1. In this appeal under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 the appellant
makes a grouse of the inadequacy of the award of Rupees 10.010/-,made in her favour by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Chandigarh under Section 110-B of the Act.
2. Rattanjit Kaur, appellant an unmarried young girl of 26 years of age was employed as a clerk in the office of the Punjab School Education Board and was drawing Rs. 418.10 P. as her total emoluments on May 30, 1977 the date of accident. She was riding on the pillion seat of the Scooter No. PNJ-8909 on her way to her office in Sector 17, Chandigarh. The scooter was being driven by Shri. C. D. Kalra. When the scooter reached the crossing of the road near K. C. Cinema, bus No. HRA-9216 driven by Lakhan Pal driver banged into it and as per the evidence on record the scooter was dragged to a distance of 20 to 25 paces from the place of the impact. As a result of this accident the appellant suffered the following injuries:--
1. Fracture of both bones of the right leg with multiple abrasions.
2. Colle's fracture of the right forearm with multiple abrasion on the forearm right side.
3. Abrasion on the left elbow 3/4' diameter.
4. Contusion on the left forearm on the ulter border on the middle 1/5th size 1 1/2 ' x 1'.
5. Two abrasions o the lateral side of ring finger of the right hand, Size of each 1/2 'X 1/2 '
6. Swelling of the left foot. It was an expected fracture of metacarpal and x ray was advised.
2-A. As a result of the pleadings of the parties, the Tribunal was called upon to decide the following two issues:--
1. Whether the applicant was injured as a result of the rash and negligent driving of bus No. HRA-9216 by the respondent No. 3?
2. If issue No. 1 is proved, to what compensation is the applicant entitled and from which of the respondents?
3. Under issue No. 1 it was held that there was overwhelming evidence on record to show that the accident took place due to the rash and negligent act of Lakhan Pal driver. This finding is no more the subject-matter of controversy in this appeal. The sole question that has been raised and required determination is the quantum of compensation.
4. The Tribunal has assessed the compensation payable to the appellant under various heads in the following manner:--
1.Pain, suffering as a result of fracture of 3 limbs including that of five operations and stay in plaster (about 6-1/3 months in bed) and loss of happy life.--Rs. 5,000/-
2. Extra diet (as doctor admits he advised it) to regain health (and she was not normal even when appearing in the witness box 2 years after).--Rs. 850/-
3. Loss pay--Rs. 360/-
4. Physical disfigurement of and disablement and loss of prospects of marriage.--Rs. 2,000/-
5. Attendance charges (6-1/3 months in bed) unreimbursed medical expenses (treatment continued even after 29-8-1977).--Rs. 1,000/-
6. Transport Charges following the accident.--Rs. 800/-
5. According to the learned counsel for the appellant the award under appeal is not only miserly but is unfair to the appellant. As pr the evidence of Dr. Kuldip Singh (P.W.2) the appellant suffered the following major injuries:--
1. Fracture of both bones of right leg with multiple abrasions.
2. Fracture of right forearm with multiple abrasions.
3. Fracture of the left metacarpal.
6. According to the doctor the appellant underwent four operations during her stay in the hospital which lasted from May 30, 1977 to June 6, 1977 in the first instance and from June 26, 1977 to August 29, 1977 later. A minor operation for the extraction of a screw from one of the bones was yet to be conducted when he appeared to give his statement in court. Rattanjit Kaur as PW. 6, not only reiterated the injuries suffered by her, as described in the earlier part of the judgment, but she also stated that she had to remain in bed from the date of accident to the date of her resuming the duty on December 8,1977. Even up to that time in spite of all the operation she had undergone, she could not conveniently use her right hand and her right forearm was not in a proper shape. She cold not lift weight with her right hand and experienced a great difficulty in writing something. Her right leg was shortened resulting in limp. She had also difficulty in climbing a staircase. She was virtually incapacitated to run or paddle a cycle. The fingers of her left foot developed space in between ugly, she was using crutches till March, 1978. She had to employ a rickshaw at the rate of Rs. 65/- per month to carry her to office. Somewhere in the month of May, 1979, her office was shifted from Sector 17 Chandigarh to Mohali. During the course of her convalescence she had to take special diet under medical advice.
7. Man Singh (P.W. 8) her father not only corroborated her in all material particulars, but also stated that he had to spend Rs. 6,000/- on her extra or special diet and some medicines. He actually produced a note-book in which he had been keeping an account of the expenses incurred on her after May 1979. The actual figure of this account came to be Rs. 5261.25 P.
8. Shri Hardial Singh (P.W. 7), the Superintendent of the Accounts Branch of her office stated that she remained on leave from September 6, 1977 to September 30, 1977 on half pay and on leave without pay from November 27, 1977 to December 8, 1977. Calculated on this basis she suffered a loss of pay to the extent of Rs. 360-/-.According to him she rejoined her duties on December 9, 1977.
9. To my mind it is always impossible to have an exact estimate or assessment of the damage suffered by the persons in such cases, yet a reasonable view of the case in relation to all the circumstances of the case has to be taken in order to compensate the person injured for the loss which he has or appears to have suffered in life. After going through the evidence and some of the judgments, the learned counsel for the appellant relied upon, I find that the impugned award of Rs. 10,010/- in all is highly inadequate and is not commensurate with the facts and circumstances of the case. Assessing the compensation under the various heads under which the lower Court had determined the same. I find that no reasonable view of the matter has been taken. For instance for the extra diet which had to be given to the appellant to regain health under medical advice for about two years that is by the time she appeared in the witness box has been determined only at Rs. 850/- whereas the claim of the father of the appellant who undoubtedly was the best person to depose about it was for Rupees 6000/-. He actually produced some account for the amount of Rs. 5000/- odd. This evidence of his does not deserve to be discredited merely for the reason that no receipt etc. of the small amounts spent by him on various items have either been preserved or obtained. The expenses deposed to by him are highly consistent with the probabilities of the case and I do not see any justification for not allowing the same at the rate claimed by the appellant. Similarly, a paltry sum of Rs. 5000/- has been awarded for the pains and sufferings she has undergone as a result of the three fractures and five operation and for remaining in plaster for a pretty long time. The assessment of damages for physical disfigurement and disablement and loss of marriage prospects at Rs. 2000/- is simply ridiculous. Reduced prospect of marriage because of disfigurement and incapacitation is by itself a very material loss. The prospect and the bliss of a married life is seriously reduced in her case. Kemp on quantum of Damages, Volume 1, Section Edition on p. 15 discusses under the heading 'material loss other than loss of earnings' the result of injured suffered by a female thus: 'In the case of a female plaintiff serious injury or disfigurement may greatly reduce her prospects of marriage. Quite apart from other aspects of the matter which fall to be considered under the head of loss of amenities, such a matter would represent a real material loss, especially in the case of a woman who regarded marriage as her real prospective career, and who had not been educated or trained for anything else. An injury which handicaps her in the marriage market represents a real pecuniary loss. The class of society to which the injured belongs getting married and settling down is the usual career of girls.
10. The lower court has not even taken notice of the fact that the appellant has incurred a permanent disability and thus her loss of happiness and enjoyment is life long. She has only been allowed Rs. 800/- as transport charges following the accident; whereas over whelming evidence on record is that she cannot pull a cycle throughout her life and would have to travel either in a rickshaw or in a motor vehicle. It looks impossible that she would be able to drive a scooter or motor car with a deformed right hand. So her travelling expense again is a life long expense.
11. Keeping all these facts and circumstances in view I enhance the amount of compensation payable to the appellant under the various heads to the following extent:--
1. Extra or the special diet which had to be given to her for her speedy recovery.
2. Pains and sufferings she had to undergo as a result of the major injuries and the resultant operations and or remaining in plaster and then in bed for more than 6 months.
3. Physical disfigurement and loss of prospects of marriage
4. Permanent disability and the loss of enjoyment in life.
5. Maintenance or employing a rickshaw or other vehicle to be driven by a person other than the appellant
6. Loss of pay -Rs. 360/-Total-Rs. 75,360
12. As a result of the above discussion I determine the compensation payable to the appellant at Rs. 75,360/- in all. Besides the costs of this appeal, she would also be entitled to interest on this amount from the date of the claim application till the date of realisation of this amount at the rate of 6%.
13. Appeal allowed.