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J.S. Kampani Vs. Tarsem Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberF.A.O. No. 179 of 1976
Judge
Reported in[1984]56CompCas209(P& H)
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110A
AppellantJ.S. Kampani
RespondentTarsem Singh and ors.
Appellant Advocate V.P. Gandhi, Adv.
Respondent Advocate L.M. Suri, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....tribunal was clearly in error in awarding compensation for loss of love and affection on account of the death of the deceased. it is well settled that no compensation is payable under this head. 4. further, the fact that this was a case of contributory negligence where both the driver of the car and that of the truck were at fault was clearly no ground for reducing the amount payable as compensation to the claimant on account of the death of his mother. in a case like the present, where both the drivers are found to be guilty of negligence, they would be joint tortfeasors. according to the evidence on record, she was not suffering from any disease or ailment and was in good health. 7. turning now to the present case, the tribunal rightly came to the conclusion that the deceased could..........truck were at fault was clearly no ground for reducing the amount payable as compensation to the claimant on account of the death of his mother. the deceased was merely a passenger in the car and she thus had no role to play in the accident. there was, therefore, no question of any contributory negligence arising so far as she was concerned. in a case like the present, where both the drivers are found to be guilty of negligence, they would be joint tortfeasors. it was open, therefore, for the claimant to seek to recover the entire amount of compensation from the truck driver. this is thus another infirmity in the award of the tribunal which must be rectified in this appeal.5. there was no controversy raised by the parties that the accident in this case had taken place on account of.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sodhi, J.

1. On January 29, 1973, at about 9.40 a.m., an accident took place between a Fiat Car No. PUP 5599 and a truck No. RSM 4011 near the bypass on the G.T. Road near Rajpura. Rattan Kaur, who was travelling in the said car, received injuries in this accident as a result of which she died later that day.

2. Shri J.S. Kampani, the son of said Rattan Kaur, filed the present application under Section 110A of the M. V. Act, 1939, seeking Rs. 1 lakh as compensation for the loss suffered by him on account of the death of his mother. The Tribunal came to the finding that the accident took place due to the negligence of both the car driver as also the driver of the truck and, consequently, held this to be a case of contributory negligence. As regards the quantum of compensation that the claimant was entitled to, the Tribunal computed the loss suffered by him to be Rs. 3,600 on account of the household duties of the deceased and in addition he was held entitled to Rs. 5,000 as compensation for the loss of love and affection. The total compensation was thus computed at Rs. 8,600. The amount award-ed to the claimant was, however, only 'half this amount on the ground that the accident had taken place due to the contributory negligence of both the car driver and the truck driver.

3. The Tribunal was clearly in error in awarding compensation for loss of love and affection on account of the death of the deceased. It is well settled that no compensation is payable under this head.

4. Further, the fact that this was a case of contributory negligence where both the driver of the car and that of the truck were at fault was clearly no ground for reducing the amount payable as compensation to the claimant on account of the death of his mother. The deceased was merely a passenger in the car and she thus had no role to play in the accident. There was, therefore, no question of any contributory negligence arising so far as she was concerned. In a case like the present, where both the drivers are found to be guilty of negligence, they would be joint tortfeasors. It was open, therefore, for the claimant to seek to recover the entire amount of compensation from the truck driver. This is thus another infirmity in the award of the Tribunal which must be rectified in this appeal.

5. There was no controversy raised by the parties that the accident in this case had taken place on account of negligence and the claimant was thus entitled to seek compensation for the loss suffered by him from the ,driver of the truck and the other respondents. The question Which thus arises for determination in the present case is with regard to the computation of the loss suffered by the claimant. In dealing with this matter it has to be noticed at the very outset that Rattan Kaur, deceased, was 69 years of age at the time of her death. According to the evidence on record, she was not suffering from any disease or ailment and was in good health. There was also a history of longevity in the family. For these reasons, Mr. V.P. Gandhi, counsel for the claimant, sought to contend that her services as a housewife would have been available to the claimant for many more years. The point stressed by him in this behalf was that when a housewife dies, there is a financial loss which accrues to the family in that the household work which she had been doing was by its very nature such that it has to be continued to be done and the claimants are thus driven to another agency for the performance thereof. The cost of having the work of the housewife done through another agency was, he argued, capable of computation in terms of money.

6. There is, indeed, a monetary value which can be attached to the services of the housewife, considering the essential and important nature of her duties in the household which have to be performed, even after her death, may be with paid domestic help or otherwise. How this is to be measured in terms of money must necessarily depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. It would be a sound basis for calculating this loss to take into account the cost of replacing her services rendered gratuitously by a paid agency which may be necessary to be employed to perform her duties after her death. This would undoubtedly include the salary and other expenses incurred in employing domestic help for this purpose. The amount, which the housewife would have spent upon herself, must obviously be deducted from this figure. By its very nature the problem of calculating the loss suffered in such a case is such that recourse to a certain amount of guesswork and the application of the rule of thumb is inevitable.

7. Turning now to the present case, the Tribunal rightly came to the conclusion that the deceased could have carried on with the household work for another five years keeping in view her good health and the history of longevity in the family. Where the Tribunal fell in error was in computing the loss of her services in the house at the rate of only Rs. 60 per month which was the salary paid by the claimant to the servant who had been employed after the death of his mother. The Tribunal did not take into account the other expenses which are usually incurred in employing a servant and the likely increase of such expenses in the years to come. Here besides, the boarding and lodging expenses of domestic help, allowance has also to be made for leave arrangements or special arrangements that may be required to be made when no such help is available on a regular basis. Seen in the totality of the circumstances of the case, after also making an allowance for the amount which the deceased would have spent upon herself if she had not died in this accident, it would be fair and reasonable to assess the loss suffered by the claimant on account of the death of his mother at Rs. 10,000. The claimant is accordingly awarded this sum as compensation which shall be payable to him along with interest @10% per annum from the date of the application to the date of the payment thereof. This appeal is thus accepted with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 300.


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