1. Several passengers were injured and one died too, namely; Urmila Chugh, when the Haryana Roadways bus HRE-1916, they were travelling in turned turtle in an accident with the truck HRK-5335, coming from the opposite direction. This happened on Nov. 12, 1974, on the Karnal bye-pass. It was the finding of the Tribunal that the negligence here was wholly that of the truck-driver. A sum of Rs. 14,400/- was awarded as compensation to the claimants--they being the husband and two minor children of Urmila Chugh deceased.
2. The claim in appeal now is for enhanced compensation.
3. Urmila Chugh was 29 years of age at the time of her death. She was a qualified teacher and had been teaching before her marriage and evidence was led to show that she had been taking tuitions thereafter and her earnings from this source were to the tune of about Rs. 450/- per month. This was, however, not accepted by the Tribunal. There can, at any rate, no manner of doubt that the deceased was a qualified teacher and was thus capable of working and earning as such. Besides this, it is now well-settled that the services that a housewife provides for the household, even though rendered gratuitously do indeed have a monetary value in respect of which compensation is payable, particularly to the beneficiaries of such services which would include the husband and the children. In Kemp & Kemp, on Quantum of Damages, Volume-I, various heads of pecuniary loss for the husband on the death of his wife have been listed out. Included there is the loss of the wife's contribution to the household from her earnings; the additional expenses incurred or likely to be incurred by having the household run by a house-keeper or servant, instead of the wife, the expenses of buying clothes for the children instead of having them made by the wife, and the similarly having his own clothes mended or stitched elsewhere than by his wife, and the loss of that element of security provided to the husband where his employment was insecure or his health was bad and where the wife could go out and work for a living.
4. It is also pertinent to bear in mind that there is no retirement age for a house-wife. She works in the house for as long as she is physically capable of doing so. Considered in this light, it is to be assumed that the deceased would have continued to provide such services to her husband and children for very many years to come. Her young age as also that of the claimants here must also reflect upon the quantum of compensation payable to them.
5. Considered in their totality the circumstances of the claimants and that of the deceased, in the light of the factors as set out above, there can be no manner of doubt that the amount awarded was wholly inadequate. The compensation payable to them is accordingly hereby enhanced to Rs. 50,000/- which they shall be entitled to along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of the application to the date of the payment of the amount awarded. Out of the amount awarded, a sum of Rs. 15,000/- each shall be payable to the minor children of the deceased and the balance to her husband. The amount payable to the minor claimants shall be paid to them in such manner as the Tribunal may deem to be in their best interest.
6. The respondent truck driver, owner and the insurance Company shall be jointly and severally liable for the compensation awarded.
7. This appeal is accordingly hereby accepted with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 500/-.
8. Appeal allowed.