Madras High Court Directs Respondents to Pay a Reduced Amount of Compensation in Section 173 Petition of Motor Vehicles Act

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This petition was filed under Section 173 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 against the Order dated 18-07-2016 of the Madras High Court. Hon’ble Justice  R. Mahadevan heard and allowed the petition in the case of M/s. Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. M. Kala and Ors.  

Facts of the Case

Neelavathi (Deceased) was walking on the corner of the left side of the road when the truck of the 8th respondent (Venkatesan), insured by the Appellant hit the Deceased due to rash and negligent driving. The Deceased sustained fatal injuries and died on spot, for which the heirs filed for compensation of 6,00,000/- and was awarded 6,43,000/- by the tribunal due to the evidence on record which prescribed 7.5% interest per annum from the date of the petition. The appeal was filed against the same order.

Arguments of the Parties

The Appellant contended that while the accident was not in question, the legal heirs were. Since none of the first 7 Respondents were dependants of the Deceased, they were not entitled to the claim. It was also claimed that the tribunal failed to take into consideration the monthly income of the Deceased as 6,500/- along with the fact that the deceased was 70 years old and was dependent on the Respondents 1-7. Hence, it was argued that the Tribunal has erred in fixing the annual dependency at Rs.39,000/- and capitalisation of the loss for 7 years. They also contended that the Tribunal erred in awarding 2,73,000/- towards loss of income and 3,50,000/- towards loss of love and affection. Hence, the compensation awarded was excessive and unreasonable.

The Respondents contended that the award of compensation was reasonable owing to the evidence on record. It was also contended that the Respondents were the legal heirs of the deceased through Legal Heirship Certificate since they were the daughters of the deceased. Thus, they were dependent on him.

Observation of Court

The Court observed through the post-mortem report and the Death Certificate that the deceased was 65 years old, and at the time of the accident, the claimant was 40 years old. Therefore, the age of 65 was fixed by the tribunal for calculating monthly income, which was done by taking his earnings from the fish shop. Further, the tribunal deducted 50% for personal expenses and adopted the multiplier of 7. The Tribunal relied on Sarla Verma and Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation and Anr. for the same

The Court also looked into the fact that the Tribunal was wrong in awarding Rs. 3,50,000/- for loss of love when already a huge amount was being given for loss of income. the Court held that Rs. 1,75,000/- would be the appropriate amount. The Court also awarded 15,000/- for loss of estate along with 5,000/- for travel expenses instead of 2,000/-. The Court further increased the compensation of damage to clothes and articles from 1,000/- to 2,000/- and 17,000/- to 20,000/- towards funeral expenses.

Decision of Court

The Court allowed the petition and disposed of it with direction to the Respondents to pay 4,90,000/- as new compensation amount with 7.5% per annum from the date of the petition.

Click here to read the judgment


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