Libertatem Magazine

Tripura HC Re-Assesses Loss of Dependency Estimated by the Tribunal

Contents of this Page


An appeal under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 was filed by the Insurance Company before the Tripura High Court, disputing the decision and award due to the death of Late K. Vanlalnghaka in a road traffic accident.

Facts of the Case

Vanlalnghaka was a teacher at Noagaon, North Tripura’s Bethlehem English School. He was returning home from Bagabasha in Dharmanagar in his ‘Scooty’ with registration number TR-05-8855 by the side of National Highway 44. While returning, the deceased was hit by the wrongdoer’s truck. As a result, he sustained a fatal injury and died. The accident occurred as a result of the truck’s aggressive and irresponsible driving, according to the report. The deceased’s wife, his three young children, and his mother filed an application with the MACT in Dharmanagar seeking compensation of Rs.55,00,000/- for his death in the road traffic accident.

In his written objection, the offending truck’s driver admitted to the accident and blamed the deceased for it. The driver of the vehicle said that the collision would not have happened if the deceased had driven his ‘Scooty’ with caution. The insurer of the offending truck, Oriental Insurance Company Limited, argued that the amount of compensation sought by the petitioners was excessive. The insurer of the deceased’s ‘Scooty’ stated that the ‘Scooty’ was insured with the respondent.

Arguments before the Court

The said respondent argued that the deceased did not drive his ‘Scooty’ carefully and that the accident was not caused by the offending truck’s aggressive and negligent driving, which was insured by Oriental Insurance Company Limited. The respondent further claimed that he was not liable to pay any compensation as a result of the accident. 

During his argument, learned counsel for the appellant argued that the Tribunal’s award of compensation was exorbitant and that it should be lowered to a reasonable amount. Learned counsel further claimed that the deceased’s children and mother were not entitled to any compensation for loss of love and affection. As a result, the award of Rs. 40,000 for each of the deceased’s three children and mother under this heading was erroneous. Moreover, learned counsel sought the court to reduce the compensation to a fair amount by amending the Tribunal’s judgment and award.

Court’s Observation

The High Court observed that while determining the amount of compensation due to the claimants, the Tribunal considered the most recent pay certificate of the deceased. After deducting the sum from his monthly income for living and personal costs, the deceased’s monthly income was calculated to be Rs.32100, and his yearly income was calculated to be Rs.385200.

The High Court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in the matter of Sarla Verma (Smt.) & others vs. Delhi Transport Corporation, to estimate the loss of reliance to be Rs.385200 x 11= Rs.4237200. According to the Supreme Court’s decision in National Insurance Company Ltd. vs. Pranay Sethi & Ors., an amount of Rs.15000 was added to the above mentioned amount for funeral expenditures, as well as an amount of Rs.15000 for estate loss. On the basis of his salary certificate, the Tribunal assessed his income. The tribunal added 15% of his real salary to determine his income because he had a steady job and was between the ages of 50 and 60.

The High Court further observed that the Tribunal had erred in deducting 1/3rd of personal and living expenses of the deceased rather than deducting 1/4th of personal and living expenses as per the Supreme Court judgment in the Sarla Verma Judgment. The High Court thus assessed the loss of dependency to be Rs. 47,67,048/-.

Court’s Decision

The HC re-assessed the total compensation payable to be Rs. 49,57,000/-. The court ordered that the appellant is required to deposit the entire sum, (which includes 6% annual interest from the date of presentation of the claim to the tribunal till payment), with the Tribunal within 6 weeks. The respondents will each receive an equal amount of money. The minor children’s share of the compensation must be put in a fixed deposit in any nationalized bank with monthly income facilities, and the interest earned as monthly income from their accounts must be used for their welfare. The agreement will last until the minor children reach the age of majority.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE JUDGMENT is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgment from courts. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can subscribe to our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

About the Author