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Chandrakanta Jayrambhai AmIn and anr. Vs. PravIn Mangaldas and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 139 of 1970
Judge
Reported inAIR1975Guj142
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110-B
AppellantChandrakanta Jayrambhai AmIn and anr.
RespondentPravIn Mangaldas and ors.
Appellant Advocate S.B. Vakil, Adv.
Respondent Advocate K.R. Vyas, Adv. for; Akshay H. Mehta, Adv.
Cases ReferredNance v. British Columbia Electric Railway Company Ltd..
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - compensation - section 110-b of motor vehicles act, 1939 - appeal against order awarding compensation - facts revealed deceased died due to rash and negligent driving of vehicle - as per age of deceased, age of widow and after deducting interest multiplier of 10 to compute compensation for loss of annual dependency benefit was appropriate - amount of compensation of rs. 30000 awarded reasonable - held, appeal liable to be dismissed. - - however, the absence of the important fact, which would have found its place in the panchnama, if the tyre had really burst, which might have resulted in the loss of control by the driver of the vehicle concerned, namely, the type or the tube being torn, indicates clearly that the version of respondent no. gtg-244 clearly indicates.....mehta, j.1. this is an appeal by the owner and insurer of a truck bearing registration no. gtb-5043. who were held liable for the disengages in sum of rupees 30,000 under the fatal accidents claims act by the tribunal of baroda, which passed the award of compensation on july 23, 1969 in favour of respondents nos. 2 and 3, being, respectively widow and daughter of the deceased mangaldar, vanmalidas, whose life came to an abrupt end on april 14, 1968 as a result of the head-on collision between the aforesaid truck and the truck bearing registration no. gtg-244, in which, the deceased was travelling, as it belonged to his son-respondent no. 1 herein. the tribunal found the driver of the truck no. gtb-5043 rash and negligent in driving his vehicle as he tried to overtake near a curve.....
Judgment:

Mehta, J.

1. This is an appeal by the owner and insurer of a truck bearing registration No. GTB-5043. who were held liable for the disengages in sum of Rupees 30,000 under the Fatal Accidents Claims Act by the Tribunal of Baroda, which passed the award of compensation on July 23, 1969 in favour of respondents Nos. 2 and 3, being, respectively widow and daughter of the deceased Mangaldar, Vanmalidas, whose life came to an abrupt end on April 14, 1968 as a result of the head-on collision between the aforesaid truck and the truck bearing registration No. GTG-244, in which, the deceased was travelling, as it belonged to his son-respondent No. 1 herein. The Tribunal found the driver of the truck No. GTB-5043 rash and negligent in driving his vehicle as he tried to overtake near a curve adjoining to Kumetha bus stand, a State Transport bus which was going from Pavagadh to Baroda and while doing so, it collided head-on with the truck No. GTG-244, which was coming from the opposite direction on Baroda-Kalol road running from west to east having asphalt carpet of 24 feet width with metal shoulders of 4 feet width on each side. The Tribunal held the appellant No. 1 vicariously liable for the tortious act of her servant. The Tribunal valued the annual dependency of the widow the respondent No. 2 for Rs. 3,120 and following the method of calculation laid down by this court in Bai Nanda v. Patel Shivabhai Shankerbhai, (1966) 7 Guj LR 662, the Tribunal, having regard to the age of the deceased of 42 years, who was serving as a Deputy Superintendent in the Central Excise Department drawing a salary of Rs. 650 per month in the grade of Rs. 320-575, was of opinion that, since the deceased would have provided dependency for 12 years upto his age of retirement, the amount of compensation should be assessed at Rs. 37,440, which he reduced by 33 per cent. for a number of imponderables and after the adjustment awarded that the amount of Rupees 24,960 would be the fair and just compensation. The Tribunal added Rs. 5,000 as the amount which the deceased would have spent for the maintenance of his dependants for a period of five years after his retirement on the above basis, as he would have been entitled to pension of Rs. 300 per month. The Tribunal also found that as respondent No. 3 was the daughter of 17 years of age, her dependency would complete at the age of 18 years and her unit out of the allowances by the deceased for the family would be 1/5th of the annual income of the deceased, which the deceased would have spent after her. Respondent No. 2 being the widow would be entitled to Rupees 29,960 and the daughter-respondent No. 3 would be entitled to Rs. 1,560. The Tribunal, however, by its operative part of the order held that respondent No. 2 would be entitled to Rs. 28,960 and respondent No. 3-the daughter would be entitled to Rs. 1,040. It is this order of the Tribunal which is the subject-matter of this appeal before us.

2. At the time of hearing of this appeal, Mr. S. B. Vakil, the learned Advocate, appearing on behalf of the appellants, assailed this order of the Tribunal on two grounds, namely, (1) the Tribunal was in error in holding that the aforesaid Mangaldas Vanmalidas died as a result of the rash and negligent driving of the truck bearing No. GTB-5043 by respondent No. 4 herein, who was the driver of that truck; and (2) in any case, the amount of Rs. 30,000 awarded by the Tribunal as compensation was unreasonably excessive as the Tribunal did not follow the correct legal principles for assessing the same.

3. None of the above contentions has impressed us favorably. As far as the first contention is concerned, we do not think that the Tribunal was in error in any respect in holding, as it did, that Mangaldas Vanmalidas died as a result of the tortuous act of respondent No. 4. The facts as disclosed in the evidence are so eloquent that there is no justification for us to interfere with the finding of the Tribunal. It has been established from the Panchnarna. Ex. 43, placed on the record of the Tribunal that Baroda-Kalol road runs from west to east. The truck bearing No. GTG-244 and the truck bearing No. GTB-5043 were found lying facing each other on the metal shoulder of the northern side of the road. It has been established in the evidence that the deceased Mangaldas was travelling in truck No. GTG-244, which belonged to his son respondent No. 1 herein and the same was going from Baroda to Kalol. It has been also established that the road has an asphalt carpet of 24 feet width and a metal shoulder of 4 feet width on each side thereof. At the time of the accident, a passenger bus belonging to the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation was coming from the opposite direction from Pavagadh and was going towards Baroda. The point of accident was near Kumetha bus stand and there is a curve at a distance of about one furlong from the place of accident. The truck in which the deceased was travelling crossed the passenger bus which was followed by the truck bearing No. GTB-5043 which belonged to appellant No. 1 and was driven by respondent No. 4 herein. The truck No. GTG-244 had practically crossed 3/4th part of the passenger bus and at that time though the curve was just at a distance of one furlong only it has been established in the evidence, that the truck No. GTB-5043 tried to overtake the passenger bus from behind, though no clearance was given by the driver of the passenger bus and while trying to overtake the passenger bus, it collided head-on with the truck No. GTG-244, and after the collision it went on the extreme right side of the direction for about 35 feet and stopped after going over to the metal shoulder of the road. It was fairly conceded by Mr. Vakil that in the circumstances, it was incumbent upon the driver of the truck bearing No. GTG-5043 to explain why it was necessary to leave his left lane which was the correct traffic side and went in the wrong lane -and, therefore, collided head-on with the truck No. GTG-244. The explanation of respondent No. 4-the driver of the truck no. GTB5043 was that as his right-hand side wheel had burst, he lost control over the vehicle which he was driving and, therefore, went on the right-side and met with the collision. The evidence of the driver and the conductor of the passenger bus of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation does not bear out the version of respondent No. 4-the driver of the truck bearing No. GTB-5043, because, as the Tribunal has rightly held, the driver and the conductor of the passenger bus going ahead would have certainly heard the thundering sound of the bursting of the tyre. Mr. Vakil, however, pointedly drew our attention to the fact recorded in the Panchnama, that the tyre of the righthand wheel of the truck bearing No. GTB-5043 was found deflated as there was no air in it. However, the absence of the important fact, which would have found its place in the Panchnama, if the tyre had really burst, which might have resulted in the loss of control by the driver of the vehicle concerned, namely, the type or the tube being torn, indicates clearly that the version of respondent No. 4 the driver of the truck bearing No. GTB-5043 was not a truthful version. The extent of damage to the truck bearing No. GTG-244 clearly indicates the speed of the truck bearing No. GTB-5043. The extensive damage on the bonnet, engine and on the front side of the truck No. GTG-244 does not leave us in doubt that the opposite truck bearing No. GTB-5043 was coming with an excessive speed. The absence of the wheel marks, if the breaks had been applied, also indicates that the driver of the truck bearing No. GTB-5043 was not driving his vehicle in a manner so as to have a complete control over the vehicle. We do not think that the version of respondent No. 4 that as the type of his right-hand side wheel burst he lost control and, therefore, his vehicle skidded on the right-hand side of the road and, therefore, collided with the truck bearing No. GTG-244, can be upheld by us. If it had skidded on account of the bursting of the as it has been sought to be explained by respondent No. 4, we do not think that after the collision it could go to a distance of about 30 to 35 feet on the extreme right of the road in the northern direction and stop after reaching the extreme edge of the asphalt carpeting of the road. Having regard to the, position of the respective vehicles, the extensive damage the truck bearing No. GTG-244 had, and the wrong version of the incident, it is clearly established, as has been rightly held by the Tribunal, that the respondent No. 4 was rash and negligent in driving the truck, as a result of which it collided with the truck bearing No. GTG-244, resulting in the loss of the life of not only of Mangaldas Vanmalidas but also the driver of the- said truck, one labourer Jahanuddin and a girl who were travelling in the said vehicle. We do not think that the first contention of Mr. Vakil is sustainable.

4. Mr. Vakil, however, strenuously assailed the assessment of the compensation by the Tribunal. It should be noted that the Tribunal has followed the method laid down by this High Court in the case of ((1966) 7 Guj LR 662) (supra) for purposes of assessment of the compensation under the Fatal Accidents Claims Act. However, this method has not been approved fully by this court in the later decision of the Division Bench consisting of Mr. justice J. B. Mehta and Mr. Justice D. A. Desai in M/s. Hirji Virji Transport v. Basiranbibi, (1971) 12 Guj LR 783. In the later decision the Division Bench has for purposes of assessing compensation on account of annual dependency suggested a simpler method of multiplying the amount of annual dependency with a suitable multiplier and assessing the compensation on that count. It is the simpler method which has been strenuously assailed by Mr. Vakil as not a scientific method for assessing compensation. In his broad submission, this method is a very crude method of assessing compensation, as it ignores the relevant principles and proceeds on the premises which are no principles at all for purposes of assessing compensation for the loss of annual dependency. In submission of Mr. Vakil, the adoption of a common multiplier to be applied to the aggregate value of the annual dependency benefit of all the claimants and also for the purposes of performing the function of taking care of capitalising recurring annual benefits and the deductions required to be made on account of uncertainties and imponderables as well as the deductions on account of likely benefits such as accelerations of interest in the estate of the deceased, cannot be supported. According to Mr. Vakil, all the claimants may not be necessarily claiming dependency benefit as some claimants may claim interest in the estate while others may claim under both the heads. Even among the claimants entitled to claim under both the heads, the proportion in which the claim made may be different under different heads. The multiplier, according to Mr. Vakil, therefore, cannot perform the function of either assessing the value of likely benefits to the claimants from the death or the manner in which such benefit would affect the quantum of compensation. In any case, according to Mr. Vakil, the multiplier to be applied to the annual dependency benefit can never be either equal to or higher than the probable duration of expected dependency benefit or the remaining part of the likely span of the life of deceased.

5. We have heard Mr. Vakil at length and gone through the decision' of this High Court in Mls. Hirji Virji Transport's case ((1971) 12 Gui LR 7,83) (supra) and the other authorities on which that case has relied. In C. K. Subramonia Iver v. T. Kunhikuttan Nair, AIR 1970 SC 376, the, Supreme Court has laid down what are the relevant principles governing the assessment of damages under Sections 1-A and 2 of the Fatal Accidents Act. The court was there concerned with the assessment of damages arising as -a result of the fatal accident to a boy of eight years in a motor accident. After considering the relevant principles laid down by the House of Lords for assessment of compensation, under Fatal Accidents Act, known as 'Lord Campbell's Act' and also under the English Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1934, the Court laid down as under in paragraph 14 of its judgment at page 380:-

' The, law on the point arising for decision may be summed up thus: Compulsory damages under Section 1-A of the Act for wrongful death must be limited strictly to the pecuniary loss to the beneficiaries and that under Section 2, the measure of damages is the economic loss sustained by the estate. There can be no exact uniform rule for measuring the value of the human life and the measure of damages cannot be arrived at by pre case mathematical calculations but the amount recoverable depends on the particular facts and circumstances of each case. The life expectancy of the deceased or of the beneficiaries whichever is shorter is an important factor. Since the elements which go to make up the value of the life of the deceased to the designated beneficiaries are necessarily personal to each case, in the very nature of things, there can be no exact or uniform rule for measuring the value of human life. In assessing damages, the court must exclude all considerations of matter which rest in speculation or fancy though conjecture to some extent inevitable. As a general rule parents are entitled to recover the present cash value of the prospective service of the deceased minor child. In addition they may receive compensation for loss of pecuniary benefits reasonably to be expected after the child attains majority. In the matter of ascertainment of damages, the appellate court should be slow in disturbing the findings reached by the courts below, if they have taken all the relevant facts into consideration.'

In Gobald Motor Service Ltd. v. R. M. K. Veluswami AIR 1962 SC 1, the Court was concerned with the claim of compensation arising as a result of fatal accident to a passenger traveling in a bus, which was involved in that accident. The Supreme Court referred to the decision of the House of Lords in Nance v. British Columbia Electric Rly. Co. Ltd., 1951 AC 601, and reiterated the mode of estimating damages under the head of annual dependency as laid down by Viscount Simon in the said case. Mr. Justice Subba Rao (as he then was) speaking for the court observed as under:-

'Viscount Simon then proceeded to lay down the mode of estimating the damages under the first head. According to him, at first the deceased man's expectation of life has to be estimated having regard to his age, bodily health and the possibility of premature determination of his life by later accidents; secondly. The amount required for the future provision of his wife shall be estimated having regard to the amounts he used to spend on her during his lifetime, and other circumstances; thirdly, the estimated annual sum is multiplied by the number of years of the man's estimated span of life, and the said amount must be discounted so as to arrive at the equivalent in the form of a lump sum payable on his death; fourthly, further deductions must be made for the benefit accruing to the widow from the acceleration of her interest in his estate: and fifthly, further amounts have to he deducted for the possibility of the wife dying earlier if the husband had lived the full span of life; and it should also be taken into account that there is the possibility of the widow remarrying much to the improvement of her financial position. It would be, seen from the said mode of estimation that many imponderables enter into the calculation. Therefore, the actual extent of the pecuniary loss to the respondents may depend upon data which cannot be ascertained accurately, but must necessarily be an estimate or even partly a conjecture. Shortly stated the general principle is that the pecuniary loss can be ascertained only by balancing on the one hand the loss to the claimants of the future pecuniary benefit and on the other any pecuniary advantage which from whatever source comes to them by reason of the death that is, the balance of loss and gain to a dependant by the death must be ascertained.'

The Court thereafter referred to the second head of the claim under Section 2 of the Fatal Accidents Act for compensation for the loss of the benefit of the estate. Mr. Justice Subba Rao proceeded to observe as under:-

'..............While under Section 1, damages are recoverable for the benefit of the persons mentioned therein, under Section 2 compensation goes to the benefit of the estate; whereas under Section 1 damages are payable in respect of loss sustained by the persons mentioned therein, under Section 2, damages can be claimed inter alia for loss of expectation of life. Though in some cases parties that are entitled to compensation under both the sections may happen to be the same persons, they need not necessarily be so; .persons entitled to benefit under Section 1 may be different from those claiming under Section 2. Prima facie as the two Claims are to be based upon different causes of action, the claimants, whether the same or different, wculd be entitled to recover compensation separately under both the heads. But a difficulty may arise where the party claiming compensation under both the heads is the same and the claims under the heads synchronize in respect of a particular sub-head or in respect of the entire head. In that situation, the question is whether a party would be entitled to recover damages twice over in respect of the same wrong ...........' After referring to the authorities, the Court summed up the position in paragraph 12 as under:-

'The law on this branch of the subject may be briefly stated thus. The rights of action under Sections 1 and 2 of the Act are quite distinct and independent. If a person taking benefit under both the sections is the same, he cannot be permitted to recover twice over for the same loss. In awarding damages, under both the heads, there shall not be duplication of the same claim, that is, if any part of the compensation representing the loss to the estate goes into the calculation of the personal loss under Section 1 of the Act. that portion shall be excluded in giving compensation under Section 2 and vice versa.'

It is in this context, therefore, that the Division Bench of this High Court faced the question of assessing compensation in M/s. Hirii Virii Transport's case (supra) where the claimants before the Court were the same under both the heads. The Division Bench, therefore posed the question before. it that how in such cases compensation should be assessed. As the claimants under both the heads were the same, which would be in most of the cases in the claims arising out of motor accidents, the Division Bench considered the question as to what should be, the appropriate multiplier for determining the amount of compensation. The Division Bench after referring to the decision of the House of Lords in Taylor v. O'Connor, (1970) 1 All ER 365 and following the decision of the Supreme Court in C. K. Subramonia Iver's case, AIR 1970 SC 376 (supra) laid down as under at page 788:-

'In the present case there is no dispute that the sums claimed are to be awarded only to these four respondents, widow and minors for the entire loss, both to the dependants and to the estate. The total amount will have, therefore, to be properly capitalised. That is why in such a case no need may arise for any separate calculation in respect of minor dependants as per the method we have adopted in (1966) 7 Guj LR 662 (Bai Nanda's case). In fact even in (1966) 7 Guj LR 662 at p. 691, because same persons were claimants under both the heads, we have ploughed back the savings which would be made to the estate after the amount ceased to be payable to the minor dependants on their attaining majority. There is also an assumption made in that decision that on the minors attaining majority the dependency would completely cease, which may not be true in all cases, as the dependency might continue even after attaining majority and where the dependants' education and other expenses would have to be taken into account. In all these three decisions of the Supreme Court, the two famous English decisions which are taken as guide lines and which are held to reiterate the same rule are those of Lord Wright in Davies v. Powell Duffryn Associated Colleries Ltd., 1942 AC 601 at page 616 and of Viscount Simon in Nance v. British Columbia Electric Railway Company Ltd.. 1951 AC 601 at Page 614. These cases lay down the method of assessing the loss to the dependents under the first head. Under Lord Wright's formula which is usually applied the loss is ascertained by first arriving at the estimate of the annual dependency amount from the income of the deceased after deducting the amount which he would have spent on himself. The damage on this head of loss to the dependants is arrived at by awarding a lump sum amount which is calculated by applying a proper multiplier to the amount of one year's dependency. This multiplier is known as year's purchase factor, Even though Lord Wright contemplated the conversion of this annual dependency figure into a lump sum by taking a number of year's purchase, he also provided in terms for a subsequent reduction to allow for all the various uncertainties and matters of speculation and doubt. In practice, however, when this year's purchase method is adopted the Courts have usually adopted such a multiplier by way of a number of year's purchase as would be deemed to take into account all the doubts and uncertainties which would go to reduce the sum to be awarded. What this multiplier must be in any individual case would of course depend on the particular circumstances of the case because one has to take into account the probable duration of the life of the deceased, duration of the life of the widow and their dependants who might prematurely die, the possibility of widow's remarriage, acceleration of interest in the estate, possibilities of increased earning on the one hand as well as disablement or unemployment on the other. All other possibilities and chances are taken into account and in practice Lord Wright's method is applied by fixing a basic sum of annual dependency and multiplying it by an appropriate multiplier .............Therefore, even though Viscount Simon in Nance's case, contemplates multiplication of the amount of dependency by the figure of expectation of life, one arrives at the same result, if proper discounting is done to arrive at the lump sum equivalent of this dependency benefit which is spread over the expected period of life. That is why their Lordships held in Delhi Corporation case (AIR 1966 SC 1750) that Viscount Simon reiterated the same principle as evolved by Lord Wright in Davies's case. In actual practice the method of applying year's purchase to the annual dependency figure is found to be simpler by experienced Judges in such ordinary case which do not involve complicated question by way of special factors where expert evidence might be necessary to make a proper arithmetical calculation with the help actuarial tables in this connection. That is why their Lordships in terms held in the later decision of Iyer's case (AIR 1970 SC 376) that a number of years' purchase is left fluid and the number 12 to 15 has been quite the common multiple in the case of a healthy man .........'

It is this broad principle laid down by the Division Bench of this High Court, which has been subjected to a severe criticism by Mr. Vakil. It was his grievance that for purposes of assessing compensation under both the heads, the Court cannot adopt a common multiplier. We are of the opinion that this academic question need not be answered in this case, nor the question arises in the facts of the case with which the Division Bench was concerned in M/s. Hirji Virji Transport's case (supra). It is in the facts of each case that we have to determine, what would be the just and fair compensation under both the heads or any one of them. The Division Bench in M/s. Hirji Virji Transport's case (supra) has also made it clear that the question what should be the multiplier, must in every individual case be answered with reference to the particular circumstances of that case. It is no doubt true that this year's purchase method which is commonly known as 'multiplier method' is to be adopted for purposes of assessing the annual dependency. The grievance of Mr. Vakil that the adoption of a common multiplier is not a scientific method and what the court has to bear in mind while assessing compensation for loss of annual dependency benefit is to ascertain the present value of the future annual payment and in submission of Mr. Vakil this would be precisely ascertained by reference to the actuarial tables finding out the present value of the future annuities. The contention of Mr. Vakil that the adoption of a common multiplier is not a scientific and precise method, has been answered very effectively by all the Law Lords in (1970) 1 All ER 365 (supra). Lord Reid in his speech observed as under:-

'Damages to make good, the loss of dependency over a period of years must be awarded as a lump sum, and, that sum is generally calculated by applying multiplier to the amount of one year's dependency. That is a perfectly good method in the ordinary case, but it conceals the fact that there are two quite separate matters involved-the present value of the series of future payments, and the discounting of that present value to allow for the fact that, for one reason or another, the person receiving the damages might never have enjoyed the whole of the benefit of the dependency it is quite unnecessary in the ordinary case to deal with these matters separately. Judges and counsel have a wealth of experience which is an adequate guide to the selection of the multiplier and any expert evidence is rightly discouraged. But, in a case where the facts are special, I think that these matters must have separate consideration if even rough justice is to be done, and expert evidence may be valuable or even almost essential. The special factor in the present case is the incidence of income tax and, it may be, surtax. The prudent person receiving a lump sum to make good his loss over a period is expected to invest it and to use it up gradually. If the period is a long one, the multiplier will be much smaller than the number of years even where the contingencies which are allowed for are of small account. The reason is that, while and in so far as the lump sum of damages is still unspent, it will be earning interest and the damages and interest together will be adequate to last out for the period. But no account is taken of the fact that that interest will be subject to tax as unearned income. In the ordinary case. the rate of tax payable by the recipient of damages will be small, and to take tax into account would have a negligible effect on the final sum awarded.'

Lord Guest if his speech observed as under:-

'The next question is what has been conveniently described as 'the multiplier' which will convert the loss of support into a lump sum of damages. The Judge applied a multiplier of 12 to the figure of 3,750, resulting in a total of 45,000 under this head. It has been suggested that a more precise method of arriving at the extent of the loss would be to obtain actuarial figures as to what sum would be required, based on the respondent's expectancy of life, to purchase an annuity of the extent of the loss. This method has been disapproved in the past and never adopted. except as a very rough guide. Its adoption would depend on current rates of interest and would not allow for inflation. If it were adopted it would have to be discounted in respect that it provides certainty and does not allow for contingencies. I would not be in favour of its adoption for this or any similar type of case. This method would require actuarial evidence which would increase the length and expense of trials and would unduly complicate matters which might have to be considered by juries.....................................................................................................................

I return then to the 'multiplier'. The aim of this exercise is to provide a figure which is proportional to the injury resulting from the death. It is not to provide such a sum as would, at current rates of interest, leave the widow with the income she has lost, This would put her into a better position than she would have been apart from the death because at the end of the day she would still have the capital sum left. It is anticipated that the capital will be gradually reduced over the years to provide for her support. In my opinion, the multiplier is intended to provide in a rough measure adequate compensation for the loss sustained. No precise method can be expected. It is well hallowed in practice, and depends in some measure on the expertise of judges accustomed to try these cases ...........

Lord Morris of Borth-Y-Gest in his speech observed as under:-

'The learned Judge was disposed in the present case to take ten as the multiplier. He varied it to 12 because he considered that the present era is not one of stable money values. I would not regard that as a valid reason. Nor would I think that ten need be considered as unreasonably low in the present case. Learned Judges have a range of experience in these matters, and in a realm where there are many imponderables and where mathematical accuracy is not possible, the recognised methods of approach have proved rational and workable. In fixing a multiplier judges do the best they can to make fair allowance for all the uncertainties and possibilities to which I have earlier referred. It may well be that in cases Where high figures are involved, courts could derive assistance from skilled evidence concerning ways in which a sum of money could be used and managed to the best advantage. Such evidence should, however, only afford a check or a guide, It could not resolve those matters which in the nature of things must be uncertain or decide those issues to which the art of judgment must be directed.' Lord Pearson in his speech observed as under:-

'In my opinion, the Judge was fully justified in following the normal practice. It is desirable for the sake of uniformity, and certainly that the same general method should be employed for assessing damages in fatal accident cases whenever it is reasonably possible to do so, adjustments being made for special features in particular cases. It is useful, especially where large sums are involved to bring in calculations by other methods as ancillary aids for the purpose of checking the appropriateness of the amount of damages which has been arrived at by employing the normal method with or without adjustments. But I do not think that actuarial tables or actuarial evidence should be used as the primary basis of assessment. There are too many variables and there are too many conjectural decisions to be made before selecting the tables to be used. There would be a false appearance of accuracy and precision in a sphere where conjectural estimates have to play a large part. The experience of practitioners and Judges in applying the normal method is the best primary basis for making assessments.' We are in respectful agreement with the Division Bench of this High Court when it laid down in M/s. Hirji Virji Transport's case (supra) that the courts should ordinarily adopt this method of multiplier for purposes of assessing compensation for the loss of annual dependency benefit. As has been said by Lord Reid, the wealth of experience of Judges and counsel would be a sure and useful guide for selection of a proper multiplier so as to assess compensation under the aforesaid head of loss of annual dependency benefit. The entire attack of Mr. Vakil against adoption of multiplier method for purposes of assessing damages is, in our opinion, not well founded. The court while assessing compensation for the loss of annual dependency benefit does not try to procure an annuity for the benefit of the dependants. What the Court is called upon to do in such cases is to provide compensation which is proportional to the injury resulting from the death, As has been observed in (1970) 1 All ER 365 (supra) that procuring the present annuity for the loss of the annual dependency benefit would put the dependants in a better position. That is not expected to be done by courts while assessing compensation. It is anticipated that the capitalisation of year's purchase which has been made and the capital which has been provided consequently, would gradually decrease in providing the annual benefit. How the capital also is decreased and at the end of the period would be exhausted while paying the dependants the annual benefits, has been illustrated by Lord Pearson in his speech in (1970), 1 All ER 365 which reads as under:- 'The fund of damages is not expected to be preserved intact. It is expected to be used up gradually over the relevant period-15 or 18 years in this case-so as to be exhausted by the end of the period. Therefore, what the respondent receives annually 3,750 in this case--is made up partly for income and partly of capital. As the fund is used to the income becomes less and less, and the amounts withdrawn from the capital of the fund become greater and greater, because the total sum to be provided in each year the 3,750-is assumed (subject to what is said below) to remain constant throughout the relevant period.'

The next grievance of Mr. Vakil is that the adoption of multiplier would not result in proper amount of compensation for different claimants, as they may have different proportions of claims under same head and also there may be different claimants under different heads, We have not been able to appreciate how this contention can have a bearing on the larger question of the adoption of multiplier. By employing multiplier, the courts assess a lump sum compensation for all the dependants depending on the deceased. The question as to how compensation is to be apportioned between the different claimants, cannot have in our opinion, any bearing on the question as to what should be the proper multiplier in a given case. The consideration of the factor of acceleration of interest is relevant when we consider the question of benefit to the estate. In the present case, as the claimants under both the heads are the same and as they have not claimed any separate amount by way of compensation for the loss of benefit to the estate, we do not think that this contention of Mr. Vakil should be considered in the present appeal before us.

6. In that view of the matter, therefore, we will now proceed to consider what should be the fair and just

amount of compensation for the loss of annual dependency benefit. As far as the amount of annual dependency benefit is concerned, Mr. Vakil has not made any grievance and has stated that the annual

dependency benefit would be to the extent of Rs. 3,120 as worked, out by the Tribunal. Now if we adopt the method known as, 'year's purchase method' or 'multiplier method', having regard to the age of the deceased, which was 42 years, and also having regard to the age of the widow, which was 40 years, and to the likely span of life of 60 years, we are of opinion that, if we adopt a multiplier of ten, it would give use correct idea of the fair and just amount of compensation to be awarded for the loss of annual dependency benefit. The annual dependency benefit of the widow has been evaluate by the Tribunal at Rs. 3,120, having regard to the annual income of the deceased-Rs. 780 and providing two units for the deceased and his widow each, and one unit for the diabetes. The Tribunal has not awarded any sum to the major son who was earning own livelihood and was not depending on the deceased. Having regard to the age of the deceased as well as the age of the widow and also after deducting the interest, which she may earn on the amount of Rs. 900, which she has received, even if the multiplier is taken at ten, which would be more on conservative side, she would be entitled to compensation of not less than Rs. 30.000. We do not think therefore, that the compensation can be said to be excessive. It is no doubt true that the Tribunal has adopted the multiplier laid down by this High Court in Bai Nanda's case (1966) 7 Guj LR 662 (supra). We have tried to satisfy ourselves by applying the method suggested by the Division Bench of this High Court in M/s. Hirji Virji Transport's case (1971) 12 Guj LR 783 (supra) and we are satisfied that the amount of compensation, which has been awarded is reasonable, even if the principles laid down by the later decision M/s. Hirji Virji Transport's case--of this High Court are applied.

7. In that view of the matter, therefore, we do not think that there are any justifying reasons for us to interfere with the award made by the Tribunal. The appeal should, therefore, fail and is dismissed with costs.

8. Appeal dismissed.


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