Supreme Court Modifies Compensation Granted by High Court to Appellant, Says He is Entitled to A Life of Dignity

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The Appellant was travelling in a bus operated by the Respondent Corporation. He met with an accident due to rash and negligent driving of the bus driver. As a consequence, the Appellant underwent amputation. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarded a compensation of Rs.4,08,850/- to the party. In doing so, physical disability suffered by the Appellant was assessed as 75%. Later, the disability percentage to the whole body was set at 37.5%. 

In the appeal, the High Court enhanced the compensation amount to Rs.5,10,350. While, it reduced the disability percentage to 25% of the whole body. Due to this, the Appellant was aggrieved by the inadequacy of compensation. Hence, he preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Arguments by the Parties 

The Appellant submitted that the daily income of Rs.300/- was rejected, despite evidence on record. The Counsel argued that the treating doctor fixed the disability at 25 per cent, without enough reasoning.

The Respondent contended that the High Court enhanced the compensation adequately. The Counsel contended that the Court considered all the evidence on record. Thus, the order required no interference.

Court’s View

The Court referred to Raj Kumar v. Ajay Kumar & Anr., 2011 (1) SCC 343. Therein, the Court laid down the principles for the granting of compensation. To calculate the future loss of earning, the Court has to assess the impact of the permanent disability on his earning capacity. Also, the impact is to be ascertained in three steps. First, identify the activities that he can carry on and the ones he cannot due to physical disability. Second, learn his age, profession and nature of work before the accident. Third,  establish the effect on discharging activities, whether total or partial. 

The Court applied these principles in Nagarajappa v. Divisional Manager, Oriental Insurance Company Limited 2011 (13) SCC 323. The Court opined that the Appellant’s ability to earn was completely negated and not reduced. As he was rendered incapable to work, the compensation granted must be proper. It must enable him to live a life of dignity. 

Court’s Decision

The Court entitled the Appellant to compensation based on 75%  permanent physical disability. In this regard, the Bench modified the compensation granted by the High Court. The recalculated compensation granted amounted to Rs. 11,97,350.


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