Be sensitive to accident victims, SC tells courts

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 20:21

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked
courts to adopt a "sensitive" approach in awarding compenstion
to those who suffer permanent disability in accidents and lose
the capacity to eke out their future living.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly
found fault with the approach of the Karnataka High Court for
inadequately enhancing the compensation to a mason despite the
medical report stating that the victim was totally
incapacitated for future construction work.

The apex court noted that the high court had slightly
enhanced the compensation awarded by the Tribunal for the
purpose of future medical expenses but failed to consider the
loss of earning capacity suffered by the victim B T
Krishnappa.

"It is clear that High Court did no consider the
appellant`s case properly. It accepted the Tribunal`s
assessment of the body disability at 20% and observed that
the Tribunal has paid compensation under the heads `loss of
amenities and enjoyment of life and loss of earnings during
laid up period` on the lower side.

"However, it awarded an additional compensation only
for future medical expenditure and did not deal with the
aspect of future loss of earnings at all, which we feel was
not a correct approach," the apex court said in a judgement.

In this case, the victim suffered serious injuries in a
road accident on January 1, 2006, resulting in permanent
disability of the right leg.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarded a
compensation of Rs.1,55,000/-with 7.5 interest and on an
appeal, the High Court enhanced the compensation by only
Rs.34,000/- for meeting future medical expenses.

Aggrieved Krishnappa appealed in the apex court.

"The High Court`s order starkly lacks in details on
assessment of compensation under these heads. These areas need
proper introspection and a more sensitive approach as the
appellant being a mason and a workman represents the weaker
section of the community. The appellant had suffered an
irreversible damage to his right leg, which will pose
difficulties for him in carrying out his avocation as a mason.

"Long expectation of life is connected with earning
capacity. If earning capacity is reduced, which is the case in
the present situation, that impacts life expectancy as well,"
the apex court said.

Hence, it referred the case to the high court for an
expeditious and fresh appraisal of the amount of compensation
due to the victim.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 20:21

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