(Prayer: Memorandum of Grounds of Civil Miscellaneous Appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 against the award and decree dated 24.9.2013 made in M.C.O.P.No.31 of 2011 on the file of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Arni, Tiruvannamalai District.)
1. The New India Assurance Company Limited, Polur, having been aggrieved by the impugned award passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Arni in M.C.O.P.No.31 of 2011 dated 24.9.2013 awarding a sum of Rs.3,46,000/- to the claimants, as against the claim of Rs.15,00,000/-, with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum, has brought this appeal questioning the liability.
2. Heard the learned counsel for the parties.
3. It is a case of death of a 31 year old breadwinner, who left behind his parents, namely, father and mother, aged about 58 years and 54 years respectively, as orphans. On 8.2.2011 at about 8.15 A.M., the son of the claimants viz., S.Vijayakumar, while proceeding in his two-wheeler bearing Registration No.TN 25 R 5119 along with two other relatives who were riding in another motorcycle towards Tiruvannamalai, was hit by a lorry bearing Registration No.TN 43 B 7211 which was coming in the opposite direction from Tiruvannamalai in a rash and negligent manner, as a result of which he suffered severe head injuries and died on the spot. The First Information Report registered on the file of the Kalasapakkam Police Station in Crime No.108 of 2011 for the offence under Sections 279, 304(A) of IPC against the driver of the lorry bearing Registration No.TN 43 B 7211 shows that only the driver of the lorry was the cause for the accident, as he had turned the lorry towards Karayambadi Koot road without following the traffic rules and without following the signal. One of the eye-witnesses, Mr.Sundar, who was examined as P.W.2, supporting the version of P.W.1-Kanniammal, the mother of the deceased, had deposed that while he was also proceeding along with Mr.Vijayakumar in another motorcycle, he had witnessed the accident caused by the rash and negligent driving by the driver of the offending lorry, as a result Mr.Vijayakumar, who was working as a private contractor constructing railway bridges, etc., and earning a sum of Rs.15,000/- per month, died leaving behind his dependent parents without any caretaker. As Mr.Vijayakumar was the only breadwinner of the claimants family, accepting the evidence of P.W.1 supported by the version of P.W.2, an eye-witness and corroborated by the First Information Report, Ex.P1 indicating that the accident occurred only due to the rash and negligent driving by the driver of the offending lorry, the Tribunal has answered the question as to who is responsible for causing the accident for taking away the life of the breadwinner of the claimants family, who was aged only 31 years at the time of accident. Since there has been a clear finding recorded by the Tribunal with regard to the negligence of the driver of the offending lorry, for the tortious act of the driver of the offending lorry, the vicarious liability has been saddled on the insurance company, being the insurer of the offending vehicle.
4. Coming to the quantum of compensation to be awarded for loss of dependency, it is a clear case advanced by the claimants that their son was working as a private contractor constructing railway bridges etc., and also earning a sum of Rs.15,000/- per month. But the Tribunal has fixed a sum of Rs.3,000/- alone towards the notional monthly income of the deceased, on the ground that no documentary evidence was produced to prove his monthly income. When the mother of the deceased had deposed that her son was working as a private contractor constructing railway bridges, etc., and the same was also supported by the version of P.W.2, an eye-witness, even in the absence of any documentary evidence to prove the monthly income of the deceased, as per the settled legal position then existing, a sum of Rs.4,500/- should have been fixed by the Tribunal as the notional monthly income of the deceased, which has not been done in this case. Moreover, 50% of the actual salary has not been added towards the future prospects. Hence, in the light of the settled legal position, this Court is inclined to fix the notional monthly income of the deceased at Rs.4,500/- and 50% of the said income is added towards future prospects. Since the deceased was a bachelor, 50% thereof is to be deducted towards the personal expenses of the deceased. As the deceased was aged about 31 years at the time of accident, the proper multiplier '16' is to be adopted. Accordingly, a sum of Rs.6,48,000/- (Rs.4500+2250-3375 i.e. 3375x12x16=Rs.6,48,000) is arrived at towards the loss of dependency. 5. With regard to the compensation to be awarded towards loss of love and affection to the parents, considering the fact that their son unfortunately died in the accident caused by the rash and negligent driving by the driver of the offending lorry bearing Registration No.TN 43 B 7211, the poor parents, who were always depending upon the income of the deceased, had lost everything. Hence, applying the ratio laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Rajesh and others v. Rajbir Singh and others, 2013 (9) SCC 54, this Court is inclined to award a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- each to both the claimants/parents towards loss of love and affection, as it has been repeatedly held by the Apex Court as well as by this Court that even in the absence of any appeal being preferred by the claimants for enhancement, it is the bounden duty of the Court to award a just and reasonable compensation to the bereaved family to make good the loss of the breadwinner. A sum of Rs.25,000/- is also awarded towards the funeral expenses. The award of Rs.2,000/- for transportation and Rs.1,000/- for damages to clothes as ordered by the Tribunal shall stand confirmed. Accordingly, the respondents/claimants are entitled to a total compensation of Rs.8,76,000/- together with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum from the date of petition till the date of reaslisation payable by the appellant, as the insurer of the offending vehicle. Out of the said amount, the first respondent/claimant is entitled to Rs.4,76,000/- and the second respondent/claimant is entitled to Rs.4,00,000/-. With the above modification, the civil miscellaneous appeal stands disposed of. Consequently, interim order stands vacated and the M.P.No.1 of 2014 is closed. No costs.
6. Since a sum of Rs.3,46,000/- with interest was already deposited, the appellant insurance company is directed to deposit the balance amount of compensation representing the enhancement to the credit of the M.C.O.P.No.31 of 2011 on the file of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Arni, Tiruvannamalai along with interest within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. On such deposit being made, the respondents/claimants are entitled to withdraw the entire amount with accrued interest representing their share by moving appropriate applications before the Tribunal.