attendant charges are concerned, the Tribunal has already made adequate provisions. Full medical bills claimed by the claimants have been awarded. The Tribunal has also awarded expenditure for travelling to Kolkata and back from Agartala and also compensated the family for attendant charges. There is no further scope for enhancement under this head.[8] Coming to the question of compensation for loss of dependency benefits, it has come on record that the deceased was a skilled mason. Even in absence of any evidence his income at Rs.7,000/- per month could have been taken into account. Looking to his age, 30% rise for future income would make his prospective income at Rs.9,100/- per month i.e. Rs.1,09,200/- per annum. 1/3rd i.e. Rs.36,400/- would be deducted for his personal expenditure leaving a net of Rs.72,800/- per annum for the dependents. Applying a multiplier of 15 as per the decision of the Supreme Court in case of Sarla Verma (Smt) and Others v. Delhi Transport Corporation and another reported in (2009) 6 SCC 121, the loss of dependency benefits would come to Rs.10,92,000/-. Adding Rs.70,000/- towards conventional heads as provided by the Supreme Court in case of National Insurance Company Limited v. Pranay Sethi and others reported in (2017) 16 SCC 680, the total compensation for the death of the deceased would come to Rs.11,62,000/-. As against that awarded by the Claims Tribunal of Rs.8,03,000/- the claimants would thus receive an additional compensation of Rs.3,59,000/- in this appeal. Such amount shall be deposited by the insurance company before the Claims Tribunal with proportionate cost and interest @ 7.5% per annum from the date of the claim petition till actual deposit which shall be done within 8(eight) weeks from today.[9] This additional compensation with interest would be apportioned in favour of t

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he widow and daughter in the proportion of 75% as to 25%. Out of the amount which may be deposited by the insurance company, 70% would be invested in any Nationalized Bank in a fixed deposit for a period of 3(three) years in the cumulative interest scheme. The remaining 30% would be paid over to the widow and daughter in proportion of their sharers. Upon maturity of the fixed deposit the amount with accrued interest would be paid over to the widow and daughter in proportion of their shares.[10] Award of the Claims Tribunal is modified to the above extent. Appeal is allowed in part and disposed of. Pending application(s), if any, also stands disposed of. Records may be transmitted to the lower Court.