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Ram Lotan and anr. Vs. Bhagwati Prasad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1(1984)ACC391
AppellantRam Lotan and anr.
RespondentBhagwati Prasad and ors.
Cases ReferredSuresh Chand Saxena v. Union of India and Anr. (supra) and Mahendra Singh and Smt. Krishna Devi
Excerpt:
- .....for the loss of their only child and a sum of rs. 1,000.00 for the loss of filial affection. the loss of dependency was estimated at rs. 24,000/-.4. aggrieved, the claimants have preferred this appeal for the relief that a sum of rs. 15,000/- be further awarded as compensation. the respondent no. 2 is the new india assurance co. ltd. no cross-objection or cross-appeal has been filed for the respondents.5. the sole contention of the appellants, learned counsel is that the loss of dependency has not been reasonably calculated by the tribunal. laukush deceased was aged about ten years when the accident took place on august 22, 1977. p.w. ram lotan, the father of the deceased, testified that laukush was a student in a primary school at the village which has classes upto class v. being.....
Judgment:

B.D. Agarwal, J.

1.This appeal under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 is directed against the decision of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Allahabad, dated January 28, 1980. The dispute lies within a narrow compass.

2. On August 22, 1977 at about 7.30 a.m. Laukush, aged nearly ten years, son of Ram Lotan, was going from north to south in village Tarni, district Allahabad, where he resided. He was walking on foot towards his left. Bus No. U.P.Z. 4639 belonging to the respondent No. 1 was on way from Allahabad to Sarai Aqil. It dashed against Laukush causing multiple injuries and he died at the spot instantaneously. The bus was being driven, it is alleged, negligently and rashly. First In formation Report was lodged shortly after at 8.30 a.m. A Claim petition was moved by the deceased's father, Ram Lotan, and the mother on February 22, 1978, claiming compensation in the amount of Rs. 45,000/- only Respondent No. 1 denied the liability.

3. The Tribunal found that the bus in question was being driven rashly and negligently. The claim was allowed for a sum of Rs. 30,000.00 in all with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of the petition till the date of the payment. Of this the Tribunal award Rs. 5,000.00 for mental and physical pain and anguish to the claimants for the loss of their only child and a sum of Rs. 1,000.00 for the loss of filial affection. The loss of dependency was estimated at Rs. 24,000/-.

4. Aggrieved, the claimants have preferred this appeal for the relief that a sum of Rs. 15,000/- be further awarded as compensation. The respondent No. 2 is the New India Assurance Co. Ltd. No Cross-objection or cross-appeal has been filed for the respondents.

5. The sole contention of the appellants, learned Counsel is that the loss of dependency has not been reasonably calculated by the Tribunal. Laukush deceased was aged about ten years when the accident took place on August 22, 1977. P.W. Ram Lotan, the father of the deceased, testified that Laukush was a student in a primary school at the village which has classes upto Class V. Being himself illiterate Ram Lotan, it is not surprising, was not in a position to give any other particulars of the education being received by his son. He is corroborated by P.W. Kishori Lal of the village who too stated that Laukush was receiving education. There appears no tangible basis for disbelieving the testimony and coming to the finding as the Tribunal did that Laukush was not being educated. Assuming that Laukush was not attending a school at that stage, the likelihood of his joining a school later cannot be ruled out. It is a matter of common knowledge that in villages boys respectively those of backward classes join their studies comparatively at a later period. The claimants in the instant case are of backward class being kunbies. Ram Lotan is a small cultivator having 5-6 bigas of land in this district. In view of the reservation available to members of the backward classes, there was substantial chance that Laukush would have got a job on attaining the age of majority. There is, in my view, force in the contention for the appellants that Laukush may have, in any case, been able to join as peon in some government office taking advantage of the reservation available and in that event it may not be unreasonable to say that he would have drawn salary in the amount of Rs. 350/- per month besides D.A. amounting to Rs. 150/-per month. We may assume for the purpose of this case that he will have got the job say at the age of 21 years and not earlier. It may also be assumed that he would have been married by that time. On this account it may be expected that he would have required Rs. 250/- per month for the sake of himself and his family. He would still have been in a position to contribute Rs. 250/- per month towards maintenance of his parents. Ram Latan was about 40 years of age in 1977 and his wife was nearly 35. By the time Laukush would have got employment they would have been nearly 46-51 years in age. The life expectancy may even on a conservative basis be put at not less then 65 years. The Tribunal has fixed this at 60 years only without their being any rational basis for the same. In this manner we may safely adopt for the sake of arguments the sixteen years period as the multiplier. In this way the estimated loss of dependency to the claimant appellants may be said to exceed Rs. 39,000.00 since that would come to Rs. 3,000X16-Rs. 48,000. The Tribunal has awarded as mentioned above, a sum of Rs. 6,000/- to the appellant towards general damages for mental and physical pain and anguish besides the loss of filial affection on the passing away of their only child. Added to this, even a sum of Rs. 39,000.00 by way of loss of dependency the total would easily come to Rs. 45,000/- as claimed by the appellants.

6. Calculated thus even on a conservative basis, as mentioned above, the amount of compensation eligible to the appellants reaches the figure of Rs. 45,000/-claimed by them. Indeed, taking into consideration the reported decisions on the subject the compensation would far exceed this amount, but that is of no avail to the appellant for the reason that they have confined the claim in this appeal to the additional sum of Rs. 15,000/- only over and above Rs. 30,000/- awarded by the Tribunal. In Mangaldass Mohanlal and Anr. v. Union of India and Anr. : AIR1982Guj257 the deceased was a boy of about 13 years and reading in class VII. The probable income was estimated at Rs. 600/- per month. The father of the deceased was aged about 40 years and the court applied the multiplier of 15 years. It was held that the chances or probabilities being substantive must be evaluated. In Themina P. Jasawalla v. Manadeo Sitaram Ghadi and Ors. 1983 A.C.J. 666 the Tribunal assessed the probable income of the deceased at Rs. 400/- per month. A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court held that the mother would have received Rs. 300/- per month out of this income and this was taken to be dependency loss. The normal expectancy of life has been considered to be 70 years by our High Court as will appear from a decision of a Division Bench in Suresh Chand Saxena v. Union of India and Anr. A.I.R. 1983 Alld. 15 and Manendra Singh v. Smt. Krishna Devi 1979 A.C.J. 299. In Babu Singh v. Champa Devi and Ors. 1974 A.C.J. 168 the life expectancy was estimated by a learned Single judge of this Court at 75-80 years and in : AIR1981Delhi319 also the expectancy has been estimated 70-75 years. The Tribunal has erred in observing that there is no evidence with regard to the longivity attained by other numbers of the family. Ram Lotan testified that his parents died at the age of 75-80 years. Therefore, on the basis of these authorities it could not have been unreasonable to estimates the life expectancy claimed by the appellants at 70 years and hold further that the deceased would have contributed nearly half of his income to parents for their maintenance. As I said above, this would be only an academic exercise since the claim is confined to Rs. 15,000/- in addition to that awarded by the Tribunal and this Court cannot enhance the same further.

7. For the appellants the learned Counsel also took exception to a deduction 20% made by the Tribunal towards the loss of dependency. The Tribunal estimated the loss at Rs. 30,000/- but then after having made deductions @20% fixed the same at Rs. 24,000/- only. The estimate, as detailed above, was grossly under evaluated. There was no allegation to fix the life expectency at 60 years only and also to say that the monetary assistance from the deceased to the claimants would have been Rs. 125/-per month only. Upon taking the life expectency at 70 years as is normally done in these cases and on assumption that the deceased would have contributed half of earnings to the maintenance of the appellants, the amount would exceed Rs. 39,000/- in any event.

8. It was also urged for the appellants that interest be awarded at the rate of 9% per annum and in this connection it was argued that some other High Courts have awarded in excess of 6% per annum. The view taken in this Court has, however, been as the appellants' learned Counsel conceded, to award interest at the rate of 6% per annum only as may also be noticed in Suresh Chand Saxena v. Union of India and Anr. (supra) and Mahendra Singh and Smt. Krishna Devi (1979) A.C.J. 299) (supra). The award of interest, therefore, at the rate of 6% per annum only by the Tribunal from the date on which the petition was filed, namely, 22-2-1978 to the date of payment need not be interfered with.

9. The Appeal succeeds accordingly and is allowed with costs. The appellants shall be paid Rs. 15,000/-in addition to Rs. 30,000/- awarded by the Tribunal with interest at the rate of 6% per annum calculated from February 22, 1978 till the date of the payment.


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