P.D. Desai, J.
1 and 2. xxxx xxx
3. Before considering the contentions on merits, the settled legal position may be briefly adverted to. It is well settled that under S. 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855, which is in substance a reproduction of the English Fatal Accidents Acts (known as the Lord Campbell's Acts), damages are to be based on the reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit or benefit reducible to money value. The actual extent of the pecuniary loss may depend upon data which cannot be ascertained accurately but must necessarily be an estimate or even partly a conjecture. The pecuniary loss has to be ascertained only by balancing on the one hand the loss to the claimants of the future pecuniary benefits 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 the dependants by the death must be ascertained (See Gobald Motor Service Ltd. v. Veluswami, AIR 1962 SC 1). It is not a condition precedent to the maintenance of an action under Section 1A that the deceased should have been earning money or money's worth or contributing to the support of the claimant at or before the date of the death, provided that the claimant had a reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit from the continuance of the life. Even a prospective pecuniary loss is liable to be compensated provided it is shown that a reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit could be entertained by the claimant In other words, an action under S. 1A can lie for the pecuniary loss, actual or expected, and even the destruction of a reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit is liable to be compensated. (See-Taff Vale Railway Co. v. Jenkins, 1913 AC 1). In England it is well settled that in an action under the Campbell's Acts the damages recoverable are not limited to the value of money lost, or the money value of things lost, but includes monetary loss incurred by replacing services rendered gratuitously by the deceased where there was a reasonable prospect of their being rendered freely in the future but for the death (For example see Berry v. Humm & Co., (1915) 1 KB 627). In view of the fact that Section 1A of our Fatal Accidents Act and the relevant provisions of Lord Campbell's Acts are moulded on the same lines, decisions of English Courts are relevant while considering a claim for compensation under Section 1A of our Fatal Accidents Act. That is why in Khodabhai Bhagvanji v. Hirji Tapu, (1980) 21 Guj LR 187 : (AIR 1980 Guj 25), following the decision in Perry v. Humm & Co. (supra) damages were awarded to a husband on the accidental death of his wife who rendered gratuitous help in running a big household and also rendered similar help in agricultural operations. The claim for the monetary loss incurred or likely to be incurred for replacing services rendered gratuitously by the deceased is, therefore, comprised in the claim for pecuniary loss which can be advanced under Section 1A. Another aspect which has to be borne in mind while considering a claim for compensation upon the death of an infant or an adult unmarried child is the possibility or even probability, that if he had not died, he would some day have married and in consequence his contribution, actual or prospective, to his parents would have ceased or would have become much smaller. It is apparent that claims of his own family would reduce his contribution towards maintenance of the parents even where, as in our country, there is statutory recognition of the obligation of a son to provide maintenance to his aged parents. In the ultimate analysis the dependency benefit has to be worked out by making the usual discount for the uncertainty of life, the fact that the dependants are receiving a lump sum payment and all other relevant factors. In adapting the multiplier, the age of the child and that of the parents has to be borne in mind.
4 to 10. (xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxxx)
11. Appeal allowed.