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(1) Whether multiplier specified in the Second Schedule appended to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (for short “the 1988 Act”) should be scrupulously applied in all cases? and (2) Whether for determination of the multiplicand, the 1988 Act provides for any criterion, particularly as regards determination of future prospect.- where the deceased was married, the deduction towards personal and living expenses of the deceased, should be one-third (1/3rd) where the number of dependent family members is 2 to 3, one-fourth (1/4th) where the number of dependent family members is 4 to 6, and one-fifth (1/5th) where the number of dependent family members exceeds six. 31. Where the deceased was a bachelor and the claimants are the parents, the deduction follows a different principle. In regard to bachelors, normally, 50% is deducted as personal and living expenses, because it is assumed that a bachelor would tend to spend more on himself. Even otherwise, there is also the possibility of his getting married in a short time, in which event the contribution to the parent(s) and siblings is likely to be cut drastically. Further, subject to evidence to the contrary, the father is likely to have his own income and will not be considered as a dependant and the mother alone will be considered as a dependant. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, brothers and sisters will not be considered as dependants, because they will either be independent and earning, or married, or be dependent on the father. 32. Thus even if the deceased is survived by parents and siblings, only the mother would be considered to be a dependant, and 50% would be treated as the personal and living expenses of the bachelor and 50% as the contribution to the family. However, where the family of the bachelor is large and dependent on the income of the 23 Fakeerappa and Anr. v. Karnataka Cement Pipe Factory and Others; [(2004) 2 SCC 473] 31Page 32 deceased, as in a case where he has a widowed mother and large number of younger non-earning sisters or brothers, his personal and living expenses may be restricted to one-third and contribution to the family will be taken as two-third.” 38. The above does provide guidance for the appropriate deduction for personal and living expenses. One must bear in mind that the proportion of a man’s net earnings that he saves or spends exclusively for the maintenance of others does not form part of his living expenses but what he spends exclusively on himself does. The percentage of deduction on account of personal and living expenses may vary with reference to the number of dependant members in the family and the personal living expenses of the deceased need not exactly correspond to the number of dependants. 39. In our view, the standards fixed by this Court in Sarla Verma17 on the aspect of deduction for personal living expenses in paragraphs 30, 31 and 32 must ordinarily be followed unless a case for departure in the circumstances noted in the preceding para is made out. 40. In what we have discussed above, we sum up our conclusions as follows: (i) In the applications for compensation made under Section 166 of the 1988 Act in death cases where the age of the deceased is 15 years and above, the Claims Tribunals shall select the multiplier as 32Page 33 indicated in Column (4) of the table prepared in Sarla Verma17 read with para 42 of that judgment. (ii) In cases where the age of the deceased is upto 15 years, irrespective of the Section 166 or Section 163A under which the claim for compensation has been made, multiplier of 15 and the assessment as indicated in the Second Schedule subject to correction as pointed out in Column (6) of the table in Sarla Verma17 should be followed. (iii) As a result of the above, while considering the claim applications made under Section 166 in death cases where the age of the deceased is above 15 years, there is no necessity for the Claims Tribunals to seek guidance or for placing reliance on the Second Schedule in the 1988 Act. (iv) The Claims Tribunals shall follow the steps and guidelines stated in para 19 of Sarla Verma17 for determination of compensation in cases of death. (v) While making addition to income for future prospects, the Tribunals shall follow paragraph 24 of the Judgment in Sarla Verma17 . (vi) Insofar as deduction for personal and living expenses is concerned, it is directed that the Tribunals shall ordinarily follow the standards prescribed in paragraphs 30, 31 and 32 of the judgment in 33Page 34 Sarla Verma17 subject to the observations made by us in para 38 above. (vii) The above propositions mutatis mutandis shall apply to all pending matters where above aspects are under consideration. 41. The reference is answered accordingly. Civil appeals shall now be posted for hearing and disposal before the regular Bench.

Page 1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4646 OF 2009
Reshma Kumari and Ors. … Appellants
Vs.
Madan Mohan and Anr. … Respondents
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4647 OF 2009
JUDGMENT
R.M. LODHA,J.
A two-Judge Bench (S.B. Sinha and Cyriac Joseph, JJ.)
proceeded to hear these appeals on two common questions, namely,
(1) Whether multiplier specified in the Second Schedule appended to
the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (for short “the 1988 Act”) should be
scrupulously applied in all cases? and (2) Whether for determination
of the multiplicand, the 1988 Act provides for any criterion, particularly
as regards determination of future prospect. In the course of hearing
few decisions of this Court, General Manager, Kerala State Road
1Page 2
Transport Corporation, Trivandrum v. Susamma Thomas (Mrs.) and
Ors1
., Sarla Dixit (Smt.) and Anr. v. Balwant Yadav and Ors2
., U.P.
State Road Transport Corporation and Ors. V. Trilok Chandra and
Ors.3
, Kaushnuma Begum (Smt.) and Ors. V. New India Assurance
Co. Ltd. and Ors.4
, United India Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors. v. Patricia
Jean Mahajan & Ors.5
, Jyoti Kaul & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Anr.6
, Abati
Bezbaruah v. Dy. Director General, Geological Survey of India & Anr.7
,
New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Shanti Pathak (Smt.) & Ors.8
, were
cited. The attention of the Bench was also invited to Sections 163A
and 166 of the 1988 Act. The Bench was of the opinion that the
question, whether the multiplier specified in the Second Schedule
should be taken to be guide for calculation of amount of
compensation payable in a case falling under Section 166 of the 1988
Act needed to be decided by a larger Bench. The reasons for referring
the above issue to the larger Bench indicated in the referral order
dated 23.07.2009 read as under:
“39. We have noticed hereinbefore that in Patricia Jean
Mahajan5
and Abati Bezbaruah7and the other cases
following them multiplier specified in the Second Schedule
has been taken to be guiding factor for calculation of the
1
1994 (2) SCC 176
2
1996 (3) SCC 179
3
1996 (4) SCC 362
4
2001 (2) SCC 9
5
2002 (6) SCC 281
6
2002 (6) SCC 306
7
2003 (3) SCC 148
8
2007 (10) SCC 1
2Page 3
amount of compensation even in a case under Section 166
of the Act. However, in Shanti Pathak8
this Court advocated
application of lesser multiplier, although no legal principle
has been laid therein.
40. In Trilok Chandra3
this Court has pointed out certain
purported calculation mistakes in the Second Schedule. It,
however, appears to us that there is no mistake therein.
Amount of compensation specified in the Second Schedule
only is required to be paid even if a higher or lower amount
can be said to be the quantum of compensation upon
applying the multiplier system.
41. Section 163-A of the 1988 Act does not speak of
application of any multiplier. Even the Second Schedule, so
far as the same applies to fatal accident, does not say so.
The multiplier, in terms of the Second Schedule, is required
to be applied in a case of disability in nonfatal accident.
Consideration for payment of compensation in the case of
death in a “no fault liability” case vis-à-vis the amount of
compensation payable in a case of permanent total disability
and permanent partial disability in terms of the Second
Schedule is to be applied by different norms. Whereas in
the case of fatal accident the amount specified in the Second
Schedule depending upon the age and income of the
deceased is required to be paid where for the multiplier is
not to be applied at all but in a case involving permanent
total disability or permanent partial disability the amount of
compensation payable is required to be arrived at by
multiplying the annual loss of income by the multiplier
applicable to the age of the injured as on the date of
determining the compensation and in the case of permanent
partial disablement such percentage of compensation which
would have been payable in the case of permanent total
disablement as specified under item (a) of the Second
Schedule.
42. The Parliament in its wisdom thought to provide for a
higher amount of compensation in case of permanent total
disablement and proportionate amount of compensation in
case of permanent partial disablement depending upon the
percentage of disability.
43. Thus, prima facie, it appears that the multiplier
mentioned in the Second Schedule, although in a given
case, may be taken to be a guide but the same is not
decisive. To our mind, although a probable amount of
compensation as specified in the Second Schedule in the
event the age of victim is 17 or 20 years and his annual
income is Rs. 40,000/-, his heirs/legal representatives is to
3Page 4
receive a sum of Rs.7,60,000/-, however, if an application for
grant of compensation is filed in terms of Section 166 of the
1988 Act that much amount may not be paid, although in the
former case the amount of compensation is to be determined
on the basis of ‘no fault liability’ and in the later on ‘fault
liability’. In the aforementioned situation the Courts, we
opine, are required to lay down certain principles.
44.We are not unmindful of the Statement of Objects and
Reasons to Act 54 of 1994 for introducing Section 163-A so
as to provide for a new predetermined formula for payment
of compensation to road accident victims on the basis of
age/income; which is more liberal and rational. That may be
so, but it defies logic as to why in a similar situation, the
injured claimant or his heirs/legal representatives, in the
case of death, on proof of negligence on the part of the
driver of a motor vehicle would get a lesser amount than the
one specified in the Second Schedule. The Courts, in our
opinion, should also bear that factor in mind.
45. Having regard to divergence of opinion and this aspect of
the matter having not been considered in the earlier
decisions, particularly in the absence of any clarification from
the Parliament despite the recommendations made by this
Court in Trilok Chandra3
, the issue, in our opinion, shall be
decided by a Larger Bench. It is directed accordingly.”
2. We are concerned with the above reference. Before we refer
to the provisions contained in Sections 163A and 166 of the 1988 Act,
it is of some relevance to notice the background in which the
Parliament considered it necessary to bring in the provisions of no fault
liability on the statute. It so happened that in Minu B. Mehta and Anr.
v. Balkrishna Ramchandra Nayan and Anr.9
, a three-Judge Bench of
this Court while considering the question whether the fact of injury
resulting from the accident involving the use of a vehicle on the public
road is the basis of a liability and that it is not necessary to prove any
9
1977 (2) SCC 441
4Page 5
negligence on the part of the driver, held that the liability of the owner
of the car to compensate the victim in a car accident due to the
negligent driving of his servant is based on the law of tort and before
the master could be made liable it is necessary to prove that the
servant was acting during the course of his employment and that he
was negligent. This Court held that the concept of owner’s liability
without any negligence is opposed to the basic principles of law. The
mere fact that a person died or a party received an injury arising out of
the use of a vehicle in a public place cannot justify fastening liability on
the owner. This Court noticed a judgment of Madras High Court in M/s
Ruby Insurance Co. v. Govindaraj, (A.A.O. Nos. 607 of 1973 and 296
of 1974) decided on December 13, 1976 wherein the necessity of
having social insurance to provide cover for the claimants irrespective
of proof of negligence to a limited extent was suggested. This Court
said “unless these ideas are accepted by the legislature and embodied
in appropriate enactments Courts are bound to administer and give
effect to the law as it exists today. We conclude by stating that the
view of the learned Judges of the High Court has no support in law
and hold that proof of negligence is necessary before the owner or the
insurance company could be held to be liable for the payment of
compensation in a motor accident claim case”.
5Page 6
3. The Parliament having regard to the above view of this Court
and the recommendation of the Law Commission of India, amended
the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (for short, “1939 Act”) and inserted
Section 92A therein which provided that in any claim for compensation
under sub-section (1) of Section 92-A, the claimant shall not be
required to plead and establish that the death or permanent
disablement in respect of which the claim has been made was due to
any wrongful act, neglect or default of the owner or owners of the
vehicles concerned or of any other person.
4. In Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, Ahmedabad v.
Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai and Another10, a two-Judge Bench held that
the compensation awardable under Section 92-A was without proof of
any negligence on the part of the owner of the vehicle or any other
person which was clearly a departure from the usual common law
principle that a claimant should establish negligence on the part of the
owner or driver of the motor vehicle before claiming any compensation
for the death or permanent disablement caused on account of a motor
vehicle accident. Certain observations made in Minu B. Mehta9 were
held to be obiter in Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai10
.
5. The 1988 Act replaced the 1939 Act. Chapter X of the 1988
Act deals with liability without fault in certain cases. Sub-section (3) of
10 1987 (3) SCC 234
6Page 7
Section 140 provides that in any claim for compensation under subsection (1) the claimant shall not be required to plead and establish
that the death or permanent disablement in respect of which the claim
has been made was due to any wrongful act, neglect or default of the
owner or owners of the vehicle or vehicles concerned or of any other
person. Chapter XI of the 1988 Act deals with insurance of motor
vehicles against third party risks. Chapter XII deals with the claims
tribunals. Section 166 makes a provision for application for
compensation arising out of an accident which after few amendments
reads as under:
“Section 166 – Application for compensation
(1) An application for compensation arising out of an
accident of the nature specified in sub-section (1) of section
165 may be made-
(a) by the person who has sustained the injury; or
(b) by the owner of the property; or
(c) where death has resulted from the accident, by all or any
of the legal representatives of the deceased; or
(d) by any agent duly authorised by the person injured or all
or any of the legal representatives of the deceased, as the
case may be:
Provided that where all the legal representatives of the
deceased have not joined in any such application for
compensation, the application shall be made on behalf of or
for the benefit of all the legal representatives of the
deceased and the legal representatives who have not so
joined, shall be impleaded as respondents to the application.
7Page 8
(2) Every application under sub-section (1) shall be made,
at the option of the claimant, either to the Claims Tribunal
having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident
occurred or to the Claims Tribunal within the local limits of
whose jurisdiction the claimant resides or carries on
business or within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the
defendant resides, and shall be in such form and contain
such particulars as may be prescribed:
Provided that where no claim for compensation under
section 140 is made in such application, the application shall
contain a separate statement to that effect immediately
before the signature of the applicant.
(4) The Claims Tribunal shall treat any report of accidents
forwarded to it under sub-section (6) of section 158 as an
application for compensation under this Act.”
6. By Act 54 of 1994, Section 163A was brought in the
1988 Act w.e.f. 14.11.1994. Section 163A may be reproduced which
reads as under:-
“163-A. Special provisions as to payment of compensation
on structured formula basis.—(1) Notwithstanding anything
contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in
force or instrument having the force of law, the owner of the
motor vehicle or the authorised insurer shall be liable to pay
in the case of death or permanent disablement due to
accident arising out of the use of motor vehicle,
compensation, as indicated in the Second Schedule, to the
legal heirs or the victim, as the case may be.
Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section,
‘permanent disability’ shall have the same meaning and
extent as in the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 (8 of
1923).
(2) In any claim for compensation under sub-section (1), the
claimant shall not be required to plead or establish that the
death or permanent disablement in respect of which the
claim has been made was due to any wrongful act or neglect
or default of the owner of the vehicle or vehicles concerned
or of any other person.
8Page 9
(3) The Central Government may, keeping in view the cost
of living by notification in the Official Gazette, from time to
time amend the Second Schedule.”
7. Along with Section 163A Second Schedule was inserted in the
1988 Act. Sub- section (3) of Section 163A empowers the central
government to amend the Second Schedule from time to time
keeping in view the cost of living.
8. Consequent upon the insertion of Section 163A in the 1988
Act, certain amendments were brought in the 1988 Act. Sub-section
(5) which was inserted in Section 140 reads as follows:
“Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2)
regarding death or bodily injury to any person, for which the
owner of the vehicle is liable to give compensation for relief,
he is also liable to pay compensation under any other law for
the time being in force.
Provided that the amount of such compensation to be given
under any other law shall be reduced from the amount of
compensation payable under this section or under section
163A.”
9. Section 163B was also brought in the 1988 Act along with
Section 163A. Section 163B reads as follows:
“163B. Option to file claim in certain cases. – Where a
person is entitled to claim compensation under section 140
and section 163A, he shall file the claim under either of the
said sections and not under both.”
10. The 1988 Act gives choice to the claimants to seek
compensation on structured formula basis as provided in Section 163A
or make an application for compensation arising out of an accident of
9Page 10
the nature specified in sub-section (1) of Section 165 under Section
166. The claimants have to elect one of the two remedies provided in
Section 163A and Section 166. The remedy provided in Section 163A
is not a remedy in addition to the remedy provided in Section 166 but it
provides for an alternative course to Section 166. By incorporating
Section 163A in the 1988 Act, the Parliament has provided the remedy
for payment of compensation notwithstanding anything contained in
the 1988 Act or in any other law for the time being in force or
instrument having the force of law, that the owner of a motor vehicle
or authorised insurer shall be liable to pay compensation on structured
formula basis as indicated in the Second Schedule in the case of
death or permanent disablement due to accident arising out of the use
of motor vehicle. The peculiar feature of Section 163A is that for a
claim made thereunder, the claimants are not required to plead or
establish that the death or permanent disablement in respect of which
the claim has been made was due to any wrongful act or neglect or
default of the owner or owners of the vehicle concerned. The scheme
of Section 163A is a departure from the general principle of law of tort
that the liability of the owner of the vehicle to compensate the victim or
his heirs in a motor accident arises only on the proof of negligence on
the part of the driver. Section 163A has done away with the
10Page 11
requirement of the proof of negligence on the part of the driver of the
vehicle where the victim of an accident or his dependants elect to
apply for compensation under Section 163A. When an application for
compensation is made under Section 163A the compensation is paid
as indicated in the Second Schedule. The table in the Second
Schedule has been found by this Court to be defective to which we
shall refer at a little later stage.
11. On the other hand, by making an application for
compensation arising out of an accident under Section 166 it is
necessary for a claimant to prove negligence on the part of the driver
or owner of the vehicle. The burden is on the claimant to establish the
negligence on the part of the driver or owner of the vehicle and on
proof thereof, the claimant is entitled to compensation. We are
confronted with the question, whether while considering an application
for compensation made under Section 166, the multiplier specified in
the Second Schedule can be taken to be guide for determination of
amount of the compensation.
12. In Susamma Thomas1
, this Court noticed the two
decisions of House of Lords, (1) Davies & Anr. v. Powell Duffryn
Associated Collieries Ltd.11 and (2) Nance v. British Columbia Electric
11 1942 (1) All ER 657
11Page 12
Railway Co. Ltd.12 wherein two different methods – lump sum method
and multiplier method – were adopted for determination and for
calculation of compensation in fatal accident actions. This Court has
preferred the multiplier method adopted in Davies case11. While
holding so, this Court also referred to another decision of House of
Lords in Mallett v. Mc Monagle13. It has been laid down in Susamma
Thomas1
that multiplier method was logically sound and legally well
established. The multiplier represented the number of year’s purchase
on which the loss of dependency is capitalized. The multiplier method
involves the ascertainment of the loss of dependency or the
multiplicand having regard to the circumstances of the case and
capitalizing the multiplicand by an appropriate multiplier. The choice of
the multiplier is determined by the age of the deceased (or that of the
claimants whichever is higher) and by the calculation as to what capital
sum, if invested at a rate of interest appropriate to a stable economy,
would yield the multiplicand by way of annual interest. In ascertaining
this, the Court said that regard should also be had to the fact that
ultimately the capital sum should also be consumed-up over the period
for which the dependency is expected to last. In Susamma Thomas1
12 1951 (2) All ER 448
13 1969 (2) All ER 178
12Page 13
this Court noticed that English Courts have rarely applied operative
multiplier exceeding 16.
13. The award of compensation in a motor accident case
based on the multiplier method is an established norm in India now. A
three-Judge Bench in Trilok Chandra3
reiterated what was stated in
Susamma Thomas1 as regards determination of compensation in
accident cases on the basis of multiplier method. In Trilok Chandra3
,
the Court considered Section 163A and the Second Schedule which
was not under consideration in Susamma Thomas1 as Section 163A
was not on the statute when the judgment in Susamma Thomas1 was
delivered. It was observed that by incorporation of Sections 163A and
163B in the 1988 Act the situation had undergone a change. Under the
Second Schedule, the maximum multiplier could be upto 18 and not 16
as was held in Susamma Thomas1
. In Trilok Chandra3
, the maximum
multiplier was fixed at 18 but the Court did find several defects in the
calculation of compensation and the amount worked out in the Second
Schedule. Importantly this Court stated in Trilok Chandra3
that
Tribunals and the Courts cannot go by the ready reckoner; the
Schedule can only be used as a guide. This is what this Court said in
paras 17 and 18 of the Report:
“17. The situation has now undergone a change with the
enactment of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, as amended by
13Page 14
Amendment Act 54 of 1994. The most important change
introduced by the amendment insofar as it relates to
determination of compensation is the insertion of Sections
163-A and 163-B in Chapter XI entitled “Insurance of Motor
Vehicles against Third Party Risks”. Section 165-A begins
with a non obstante clause and provides for payment of
compensation, as indicated in the Second Schedule, to the
legal representatives of the deceased or injured, as the case
may be. Now if we turn to the Second Schedule, we find a
table fixing the mode of calculation of compensation for third
party accident injury claims arising out of fatal accidents. The
first column gives the age group of the victims of accident,
the second column indicates the multiplier and the
subsequent horizontal figures indicate the quantum of
compensation in thousand payable to the heirs of the
deceased victim. According to this table the multiplier varies
from 5 to 18 depending on the age group to which the victim
belonged. Thus, under this Schedule the maximum multiplier
can be up to 18 and not 16 as was held in Susamma
Thomas case [(1994) 2 SCC 176].
18. We must at once point out that the calculation of
compensation and the amount worked out in the Schedule
suffer from several defects. For example, in Item 1 for a
victim aged 15 years, the multiplier is shown to be 15 years
and the multiplicand is shown to be Rs. 3000. The total
should be 3000×15=45,000 but the same is worked out at
Rs. 60,000. Similarly, in the second item the multiplier is 16
and the annual income is Rs. 9000; the total should have
been Rs. 1,44,000 but is shown to be Rs. 1,71,000. To put it
briefly, the table abounds in such mistakes. Neither the
tribunals nor the courts can go by the ready reckoner. It can
only be used as a guide. Besides, the selection of multiplier
cannot in all cases be solely dependant on the age of the
deceased. For example, if the deceased, a bachelor, dies at
the age of 45 and his dependants are his parents, age of the
parents would also be relevant in the choice of the multiplier.
But these mistakes are limited to actual calculations only and
not in respect of other items. What we propose to emphasise
is that the multiplier cannot exceed 18 years’ purchase
factor. This is the improvement over the earlier position that
ordinarily it should not exceed 16. We thought it necessary
to state the correct legal position as courts and tribunals are
using higher multiplier as in the present case where the
Tribunal used the multiplier of 24 which the High Court
raised to 34, thereby showing lack of awareness of the
background of the multiplier system in Davies case”.
14Page 15
(Emphasis supplied
by us)
14. A three-Judge Bench in Supe Dei (Smt) and others v. National
Insurance Company Limited and another14 [Civil Appeal No. 2753 of
2002; decided on April 16, 2002] considered the question, whether
Second Schedule to the 1988 Act can be made applicable in deciding
the application for compensation made under Section 166 or not? This
Court held that the Second Schedule under Section 163A of the 1988
Act which gives the amount of compensation to be determined for the
purpose of claim under that Section can be taken as a guideline while
determining the compensation under Section 166 of the 1988 Act. The
Second Schedule in terms does not apply to a claim made under
Section 166 of the 1988 Act.
15. In Patricia Jean Mahajan5
, this Court had an occasion to
consider Sections 163A and 166 of the 1988 Act. With regard to
Section 163A, the Court stated, “the noticeable features of this
provision are that it provides for compensation in the case of death or
permanent disablement due to accident arising out of use of motor
vehicle. The amount of compensation would be as indicated in the
Second Schedule. The claimant is not required to plead or establish
that the death or permanent disablement was due to any wrongful act
14 (2009) 4 SCC 513
15Page 16
or negligence or default of the owner of the vehicle or any other
person.”
16. Then the Court referred to Sections 165 and 166 of the 1988
Act and observed that a claim under Section 166 did not provide for
the amount of compensation according to the Second Schedule;
rather Section 168 makes it clear that it is for the tribunal to arrive at
an amount of compensation which it may consider to be just in the
facts and circumstances of the case. However, the Court did observe
that structured formula as provided under Second Schedule would be
a safe guide to calculate the compensation while dealing with a claim
made under Section 166.
17. In Patricia Jean Mahajan5
, in light of the facts which
were obtaining in that case, this Court held in paragraphs 19 and 20 of
the Report (pgs. 294 and 295) as under:
“19. In the present case we find that the parents of the
deceased were 69/73 years. Two daughters were aged 17
and 19 years. The main question, which strikes us in this
case is that in the given circumstances the amount of
multiplicand also assumes relevance. The total amount of
dependency as found by the learned Single Judge and also
rightly upheld by the Division Bench comes to 2,26,297
dollars. Applying multiplier of 10, the amount with interest
and the conversion rate of Rs 47, comes to Rs 10.38 crores
and with multiplier of 13 at the conversion rate of Rs 30 the
amount comes to Rs 16.12 crores with interest. These
amounts are huge indeed. Looking to the Indian economy,
fiscal and financial situation, the amount is certainly a
fabulous amount though in the background of American
16Page 17
conditions it may not be so. Therefore, where there is so
much of disparity in the economic conditions and affluence
of the two places viz. the place to which the victim belongs
and the place where the compensation is to be paid, a
golden balance must be struck somewhere, to arrive at a
reasonable and fair mesne. Looking by the Indian standards
they may not be much too overcompensated and similarly
not very much undercompensated as well, in the background
of the country where most of the dependent beneficiaries
reside. Two of the dependants, namely, parents aged 69/73
years live in India, but four of them are in the United States.
Shri Soli J. Sorabjee submitted that the amount of
multiplicand shall surely be relevant and in case it is a high
amount, a lower multiplier can appropriately be applied. We
find force in this submission. Considering all the facts and
factors as indicated above, to us it appears that application
of multiplier of 7 is definitely on the lower side. Some
deviation in the figure of multiplier would not mean that there
may be a wide difference between the multiplier applied and
the scheduled multiplier which in this case is 13. The
difference between 7 and 13 is too wide. As observed
earlier, looking to the high amount of multiplicand and the
ages of the dependants and the fact that the parents are
residing in India, in our view application of multiplier of 10
would be reasonable and would provide a fair compensation
i.e. a purchase factor of 10 years. We accordingly hold that
multiplier of 10 as applied by the learned Single Judge
should be restored instead of multiplier of 13 as applied by
the Division Bench. We find no force in the submission made
on behalf of the claimants that in no circumstances the
amount of multiplicand would be a relevant consideration for
application of appropriate multiplier. We have already given
our reasons in the discussion held above.
20. The court cannot be totally oblivious to the realities. The
Second Schedule while prescribing the multiplier, had
maximum income of Rs 40,000 p.a. in mind, but it is
considered to be a safe guide for applying the prescribed
multiplier in cases of higher income also but in cases where
the gap in income is so wide as in the present case income
is 2,26,297 dollars, in such a situation, it cannot be said that
some deviation in the multiplier would be impermissible.
Therefore, a deviation from applying the multiplier as
provided in the Second Schedule may have to be made in
this case. Apart from factors indicated earlier the amount of
multiplicand also becomes a factor to be taken into account
which in this case comes to 2,26,297 dollars, that is to say
17Page 18
an amount of around Rs 68 lakhs per annum by converting it
at the rate of Rs 30. By Indian standards it is certainly a high
amount. Therefore, for the purposes of fair compensation, a
lesser multiplier can be applied to a heavy amount of
multiplicand. A deviation would be reasonably permissible in
the figure of multiplier even according to the observations
made in the case of Susamma Thomas1
where a specific
example was given about a person dying at the age of 45
leaving no heirs being a bachelor except his parents.”
18. The noticeable observations in Patricia Jean Mahajan5 are
that, (i) for the purposes of fair compensation, a lesser multiplier can
be applied to a heavy amount of multiplicand and (2) a deviation would
be reasonably permissible in the figure of multiplier in appropriate
cases.
19. In Deepal Girishbhai Soni and others v. United India
Insurance Co. Ltd., Baroda15
, the question that arose for consideration
before a three-Judge Bench was, whether a proceeding under Section
163A of the 1988 Act was a final proceeding and the claimant, who
has been granted compensation under Section 163A, was debarred
from proceeding with any further claims on the basis of the fault liability
in terms of Section 166. This Court considered the statutory provisions
contained in the 1988 Act, including Sections 163A and 166. With
regard to Section 163A, the Court stated as follows:
“42. Section 163-A was, thus, enacted for grant of immediate
relief to a section of the people whose annual income is not
more than Rs 40,000 having regard to the fact that in terms
15 (2004) 5 SCC 385
18Page 19
of Section 163-A of the Act read with the Second Schedule
appended thereto, compensation is to be paid on a
structured formula not only having regard to the age of the
victim and his income but also the other factors relevant
therefor. An award made thereunder, therefore, shall be in
full and final settlement of the claim as would appear from
the different columns contained in the Second Schedule
appended to the Act. The same is not interim in nature. . . .
This together with the other heads of compensation as
contained in columns 2 to 6 thereof leaves no manner of
doubt that Parliament intended to lay a comprehensive
scheme for the purpose of grant of adequate compensation
to a section of victims who would require the amount of
compensation without fighting any protracted litigation for
proving that the accident occurred owing to negligence on
the part of the driver of the motor vehicle or any other fault
arising out of use of a motor vehicle.
xxx xxx xxx
46. Section 163-A which has an overriding effect provides for
special provisions as to payment of compensation on
structured-formula basis. Sub-section (1) of Section 163-A
contains non obstante clause in terms whereof the owner of
the motor vehicle or the authorised insurer is liable to pay in
the case of death or permanent disablement due to accident
arising out of the use of motor vehicle, compensation, as
indicated in the Second Schedule, to the legal heirs or the
victim, as the case may be. …….. .
xxx xxx xxx
51. The scheme envisaged under Section 163-A, in our
opinion, leaves no manner of doubt that by reason thereof
the rights and obligations of the parties are to be determined
finally. The amount of compensation payable under the
aforementioned provisions is not to be altered or varied in
any other proceedings. It does not contain any provision
providing for set-off against a higher compensation unlike
Section 140. In terms of the said provision, a distinct and
specified class of citizens, namely, persons whose income
per annum is Rs 40,000 or less is covered thereunder
whereas Sections 140 and 166 cater to all sections of
society.
52. It may be true that Section 163-B provides for an option
to a claimant to either go for a claim under Section 140 or
19Page 20
Section 163-A of the Act, as the case may be, but the same
was inserted ex abundanti cautela so as to remove any
misconception in the minds of the parties to the lis having
regard to the fact that both relate to the claim on the basis of
no-fault liability. Having regard to the fact that Section 166 of
the Act provides for a complete machinery for laying a claim
on fault liability, the question of giving an option to the
claimant to pursue their claims both under Section 163-A
and Section 166 does not arise. If the submission of the
learned counsel is accepted the same would lead to an
incongruity.
xxx xxx xxx”.
20. A two-Judge Bench in Abati Bezbaruah7
with reference to the
structured formula set out in the Second Schedule in 1988 Act
observed as follows:-
It is now a well-settled principle of law that the payment of
compensation on the basis of structured formula as provided
for under the Second Schedule should not ordinarily be
deviated from. Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act lays
down the guidelines for determination of the amount of
compensation in terms of Section 166 thereof. Deviation
from the structured formula, however, as has been held by
this Court, may be resorted to in exceptional cases.
Furthermore, the amount of compensation should be just
and fair in the facts and circumstances of each case.
21. In Shanti Pathak8
a three-Judge Bench of this Court in a very
brief order applied multiplier of 8 for a claim of compensation in
respect of the deceased who was 25 years at the time of his death.
20Page 21
22. In Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. v. Jashuben and Ors.
16
,
two-Judge Bench of this Court applied the multiplier of 13 in a case
where the age of the deceased was 35 years at the time of accident.
23. In Sarla Verma (Smt.) and Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation
and Anr.17 , this Court had an occasion to consider the peculiarities of
Section 163A of the 1988 Act vis-à-vis Section 166. The Court
reiterated what was stated in earlier decisions that the principles
relating to determination of liability and quantum of compensation were
different for claims made under Section 163A and claims made under
Section 166. It was stated that Section 163A and the Second
Schedule in terms did not apply to determination of compensation in
applications under Section 166. While stating that Section 163A
contains a special provision, this Court said:
“34. . . . . . . Section 163-A of the MV Act contains a special
provision as to payment of compensation on structured
formula basis, as indicated in the Second Schedule to the
Act. The Second Schedule contains a table prescribing the
compensation to be awarded with reference to the age and
income of the deceased. It specifies the amount of
compensation to be awarded with reference to the annual
income range of Rs 3000 to Rs 40,000. It does not specify
the quantum of compensation in case the annual income of
the deceased is more than Rs 40,000. But it provides the
multiplier to be applied with reference to the age of the
deceased. The table starts with a multiplier of 15, goes up
to 18, and then steadily comes down to 5. It also provides
the standard deduction as one-third on account of personal
16 2008 (4) SCC 162
17 2009 (6) SCC 121
21Page 22
living expenses of the deceased. Therefore, where the
application is under Section 163-A of the Act, it is possible
to calculate the compensation on the structured formula
basis, even where the compensation is not specified with
reference to the annual income of the deceased, or is more
than Rs 40,000, by applying the formula: (2/3 × AI × M),
that is two-thirds of the annual income multiplied by the
multiplier applicable to the age of the deceased would be
the compensation. Several principles of tortuous liability are
excluded when the claim is under Section 163-A of the MV
Act.”
24. This Court, however, noticed discrepancies/errors in the
multiplier scale given in the Second Schedule table and also observed
that application of table may result in incongruities. Paras 35 and 36
(pp. 137) of the Report are as follows:
“35. There are however discrepancies/errors in the
multiplier scale given in the Second Schedule table. It
prescribes a lesser compensation for cases where a
higher multiplier of 18 is applicable and a larger
compensation with reference to cases where a lesser
multiplier of 15, 16, or 17 is applicable. From the
quantum of compensation specified in the table, it is
possible to infer that a clerical error has crept in the
Schedule and the “multiplier” figures got wrongly typed as
15, 16, 17, 18, 17, 16, 15, 13, 11, 8, 5 and 5 instead of
20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 5.
36. Another noticeable incongruity is, having prescribed
the notional minimum income of non-earning persons as
Rs 15,000 per annum, the table prescribes the
compensation payable even in cases where the annual
income ranges between Rs 3000 and Rs 12,000. This
leads to an anomalous position in regard to applications
under Section 163-A of the MV Act, as the compensation
will be higher in cases where the deceased was idle and
not having any income, than in cases where the
deceased was honestly earning an income ranging
between Rs 3000 and Rs 12,000 per annum. Be that as it
may.”
22Page 23
25. While referring to the decisions of this Court in New India
Assurance Company Ltd. v. Charlie and Anr18
., T.N. State Road
Transport Corporation v. S. Rajapriya and Ors.19 and U.P. State Road
Transport Corporation v. Krishna Bala and Ors.20 , this Court in Sarla
Verma17 in paragraph 39 (pg. 138) of the Report observed as follows:
“39. In New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Charlie this Court
noticed that in respect of claims under Section 166 of the
MV Act, the highest multiplier applicable was 18 and that
the said multiplier should be applied to the age group of 21
to 25 years (commencement of normal productive years)
and the lowest multiplier would be in respect of persons in
the age group of 60 to 70 years (normal retiring age). This
was reiterated in T.N. State Transport Corpn. Ltd. v. S.
Rajapriya and U.P. SRTC v. Krishna Bala.”
26. In Sarla Verma17, this Court undertook the exercise of
comparing the multiplier indicated in Susamma Thomas1
, Trilok
Chandra3 and Charlie18, for claims under Section 166 of the 1988 Act
with the multiplier mentioned in the Second Schedule for claims under
Section 163A (with appropriate deceleration after 50 years) as follows:
Age of Deceased Multiplier
Scale as
envisaged
in
Susamma
Thomas1
Multiplier
Scale as
adopted
by Trilok
Chandra3
Multiplier
Scale in
Trilok
Chandra3 as
clarified in
Charlie18
Multiplier
Specified in
Second Column
in the Table in
Second
Schedule to the
Multiplier
actually used in
Second
Schedule to the
MV Act (as
seen from the
18 2005 (10) SCC 720
19 2005(6) SCC 236
20 2006 (6) SCC 249
23Page 24
MV Act quantum of
compensation)
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Upto 15 years – – – 15 20
15 to 20 years 16 18 18 16 19
21 to 25 years 15 17 18 17 18
26 to 30 years 14 16 17 18 17
31 to 35 years 13 15 16 17 16
36 to 40 years 12 14 15 16 15
41 to 45 years 11 13 14 15 14
46 to 50 years 10 12 13 13 12
51 to 55 years 9 11 11 11 10
56 to 60 years 8 10 09 8 8
61 to 65 years 6 08 07 5 6
Above 65 years 5 05 05 5 5
27. In paragraph 42 (pg. 140) of the Report, this Court in Sarla
Verma17 laid down that the multiplier shall be used in a given case in
the following manner:
“42. 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.”
28. The above exercise was undertaken in Sarla Verma17 to
ensure uniformity and consistency in the selection of multiplier while
24Page 25
awarding compensation in motor accident claims made under Section
166.
29. Section 168 of the 1988 Act provides the guideline that the
amount of compensation shall be awarded by the claims tribunal which
appears to it to be just. The expression, ‘just’ means that the amount
so determined is fair, reasonable and equitable by accepted legal
standards and not a forensic lottery. Obviously ‘just compensation’
does not mean ‘perfect’ or ‘absolute’ compensation. The just
compensation principle requires examination of the particular situation
obtaining uniquely in an individual case.
30. Almost a century back in Taff Vale Railway Co. v. Jenkins21
,
the House of Lords laid down the test that award of damages in fatal
accident action is compensation for the reasonable expectation of
pecuniary benefit by the deceased’s family. The purpose of award of
compensation is to put the dependants of the deceased, who had
been bread-winner of the family, in the same position financially as if
he had lived his natural span of life; it is not designed to put the
claimants in a better financial position in which they would otherwise
have been if the accident had not occurred. At the same time, the
determination of compensation is not an exact science and the
exercise involves an assessment based on estimation and conjectures
21 (1913) AC 1
25Page 26
here and there as many imponderable factors and unpredictable
contingencies have to be taken into consideration.
31. This Court in C.K. Subramania Iyer and Ors. v. T.Kunhikuttan
Nair and Ors.22
, reiterated the legal philosophy highlighted in Taff Vale
Railway 21 for award of compensation in claim cases and said that
there is no exact uniform rule for measuring the value of the human life
and the measure of damages cannot be arrived at by precise
mathematical calculations. Obviously, award of damages in each case
would depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the case
but the element of fairness in the amount of compensation so
determined is the ultimate guiding factor.
32. In Susamma Thomas1
, this Court – though with reference to
Section 110B of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 – stated that the
multiplier method was the accepted norm of ensuring the just
compensation which will make for uniformity and certainty of the
awards. We are of the opinion that this statement in Susamma
Thomas1 is equally applicable to the fatal accident claims made under
Section 166 of the 1988 Act. In our view, the determination of
compensation based on multiplier method is the best available means
and the most satisfactory method and must be followed invariably by
the tribunals and courts.
22 1970 (2) SCR 688
26Page 27
33. We have already noticed the table prepared in Sarla Verma17
for the selection of multiplier. The table has been prepared in Sarla
Verma17 having regard to the three decisions of this Court, namely,
Susamma Thomas1
, Trilok Chandra3 and Charlie18 for the claims
made under Section 166 of the 1988 Act. The Court said that multiplier
shown in Column (4) of the table must be used having regard to the
age of the deceased. Perhaps the biggest advantage by employing
the table prepared in Sarla Verma17 is that the uniformity and
consistency in selection of the multiplier can be achieved. The
assessment of extent of dependency depends on examination of the
unique situation of the individual case. Valuing the dependency or the
multiplicand is to some extent an arithmetical exercise. The
multiplicand is normally based on the net annual value of the
dependency on the date of the deceased’s death. Once the net
annual loss (multiplicand) is assessed, taking into account the age of
the deceased, such amount is to be multiplied by a ‘multiplier’ to arrive
at the loss of dependency. In Sarla Verma17
, this Court has
endeavoured to simplify the otherwise complex exercise of
assessment of loss of dependency and determination of compensation
in a claim made under Section 166. It has been rightly stated in Sarla
Verma17 that claimants in case of death claim for the purposes of
27Page 28
compensation must establish (a) age of the deceased; (b) income of
the deceased; and (c) the number of dependants. To arrive at the loss
of dependency, the Tribunal must consider (i) additions/deductions to
be made for arriving at the income; (ii) the deductions to be made
towards the personal living expenses of the deceased; and (iii) the
multiplier to be applied with reference to the age of the deceased. We
do not think it is necessary for us to revisit the law on the point as we
are in full agreement with the view in Sarla Verma17
.
34. If the multiplier as indicated in Column (4) of the table read
with paragraph 42 of the Report in Sarla Verma17 is followed, the wide
variations in the selection of multiplier in the claims of compensation in
fatal accident cases can be avoided. A standard method for selection
of multiplier is surely better than a criss-cross of varying methods. It is
high time that we move to a standard method of selection of multiplier,
income for future prospects and deduction for personal and living
expenses. The courts in some of the overseas jurisdictions have
made this advance. It is for these reasons, we think we must approve
the table in Sarla Verma17 for the selection of multiplier in claim
applications made under Section 166 in the cases of death. We do
accordingly. If for the selection of multiplier, Column (4) of the table in
Sarla Verma17 is followed, there is no likelihood of the claimants who
28Page 29
have chosen to apply under Section 166 being awarded lesser amount
on proof of negligence on the part of the driver of the motor vehicle
than those who prefer to apply under Section 163A. As regards the
cases where the age of the victim happens to be upto 15 years, we are
of the considered opinion that in such cases irrespective of Section
163A or Section 166 under which the claim for compensation has been
made, multiplier of 15 and the assessment as indicated in the Second
Schedule subject to correction as pointed out in Column (6) of the
table in Sarla Verma17 should be followed. This is to ensure that
claimants in such cases are not awarded lesser amount when the
application is made under Section 166 of the 1988 Act. In all other
cases of death where the application has been made under Section
166, the multiplier as indicated in Column (4) of the table in Sarla
Verma17 should be followed.
35. With regard to the addition to income for future prospects, in
Sarla Verma17, this Court has noted earlier decisions in Susamma
Thomas1
, Sarla Dixit2
and Abati Bezbaruah7 and in paragraph 24 of the
Report held as under:
“24.……In view of the imponderables and uncertainties, we
are in favour of adopting as a rule of thumb, an addition of
50% of actual salary to the actual salary income of the
deceased towards future prospects, where the deceased
had a permanent job and was below 40 years. (Where the
annual income is in the taxable range, the words “actual
29Page 30
salary” should be read as “actual salary less tax”). The
addition should be only 30% if the age of the deceased was
40 to 50 years. There should be no addition, where the age
of the deceased is more than 50 years. Though the evidence
may indicate a different percentage of increase, it is
necessary to standardise the addition to avoid different
yardsticks being applied or different methods of calculation
being adopted. Where the deceased was self-employed or
was on a fixed salary (without provision for annual
increments, etc.), the courts will usually take only the actual
income at the time of death. A departure therefrom should
be made only in rare and exceptional cases involving special
circumstances.”
36. The standardization of addition to income for future prospects
shall help in achieving certainty in arriving at appropriate
compensation. We approve the method that an addition of 50% of
actual salary be made to the actual salary income of the deceased
towards future prospects where the deceased had a permanent job
and was below 40 years and the addition should be only 30% if the
age of the deceased was 40 to 50 years and no addition should be
made where the age of the deceased is more than 50 years. Where
the annual income is in the taxable range, the actual salary shall mean
actual salary less tax. In the cases where the deceased was selfemployed or was on a fixed salary without provision for annual
increments, the actual income at the time of death without any addition
to income for future prospects will be appropriate. A departure from the
30Page 31
above principle can only be justified in extraordinary circumstances
and very exceptional cases.
37. As regards deduction for personal and living expenses, in
Sarla Verma17, this Court considered Susamma Thomas1
, Trilok
Chandra3 and Fakeerappa23 and finally in paras 30, 31 and 32 of the
Report held as under:
“30…….Having considered several subsequent decisions
of this Court, we are of the view that where the deceased
was married, the deduction towards personal and living
expenses of the deceased, should be one-third (1/3rd)
where the number of dependent family members is 2 to
3, one-fourth (1/4th) where the number of dependent
family members is 4 to 6, and one-fifth (1/5th) where the
number of dependent family members exceeds six.
31. Where the deceased was a bachelor and the
claimants are the parents, the deduction follows a
different principle. In regard to bachelors, normally, 50%
is deducted as personal and living expenses, because it
is assumed that a bachelor would tend to spend more on
himself. Even otherwise, there is also the possibility of his
getting married in a short time, in which event the
contribution to the parent(s) and siblings is likely to be cut
drastically. Further, subject to evidence to the contrary,
the father is likely to have his own income and will not be
considered as a dependant and the mother alone will be
considered as a dependant. In the absence of evidence
to the contrary, brothers and sisters will not be
considered as dependants, because they will either be
independent and earning, or married, or be dependent on
the father.
32. Thus even if the deceased is survived by parents and
siblings, only the mother would be considered to be a
dependant, and 50% would be treated as the personal
and living expenses of the bachelor and 50% as the
contribution to the family. However, where the family of
the bachelor is large and dependent on the income of the
23 Fakeerappa and Anr. v. Karnataka Cement Pipe Factory and Others; [(2004) 2 SCC 473]
31Page 32
deceased, as in a case where he has a widowed mother
and large number of younger non-earning sisters or
brothers, his personal and living expenses may be
restricted to one-third and contribution to the family will
be taken as two-third.”
38. The above does provide guidance for the appropriate
deduction for personal and living expenses. One must bear in mind
that the proportion of a man’s net earnings that he saves or spends
exclusively for the maintenance of others does not form part of his
living expenses but what he spends exclusively on himself does. The
percentage of deduction on account of personal and living expenses
may vary with reference to the number of dependant members in the
family and the personal living expenses of the deceased need not
exactly correspond to the number of dependants.
39. In our view, the standards fixed by this Court in Sarla Verma17
on the aspect of deduction for personal living expenses in paragraphs
30, 31 and 32 must ordinarily be followed unless a case for departure
in the circumstances noted in the preceding para is made out.
40. In what we have discussed above, we sum up our conclusions
as follows:
(i) In the applications for compensation made under Section 166
of the 1988 Act in death cases where the age of the deceased is 15
years and above, the Claims Tribunals shall select the multiplier as
32Page 33
indicated in Column (4) of the table prepared in Sarla Verma17 read
with para 42 of that judgment.
(ii) In cases where the age of the deceased is upto 15 years,
irrespective of the Section 166 or Section 163A under which the claim
for compensation has been made, multiplier of 15 and the assessment
as indicated in the Second Schedule subject to correction as pointed
out in Column (6) of the table in Sarla Verma17 should be followed.
(iii) As a result of the above, while considering the claim
applications made under Section 166 in death cases where the age of
the deceased is above 15 years, there is no necessity for the Claims
Tribunals to seek guidance or for placing reliance on the Second
Schedule in the 1988 Act.
(iv) The Claims Tribunals shall follow the steps and guidelines
stated in para 19 of Sarla Verma17 for determination of compensation
in cases of death.
(v) While making addition to income for future prospects, the
Tribunals shall follow paragraph 24 of the Judgment in Sarla Verma17
.
(vi) Insofar as deduction for personal and living expenses is
concerned, it is directed that the Tribunals shall ordinarily follow the
standards prescribed in paragraphs 30, 31 and 32 of the judgment in
33Page 34
Sarla Verma17 subject to the observations made by us in para 38
above.
(vii) The above propositions mutatis mutandis shall apply to all
pending matters where above aspects are under consideration.
41. The reference is answered accordingly. Civil appeals shall
now be posted for hearing and disposal before the regular Bench.
……………………….J.
(R.M. Lodha)
..…..…………………J.
(J. Chelameswar)
.………………………J.
(Madan B. Lokur)
NEW DELHI
APRIL 2, 2013.
34

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