New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that
in motor accident cases, the compensation has to be higher if
the claimant happens to be older than the deceased.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha passed the
ruling while enhancing the compensation to Rs 1.32 lakh to a
62-year old widow whose 22-year-old son Pravin Kumar Sinha
was killed in a road accident in Jharkhand.
The apex court enhanced the compensation to Rs 1.32 lakh
as against the Rs 60,000 awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims
Tribunal and upheld by the Jharkhand High Court.
"In a case where the age of the claimant is higher than
the age of the deceased, the age of claimant and not the age
of the deceased has to be taken into account for the
capitalization of the lost dependency.
"It is so because the choice of multiplier is determined
by the age of the deceased or that of the claimant, whichever
is higher," Justice Lodha, writing the judgement, said.
The apex court said the deceased was on the verge of
getting an employment in the state forest department at the
time of his death, though he was running a shop earning Rs
1000 a month.
"The deceased, thus, had a reasonable expectation of
government employment in near future. In the circumstances,
the actual income at the time of deceased`s death needs to be
revised and taking into consideration the special
circumstances of the case, in our view, the monthly income of
the deceased deserves to be fixed at Rs. 2000/, "the Bench
The Bench expressed displeasure at the meagre
compensation awarded by the two lower courts.
"The compensation determined by the Tribunal at Rs.
60,000/- and confirmed by the High Court in the appeal is
manifestly erroneous and is enhanced to Rs. 1,32,000/-," the