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Shri Shivlal Verma (husband of appellant No.1, father of appellant Nos. 2 and 3 and son of Shri Swaminath and Smt. Tulsi Devi) died in an -MULTIPLIER IS 17

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                     IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                      CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                CIVIL APPEAL NO.  6480               OF 2011

                     (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 951 of 2010)

Urmila and others                                                   ... Appellants 

                                         Versus

Rashpal Kaur and others                                             ... Respondents

                                  J U D G M E N T

G.S. Singhvi, J.

1.     Leave granted.

2.     Feeling   dissatisfied   with   the   enhancement   granted   by   the   Division 

Bench   of   the   Chhattisgarh   High   Court   in   the   amount   of   compensation 

awarded by Second Additional Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jagdalpur 

(for short, "the Tribunal"), the appellants have filed this appeal.

3.     Shri   Shivlal   Verma   (husband   of   appellant   No.1,   father   of   appellant 

Nos. 2 and 3 and son of Shri  Swaminath and Smt. Tulsi Devi)  died in an 

                                                                                               2

accident,   which   occurred   on   23.4.1999   when   he   was   hit   by   the   truck 

belonging   to   respondent   No.1.     The   appellants   and   the   parents   of   the 

deceased   (both   of   them   died   during   the   pendency   of   the   case   before   the 

Tribunal) filed a petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 

(for   short,   `the   Act')   for   award   of   compensation   of   Rs.28,45,000/-   by 

asserting that the accident was caused due to rash and negligent driving of 

the   truck   by   its   driver-Shri   Ashok   Kumar   Dass   (respondent   No.2).     They 

claimed that at the time of death, Shri Shivlal Verma was 28 years old and 

was earning Rs.60,000/- per annum by doing agriculture.

4.      Respondent   No.1   contested   the   claim   by   asserting   that   the   accident 

was   caused   due   to  negligence   and   carelessness   of  the  deceased.     She   also 

pleaded   that   the   claim   made   by   the   appellants   and   the   parents   of   the 

deceased was highly exaggerated.  

5.      After considering the pleadings of the parties and evidence produced 

by   them,   the   Tribunal   held   that   the   accident   was   caused   due   to   rash   and 

negligent   driving   of   the   truck   by   respondent   No.2.     The   Tribunal   then 

considered   the   issue   relating   to   quantum   of   compensation,   referred   to   the 

statements   of   appellant   No.1-Smt.   Urmila   (P.W.1)   and   Swaminath   Verma 

                                                                                            3

(P.W.3), both of whom deposed that the deceased was earning Rs.60,000/- 

per   annum   from   agriculture,   but   assessed   his   income   at   Rs.50,000/-   per 

annum.     The   Tribunal   noted   that   family   of   the   deceased   consisted   of   six 

members   and   in   terms   of   the   judgment   of   this   Court   in  U.P.   State   Road 

Transport   Corporation   v.   Trilok   Chandra  (1996)   4   SCC   362,   the   total 

number   of   units   would   be   9.     The   Tribunal   then   proceeded   to   make   a 

deduction of Rs.1,500/- (Rs.911/- for 2 units of the deceased and Rs.589/- 

towards   his   personal   expenses)   and   concluded   that   dependency   of   the 

claimants would be Rs.2,600/- per month. Finally, the Tribunal applied the 

multiplier  of 8 and held that the claimants  are entitled  to compensation  of 

Rs.2,59,000/- with interest at the rate of 12% per annum with a stipulation 

that if the amount is not paid within two months, then they would be entitled 

to receive interest at the rate of 18% per annum.

6.     The   appellants   challenged   the   award   of   the   Tribunal   by   filing   an 

appeal  under Section  173 of the Act.   They  pleaded that the Tribunal  had 

committed an error by applying the multiplier of 8 and that keeping in view 

the age of the deceased the multiplier of 17 should have been applied. 

                                                                                          4

7.     The Division Bench of the High Court did not accept the plea of the 

appellants but applied the multiplier  of 13 and held that the appellants are 

entitled to total compensation of Rs.4,20,600/-.  The reasons assigned by the 

High   Court   for   doing   so   are   contained   in   paragraph   7   of   the   impugned 

judgment, which is extracted below:

       "So far as the multiplier is concerned, admittedly the deceased 

       was aged about 28 years and, in our opinion, the Tribunal erred 

       in selecting the multiplier of 8.   The Tribunal has selected the 

       multiplier of 8 on the basis of age of the father of the deceased, 

       60 years.  The Tribunal completely lost sight of the fact that the 

       Claim   Petition   was   also   filed   by   the   widow   and   2   minor 

       children of the deceased who were aged about 25 years, 2 years 

       and 15 days,  respectively,  on the date of the accident.   In the 

       facts and circumstances of the case, the Tribunal ought to have 

       applied a higher multiplier  than 8.   Looking to the age of the 

       deceased,   his   widow   and   minor   children,   we   deem   it 

       appropriate to apply the multiplier of 13 in place of 8 applied 

       by the Claims Tribunal."

8.     We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record. 

In  Sarla   Verma   v.   Delhi   Transport   Corporation  (2009)   6   SCC   121,   a 

two-Judge   Bench   of   this   Court   considered   various   issues   relevant   for 

determination of compensation payable in motor accident cases, noticed the 

judgments   in  G.M.,   Kerala   SRTC   v.   Susamma   Thomas  (1994)   2   SCC 

176, U.P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Trilok Chandra (supra), 

T.N. State Transport Corporation Limited v. S. Rajapriya (2005) 6 SCC 

236,  New India Assurance Company Limited v. Charlie  (2005) 10 SCC 

                                                                                              5

720,  Oriental   Insurance   Company   Limited   v.   Meena   Variyal  (2007)   5 

SCC 428 and held:

       "We therefore hold that the multiplier to be used should be as 

       mentioned   in   Column   (4)   of   the   table   above   (prepared   by 

       applying   Susamma   Thomas,   Trilok   Chandra   and   Charlie), 

       which   starts   with   an   operative   multiplier   of   18   (for   the   age 

       groups of 15 to 20 and 21 to 25 years), reduced by one unit for 

       every five years, that is M-17 for 26 to 30 years, M-16 for 31 to 

       35 years, M-15 for 36 to 40 years, M-14 for 41 to 45 years, and 

       M-13 for 46 to 50 years, then reduced by two units for every 

       five years, that is, M-11 for 51 to 55 years, M-9 for 56 to 60 

       years, M-7 for 61 to 65 years and M-5 for 66 to 70 years."

9.     Admittedly,   at   the   time   of   accident   the   age   of  the   deceased   was   28 

years.   Therefore, in terms  of the ratio of the judgment in  Sarla Verma's 

case, the amount of compensation payable to the appellants is required to be 

determined  by   applying   the   multiplier   of   17.     By   doing   so,   the   appellants 

would become entitle to get compensation of Rs.5,30,400/-.   If Rs.15,000/- 

is added to this amount under other permissible heads, as was done by the 

High   Court,   the   total   amount   payable   to   the   appellants   would   be 

Rs.5,45,400/-.  

10.    The   appeal   is   accordingly   allowed,   the   impugned   judgment   is 

modified   and   it   is   declared   that   the   appellants   are   entitled   to   total 

compensation of Rs.5,45,400/-.   Respondent No.1 shall, within a period of 

                                                                                            6

three months from the receipt/production of copy of this judgment to pay to 

the appellants the total amount of compensation, after deducting the amount 

already paid in terms of the award of the Tribunal and the judgment of the 

High Court.   Within that period, respondent No.1 shall also pay interest to 

the   appellants   at   the   rate   of   6%   per   annum   on   the   enhanced   amount   of 

Rs.1,24,800/- from the date of filing the claim petition.  The balance amount 

shall be paid to the appellants within a period of three months from the date 

of receipt/production of certified copy of this judgment.

                                                  ......................................... J.

                                                      [G.S. Singhvi]

                                                  ......................................... J.

                                                      [H.L. Dattu]New DelhiAugust 09, 2011.

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