Sunday, December 3, 2023

Supreme Court decreases the compensation in motor accident claim case

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The Supreme Court reduced compensation amount awarded by the Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court to a claimant while deciding on a case pertaining to motor vehicle accident.

The Division Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela M. Trivedi partly allowed and disposed the appeal of New India Assurance Company Ltd challenging the judgment dated 22-04-2019 of Rajasthan High Court awarding compensation of Rs.56,44,378/- (Rupees Fifty Six Lakhs Forty Four Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy Eight only) by applying the multiplier to the net salary payable to the claimant/ first respondent.

Counsel appearing for the first respondent fairly stated that the said respondent had continued in government service even after his accident, and has retired on superannuation. Counsel, however, stated that the first respondent had lost out on the encashment of his earned and medical leaves, due to the injuries suffered by him, a fact that has already been addressed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).

First respondent was also denied and deprived of certain allowances that were paid to him when he was in the CID department, viz., the intelligence allowance, special allowances and special pay allowance, as he was transferred from the CID Department to the Wireless Department on account of his injuries, counsel added.

Further the Counsel apprised the Bench that the first respondent underwent an operation and an implant has been fixed on his spine which affects him physically. The first respondent, owing to the operation and related medical issues, has been deprived of postretirement earning.

Also Read: Allahabad High Court sets aside Tribunal Court order, increases claim in accident case

The Counsel has also drawn the attention of the Court to the fact that as per the certificate of disability, the said respondent has suffered 75% disability in the lower limbs. However, during the course of the hearing, the counsel has accepted that the first respondent can move around, but sometimes he requires assistance.

In view of the accepted position that the first respondent had continued to work, the Top Court do not think the High Court was correct in awarding compensation of Rs.56,44,378/- (Rupees Fifty Six Lakhs Forty Four Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy Eight only) by applying the multiplier to the net salary payable to the first respondent.

The Bench observed that the first respondent has continued to earn the monthly salary he was earlier drawing, including increments, except some allowances given due to the nature of posting. The first respondent, at the time of the injury, was 56 years old and had about four years of service till his retirement.

“The High Court also failed to notice that the injury certificate did not relate to permanent disability in the entire body, and had certified 75% disability in the lower limbs. As noted above, the first respondent is not immobilized. He can perform and undertake daily chores without help and assistance”

-the Bench further observed.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) had noticed all these pertinent facts and had awarded compensation of Rs. 6,21,000/- (Rupees Six Lakhs and Twenty One Thousand Only).

Also Read: Supreme Court sets aside Rajasthan High Court on existence of bank account

Keeping in view the aforesaid position, along with the facts that the first respondent had undergone an operation and an implant had been fixed on his vertebrae causing him physical pain, discomfort and possible decrease in lifespan, and that he though entitled to pension and retirement benefits, has lost the opportunity to take up post-retirement employment, the Court deemed it appropriate to enhance the compensation of Rs. 6,21,000/- by a further amount of Rs. 3,79,000/- . In other words, the first respondent is entitled to receive total compensation of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakh Only) in all.

“The further compensation of Rs. 3,79,000/- (Rupees Three Lakh and Seventy Nine Thousand Only) would be paid within six weeks from today with interest @ 6 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the claim application”, the order reads.

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