Madurai: Madras High Court on Friday ruled that if an Indian employed in Singapore dies in an accident in India then in choosing appropriate multiplier, there has to be a different yardstick as between an Indian and non-resident Indian.
The court also reduced the compensation given to the family members of an NRI who died in an accident near Tirunelveli on January 11, 1999.
Partly allowing an appeal filed by United India Insurance Company Ltd of Madurai and Tindivanam, Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice P Devadass said the deceased Shanmugam was working as a driver in Singapore and had died at the age of 42.
"To determine his loss of dependency appropriate multiplier has to be adopted. A tribunal earlier adopted `15`. However, if we take earnings of the deceased abroad in foreign currency and convert it into Indian rupees, a huge amount would come. Economic situation in Singapore and India are not same and in India lesser Multiplier should be adopted", the bench said.
"Hence considering the facts and circumstances of this case, the young age of the widow as well as her children, who were minors, we adopt `10` as multiplier. As the driver was earning Rs 5.17 lakh a year, he would get a compensation of Rs 51.7 lakh".
However, considering the loss of future prospects (in case driver gets better pay by changing companies) the bench awarded a total compensation of Rs 69.01 lakh and deducted 30 per cent towards Income Tax and directed that the balance of Rs 48.31 lakh be paid as compensation along with Rs 80,000 for cremation, travel expenses, loss of love and affection etc.
Earlier, the session tribunal here had awarded a compensation of Rs 52.56 lakh.
It said the tribunal had taken the multiplier "15". The deceased earned in foreign currency and in view of disparity in economic situation in Singapore and in India, a lesser multiplier is required to be adopted.
The Insurance company contended that deceased was not working at the time of death, though he was drawing 1,700 Singapore dollars a month earlier.
The dependents of the deceased contended that the tribunal arrived at the compensation after allowable deductions. They said that in choosing the appropriate multiplier, there cannot be a different yard stick as between an Indian and NRI.