1. This is a second appeal arising out of a suit for damages for assault and battery filed by the plaintiff respondent 1 in the Court of Civil Judge, Class I, Durg. He claimed Rs. 8,000-Rs. 3,000 as general damages and Rs. 5,000-as special damages under the heads: general bodily pain Rs. 1,000, fractures of the right hand finger and left hand finger Rs. 2,000, medical treatment Rs. 5,000 and vindictive damages Rs. 1,500. The trial Court decreed the suit awarding Rs. 5,100 as damages Rs. 3,000 general damages and Rs. 2,100 special damages: Rs. 1,000 for the fractures of the right hand finger and the left hand finger, Rs. 100 for medical treatment and Rs. 1,000 vindictive damages. On appeal, the judgment and decree of the trial Court were affirmed.
2. In this second appeal, the learned counsel for the appellants contends that Rs. 3,000 having been decreed towards general damages, there could be no decree for damages under the heads: fractures of the right hand finger and the left hand finger and vindictive damages, both of which, he submits, are covered by the expression 'general damages'.
3. Mattery relating to assessment of damages are ordinarily questions of fact: seel Damodhar v. Vishwanath, 28 Nag LR 320: (AIR 1933 Nag 29); but where a mistake in the principle of assessment materially affects the compensation, interference in second appeal may be necessary.
4. Damages are of two kinds; general and special. General damages are non-pecuniary losses, which cannot be calculated in terms of money. Such non-pecuniary losses are thus: (a) in respect of pain, suffering and shock suffered by the plaintiff by the assault; (b) loss of the amenities of life, such as the plaintiff suffers by reduced enjoyment of life due to the damage caused by the assault and which may apart from any material or pecuniary loss, be attendant upon the loss of amenities; (c) loss of expectation of life; (d) inconvenience and discomfort; and (e) exemplary damages where the conduct of the defendant has been so outrageous or scandalous that more punitive damages need be awarded against him and in favour of the plaintiff. On the other hand, special damages are such damages which can be computed in terms of money. Halsbury calls 'special damages' damages which can be laid and proved in terms of figures; while, on the other hand, 'general damages' are defined as 'matters which cannot be stated in money or money's worth and include such things as bodily or mental suffering, loss of reputation and the like', as pointed out above. In regard to special damages, they have to be specifically pleaded and proved; whereas general damages do not need to be so specically alleged and proved.
5. In regard to special damages, the plaintiff is entitled to recover (a) expenses which he was called upon reasonably to incur for medical treatment, nursing, special medical appliances, improvements or reconstruction carried out in his house as a consequence of his injuries, extra domestic help which he was called upon to employ, and the like. Under this head, even the expenses incurred by the plaintiff in respect of his or her spouse's visits to the plaintiff in the hospital are also recoverable. The second head under this item is 'loss of earnings or other profits'. This includes damages in respect of the earnings or profits which the plaintiff has lost as a result of his injuries up to the date of the trial. The third head is 'handicap in the labour market'. Courts are empowered to award to the plaintiff under this head such sums in respect of prospective loss of earnings as he may be found entitled to. When a person suffers minor injuries causing some permanent partial disability which may have no permanent effect on his earnings but may still handicap him in the performance of his pre-accident work, such a person is at a disadvantage compared with his colleagues in the labour market. The last head may be 'material loss other than loss of earnings' which the plaintiff suffered due to the assault.
If the plaintiff as part of the fruits of his employment material benefits other than his pecuniary earnings, for example, free board and lodgings, he is entitled to be awarded by way of damages the pecuniary equivalent of such material benefits. Similarly, if there is serious injury or disfigurement which reduces the prospects of marriage of a female plaintiff, such disfigurement would represent a real material loss and can be taken into consideration in assessing damages under this head.
6. Considering the facts of the instant case in the light of what I have stated above, I have no difficulty in upholding that the plaintiff was rightly held entitled to Rs. 3,000 as general damages under the circumstances of the case. This part of the award was also not seriously challenged before me.
7. As regards medical treatment also, the award of Rs. 100 cannot be said to be unreasonable so as to require interference in this appeal. As regards Rs, 1,000 under the head Vindictive damages', I am of opinion that vindictive or exemplary damages are only a species of non-pecuniary or general damages; and as Rupees 3,000 had already been awarded under the head 'general damages', no further award under the head Vindictive damages' could be made.
8. We are now left with the award of Sections 1,000 under the head fractures of the right hand finger and the left hand finger. The plaintiff is a businessman doing wholesale cloth business. He has stated in his deposition that for a period of over nine months when his hand was under plaster, he had not been able to attend to his business at all. He has further stated that the total turnover from his shop was of about Rs. 25,000 per year. I am, therefore, of opinion that the claim for damages on account of the fractures of the right hand finger and the left hand finger can well be brought under the head 'handicap in the labour market'. Somervell, L. J. dealing with a similar topic in Deakin v. Sankey, (1951) C. A. No. 21 of 1951, dated 4-4-51 and post at p. 520, said:
'The plaintiff suffered a permanent injury to his hand and there is evidence that there is a loss of function which might, if he were thrown on the labour market, militate against his getting work. He might want to get other work or better paid work, which he could have accepted if he had all his fingers and a fully competent hand .......... .the chances of life are such that I think with a man of fifty-four one must in awarding damages give some sum, not a token sum, in respect of such loss of capacity of earning power as is found here which would mean a financial loss if for any reason he was thrown on the ordinary labour market.' See p. 13 of 'The quantum of Damages by Kemp and Kemp, Second Edition, Vol. I.
The plaintiff is doing substantial business in the cloth trade. He is a youngman aged about 25 years and consequently the award of Rs. 1,000 in respect of such loss of capacity of earning power as could be attributed to the fractures of the right hand finger and the left hand finger cannot be said to be unreasonable requiring interference in this appeal.
9. In the result, the appeal is allowed to the extent of reducing the damages awarded by Rs. 1,000. The parties shall be entitled to proportionate costs throughout.