Parental Consortium Should Be Included in Compensation To Minor Children of Deceased: Punjab & Haryana High Court

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On 18th December 2020, a Single Judge Bench consisting of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Karamjit Singh heard the case of Rani Devi & Ors v. Sanjay Kumar & Anr via video conferencing.

An appeal was filed by the appellants against the award passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Hisar on the ground that the award of Rs.15,43,916/- passed by the Tribunal was inadequate. 

Facts of the case

The deceased, Kuldeep, was on his way from Adampur to village Kirori on a motor cycle, when an accident took place which was caused by the respondent due to the rash and negligent driving. On account of the accident, the deceased suffered several injuries, and he was taken to MAMC, Hospital, Agroha, where the doctors declared him dead. 

An FIR was filed by the widow, minor children, and parents of the deceased, against the driver of the offending car under Section 279 IPC (Rash driving or riding on a public way), Section 304-A IPC (Causing death by negligence), and Section 427 IPC (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees). The deceased was doing the work of electric fittings and motor winding and his monthly income was Rs.30,000/- per month and all of them were dependent on his income. The appellants claimed Rs.1 crore as compensation, along with interest.

The insurer also took the plea that at the time of the accident, the driver of the offending car was not holding a valid and effective driving licence and the said car was driven in violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. It was prayed that the claim petition be dismissed. 

The Tribunal after going through the evidence, held that the accident was caused by the respondent while driving the offending car in a rash and negligent manner, and passed an award of Rs.15,43,916/-along with interest @ 7.5% per annum in favour of the appellants. Hence, the appeal was filed due to the inadequacy in the compensation.

Contentions of the Appellant

Learned Counsel for the appellants contended that the award was deficient as the Tribunal did not consider future prospects while calculating the compensation, and thus the award deserved to be modified. 

The Counsel referred to the case of National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi 2017(4) RCR (Civil) 1009, and contended that the deceased was 29 years of age and was having fixed income, and as such addition of 50% of his actual income was to be added towards future prospectus as per the settled legal position. 

Contentions of the Respondent

Learned Counsel for the Respondents referred to the case of National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi (supra), and contended that an addition of 30% of the established income of the deceased was to be added in this case, as he was self-employed. But the Tribunal had wrongly awarded Rs.1,00,000/- as loss of consortium, when the amount that should have been awarded was to the extent of Rs.40,000/- only. 

Court’s Analysis

The Court observed that the Tribunal deducted 1/4th of the monthly income towards the personal expenses of the deceased as laid down in Smt. Sarla Verma and others v. Delhi Transport Corporation and another 2009(3) RCR Civil 77 (SC). Further, the Tribunal applied multiplier of 17 in this case, considering the age of the deceased as 29 years. 

The Court observed that the income of the deceased was Rs.9372/- and was self-employed. As per the law laid down in National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi’s case (supra), an addition of 40% of the income of the deceased was to be added, towards future prospectus i.e., [9372 x 12 x3/4 x40/100 = Rs.33,739/- per annum]. By applying multiplier of 17, the total income on account of future prospects would be Rs.5,73,563/-. The Court observed that the appellants were entitled to get the said amount in addition to the compensation awarded by the Tribunal.

The Court referred to the case of United India Insurance Company Ltd. v. Satinder Kaur @ Satwinder Kaur and others, which held that, “’Parental consortium’ is granted to the child upon the premature death of a parent, for loss of parental aid, protection, affection, society, discipline, guidance and training.” In this case, the deceased had left behind two minor children who were entitled to get parental consortium at the rate of Rs.40,000/- each, which was not awarded by the Tribunal under the head of ‘parental consortium’.

Court’s Decision

The Court held that the appellants were entitled to get an additional amount of Rs.5,73,566/- in equal shares, on account of future prospects, which was over and above the awarded amount of Rs.15,43,916/-. Further, the consortium of Rs.1,00,000/- awarded to the appellant widow was to be disbursed in the following manner:

  1. spousal consortium: Rs. 40,000/- 
  2. parental consortium: Rs.30,000/- x 2 = Rs.60,000/- to both the minor children in equal shares.

Thus, the appeal was allowed by the Court.


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