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while examining the tortuous liability of the tort-feasor has examined the criteria for awarding compensation for death of children in accident between age group of 10 to 15 years and held in the above case that the compensation shall be awarded taking the contribution of the children to the family at Rs.12,000/- p.a. and multiplier 11 has been applied taking the age of the father and then under the conventional heads the compensation of Rs.25,000/- was awarded. Thus, a total sum of Rs.1,57,000/- was awarded in that case. After noting the submission made on behalf of TISCO in the said case that the compensation determined for the children of all age groups could be double as in its view the determination made was grossly inadequate and the observation was further made that loss of children is irrecoupable and no amount of money could compensate the parents. Having regard to the environment from which the children referred to in that case were brought up, their parents being reasonably well-placed officials of TISCO, it was directed that the compensation amount for the children between the age group of 5 to 10 years should be three times. In other words, it should be Rs.1.5 lakhs to which under the conventional heads a sum of Rs.50,000/- should be added and thus total amount in each case would be Rs.2 lakhs. Further, in the case referred to supra it has observed that in so far as the children of age group between 10 to 15 years are concerned, they are all students of Class VI to Class X and are children of employees of TISCO and one of the children was employed in the Company in the said case having regard to the fact the contribution of the deceased child was taken Rs.12,000/- p.a. appears to be on the lower side and held that the contribution of such children should be Rs.24,000/- p.a. In our considered view, the aforesaid legal principle laid down in Lata Wadhwa’s case with all fours is applicable to the facts and circumstances of the case in hand having regard to the fact that the deceased was 10 years’ old, who was assisting the appellants in their agricultural occupation which is an undisputed fact. We have also considered the fact that the rupee value has come down drastically from the year 1994, when the notional income of the non- earning member prior to the date of accident was fixed at Rs.15,000/-. Further, the deceased boy, had he been alive would have certainly contributed substantially to the family of the appellants by working hard. In view of the aforesaid reasons, it would be just and reasonable for us to take his notional income at Rs.30,000/- and further taking the young age of the parents, namely the mother who was about 36 years old, at the time of accident, by applying the legal principles laid down in the case of Sarla Verma v. Delhi Transport Corporation[3], the multiplier of 15 can be applied to the multiplicand. Thus, 30,000 x 15 = 4,50,000 and 50,000/- under conventional heads towards loss of love and affection, funeral expenses, last rites as held in Kerala SRTC v. Susamma Thomas[4], which is referred to in Lata Wadhwa’s case and the said amount under the conventional heads is awarded even in relation to the death of children between 10 to 15 years old. In this case also we award Rs.50,000/- under conventional heads. In our view, for the aforesaid reasons the said amount would be fair, just and reasonable compensation to be awarded in favour of the appellants. The said amount will carry interest at the rate of 9% p.a. by applying the law laid down in the case of Municipal Council of Delhi v. Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy[5], for the reason that the Insurance Company has been contesting the claim of the appellants from 1992-2013 without settling their legitimate claim for nearly about 21 years, if the Insurance Company had awarded and paid just and reasonable compensation to the appellants the same could have been either invested or kept in the fixed deposit, then the amount could have earned five times more than what is awarded today in this appeal. Therefore, awarding 9% interest on the compensation awarded in favour of the appellants is legally justified.=Accordingly, we pass the following order: I) The appeal is allowed and the impugned judgments and awards of both the Tribunal and High Court are set aside. II) The awarded amount of Rs.5,00,000/- with interest at the rate of 9% per annum should be paid to the appellants from the date of filing of the application till the date of payment. III) We direct the Insurance Company to issue the demand draft drawn on any Nationalized Bank by apportioning the compensation amount equally with proportionate interest and send it to the appellants within six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.7137 OF 2013
(Arising out of SLP(C) No.21139 of 2011)
KISHAN GOPAL & ANR. … APPELLANTS
Vs.
LALA & ORS. … RESPONDENTS
J U D G M E N T
V.Gopala Gowda, J.
This appeal has been filed by the appellants questioning the
correctness of the judgment dated 15th March, 2011 passed in SBCMA No.1283
of 2000 by the High Court of Judicature at Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench,
affirming the judgment and award dated 25.5.2000 of the Motor Accident
Claims Tribunal, Tonk (for short ‘the Tribunal’) in MAC case No.7/93,
urging various relevant facts and legal contentions in support of their
claim made in this appeal.
2. Necessary relevant facts are stated hereunder to appreciate the case
of the appellants and also to find out whether the appellants are entitled
for the reliefs as prayed in this appeal.
The appellants are the parents of the deceased Tikaram, who died in a
road accident on 19.07.1992 on account of rash and negligent driving of
the motor vehicle tractor bearing registration No. RJX 5532 by the driver,
as he was traveling in the trolley which was turned upside down and he
fell down from the trolley and sustained grievous injuries and succumbed
to the same. The FIR was registered with the Police Station Uniara, Tonk
being case No.121/92. After investigation in the case, charge-sheet
No.81/92 (Ex.2) was filed on 30.07.1992 against the first respondent, the
driver of the offending vehicle and its owner the respondent No.2. A site
map (Ex.3) was drawn up, post-mortem of the deceased was conducted and
post-mortem Report was marked as Ex.7. The claimants, being the appellants-
parents, who have lost their son at the age of 10 years in the motor
vehicle accident and the vehicle was insured with respondent No.3 – the
Insurance Company, preferred claim petition under Section 140 read with
Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (in short the ‘M.V. Act’)
claiming compensation for Rs.15,63,000/- under the headings of loss of
dependency, mental agony, loss of love and affection, expenses incurred
for carrying dead body and performing last rites of the deceased son as
per Hindu customs. Further, they have, inter alia, pleaded that the son
would have earned a sum of Rs.2000/- p.m. after the age of 18 years and he
would have lived upto 70 years, therefore, multiplied by 52 for claiming
the financial assistance that he could have rendered to the parents, the
same is worked out to Rs.12,48,000/-.
3. Notices were served upon respondent Nos.1 and 2, the driver and the
owner of the offending vehicle. Despite service of notice upon them they
did not choose to appear and contest the proceedings and therefore, they
were placed ex-parte in the claim proceedings before the Tribunal.
4. The Insurance Company appeared and filed its statement of counter
denying the various averments of the claim petition and pleaded that the
deceased son of the appellants was not studying and further disputed that
there was possibility of earning Rs.2000/- p.m. by the deceased. It was
further pleaded that in the FIR, it is mentioned that deceased boy was
going in the tractor-trolley, fell down from it on account of rash and
negligent driving of the offending vehicle by the first respondent, the
deceased son sustained grievous injuries and succumbed to the same. It is
further stated that the driver of the offending vehicle had no right to
carry passenger in a tractor as it is exclusively required to be used for
the agricultural operation and therefore, there is contravention of the
terms and conditions of the insurance policy issued in favour of the owner
of the offending vehicle. It is further stated by the Insurance Company
that the trolley was not registered and the driver of the offending
vehicle did not have the valid licence and hence, it is not liable to pay
compensation as claimed by the appellants. On the basis of the pleadings,
five issues were framed by the Tribunal for its determination.
5. On behalf of the appellants, Kishan Gopal the father of the deceased
was examined as AW-1. He has deposed in his evidence narrating the
manner in which the accident took place and marked the documents
produced by him viz. FIR, charge-sheet, Site Map, Notice under Section
174, Insurance cover note, Mechanical Inspection, post-mortem Report,
Notice under Section 133 and the Registration Certificate as Exhs. 1 to
9 respectively. AW-2, who was cultivating in the adjoining field
situated near the place of accident was examined on behalf of the
appellants and he has spoken about the incident and deposed that the
deceased boy was going in the tractor-trolley and the first respondent-
driver was driving the tractor and the trolley turned down and he fell
down as the driver drove the tractor with high speed negligently and
he had sustained grievous injuries and succumbed to the same. The
respondent Insurance Company have not adduced the rebuttal evidence in
support of its pleaded case in its counter statement. In the counter
statement of the Insurance Company, it is pleaded that the claim
petition filed by the appellants is a fabricated one in collusion with
the driver and the owner of the offending vehicle. It is not
forthcoming from the judgment of Tribunal that the Insurance Company
has filed the application under Section 170(b) of the M.V. Act seeking
permission from the Tribunal in the proceedings to avail the defence
available for the insured of the offending vehicle to contest the
proceedings on merits. As could be seen from the record, the lawyer of
the Insurance Company has cross-examined the appellants’ witnesses
before the Tribunal.
6. The Tribunal, on appreciation of pleadings and legal evidence on
record, has answered the issue No.1, after adverting to the averments
of the claim petition and evidence on record, and held that the
appellants have not succeeded in proving that Tikaram died because of
falling from the tractor-trolley which was driven rashly and
negligently by the driver. Issue No.2 was also answered holding that
the appellants are not entitled for the compensation as claimed by them
for the reason that the finding recorded on the issue No.1 is in the
negative.
7. Aggrieved by the judgment and award of the Tribunal, the appellants
filed an appeal before the High Court questioning the correctness of the
findings recorded on the contentious issue Nos.1 & 2 contending that
rejection of the claim petition by it is not only erroneous in fact but
also suffers from error in law. Therefore, they have approached the High
Court by filing an appeal for grant of just and reasonable compensation to
them setting aside the judgment and award of the Tribunal.
8. The learned Judge of the High Court has not exercised his appellate
jurisdiction by reappreciating the pleadings and evidence on record and he
had mechanically concurred with the findings and reasons recorded by the
Tribunal on the contentious issues in its judgment and dismissed the
appeal by passing a cryptic order without adverting to the pleadings,
legal evidence and legal contentions urged on behalf of the parties.
9. The appellants are aggrieved by the impugned judgment and award
passed by the High Court and they have filed this appeal urging various
tenable grounds.
As per the Office Report dated 13th December, 2012, Notice was issued
to all the respondents. M/s M.M. Kashyap and Aftab Ali Khan, Advocates
have filed vakalatnama and memo of appearance on behalf of respondent Nos.
1 and 3 respectively and also filed counter affidavits on their behalf.
Acknowledgement card duly signed by respondent No.2 has been received back
in proof of the service of notice upon him but no one has entered
appearance and filed vakalatnama or memo of appearance on his behalf,
therefore, it is reported that the service of notice on him is complete.
10. This appeal was listed before this Court on 14.12.2012, when the Court
was pleased to pass the following order:-
“Send for the record of award dated 25.05.2000 passed by Motor
Accident Claims Tribunal, Tonk, Rajasthan in MACT Case No.7/1993.
The Registry is directed to send requisition to the Presiding
Officer of the Tribunal. It is expected that the Presiding Officer
will remit the record of the case without any delay.
Put up after the receipt of the record.”
11. This appeal was listed before the Court on 12th August, 2013. On
behalf of the appellants we have heard Mr.Praveen Kumar Jain, Advocate.
None appeared on behalf of the respondents and this Court granted leave.
Though respondent Nos.1 & 3 have filed their counter affidavits
reiterating the averments made in the counter statement filed by the
Insurance Company before the Tribunal extracting certain portion from the
FIR and Statements of Evidence of AW-1 – the father of the deceased and AW-
2 – the brother of the deceased and placed strong reliance upon the
definition of ‘trailer’ as defined under Section 2(46) of the M.V. Act,
and that the trolley of the tractor is not registered with the
registering Authority. The tractor with trolley can be used only for
agricultural purposes but not for carrying passengers which would be in
contravention of the provisions of the M.V. Act and terms and conditions
of the policy issued covering the Motor Vehicle Tracter. Therefore, it is
stated by the Insurance Company that by allowing the deceased boy to
travel in the trolley of the tractor, the driver has violated the terms &
conditions of the insurance policy and law and it has also placed reliance
upon the decision of this Court in National Insurance Co.Ltd. v. Baljit
Kaur[1], in support of its defence wherein this Court has held that the
passengers, who travel in the goods carriage and die in the accident are
not entitled to get any compensation from the Insurance Company under the
policy.
12. Respondent No.1 has filed counter affidavit, stating the following
averments, the relevant paragraphs are extracted hereunder for our
perusal:-
“2…That there is contradiction in statement of Kishan Gopal
AW1 and Babu AW2 as Babu stated that Tikaram deceased fell down
due to rash and negligent driving of tractor by Lala the
Deponent herewith. Whereas Kishan Gopal stated that Tikaram
fell down due to rash and negligent driving of tractor by which
tractor got turned.
3. That deceased Tikaram was not studying in School and there
is no possibility of earning Rs.2000/- per month.
4. That as passenger cannot travel in tractor and death was
caused sitting in trolly which is not allowed. The petitioner
cannot claim any compensation for the negligence of Tikaram
sitting in trolly. Tractor can only be used for agricultural
purposes.
5. That driver had no valid licence.
6. That learned Tribunal in its award rightly gave finding
that there is contradiction in statement of Kishan Gopal AW1 and
Babu AW2 as Kishan Gopal stated that his son died as his son was
hit by Lala driving the tractor fast and negligently. Whereas
Babu stated that Lala was driving tractor rashly and
negligently because of which the tractor got turned down and in
the accident Tikaram died. As per the contradictions the case
was not proved by the petitioner before the Tribunal. Further,
there are contradictions in the statement of witnesses and FIR.
7. That the Insurance Company did not appear to prove the fact
that Lala was not having valid licence to drive tractor.
8. That Insurance Company has to prove that driver has
not got valid licence. The finding to this effect given by
learned Tribunal is right.
9. That petitioner is not entitled for any
compensation.
10. That the above special leave petition may
kindly be dismissed.”
13. The ground urged by the appellants in this appeal is that the
High Court has erred in concurring with the finding of fact recorded by
the Tribunal in its judgment on the contentious issue Nos.1 & 2. It is
erroneous for the reason that the same is contrary to substantive
evidence on record in favour of the appellants and no rebuttal evidence is
adduced by the Insurance Company in the case to accept its defence pleas
and record the finding on the contentious issue Nos.1 and 2 in its
favour. Further, it is urged that both the Tribunal and the High Court
have not taken into consideration the relevant indisputed fact that the
criminal case is registered against respondent No.1-the driver and
respondent no.2-the owner of the vehicle and the charge-sheet is filed
against them. Both AW-1 and AW-2 adduced evidence before the Tribunal
stating that the deceased son of the appellants was traveling in the
trolley of the tractor, it was turned down on account of rash and
negligent driving of the offending vehicle by respondent No.1 and he fell
down from the trolley and the tractor tyre ran over the body and he
sustained grievous injuries and succumbed to the same. Further, it is
urged that in the absence of evidence of either the driver or the owner of
the tractor and also in the absence of rebuttal evidence on behalf of the
Insurance Company in support of its pleadings, the finding of fact
recorded by the Tribunal stating that the accident did not take place on
account of rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle by the
driver is erroneous, as it has failed to consider the evidence on record
in a proper perspective in favour of the appellants. The finding recorded
by the Tribunal without appreciating the entire evidence of AW-1 and AW-2
on record, by picking bits and piece of certain sentences from evidence
of the witnesses and FIR Exh.1 and answered the contentious issue No.1
against the appellants which approach of it is erroneous, which finding is
erroneously affirmed by the High Court, mechanically without re-
appreciating the evidence and assigning valid and cogent reasons in
support of its conclusion in concurring with the Tribunal. Further, it is
contended that the Tribunal has since answered the contentious issue No.1
holding that the death of Tikaram is not due to rash and negligent driving
of the tractor by its driver is not proved, it has answered the
contentious issue No.2 stating that the question of awarding compensation
as claimed by the appellants does not arise and consequently, it has
rejected the claim petition, which decision of it is not only erroneouos,
but, also suffers from error in law. Therefore, the learned counsel for
the appellants has requested this Court to award just and reasonable
compensation in favour of the appellants by allowing this appeal.
14. On behalf of respondent Nos.1 and 3 counter affidavits have been
filed but none appeared at the time of hearing. After hearing the learned
counsel for the appellants, this appeal was reserved for judgment. On the
basis of the factual and rival legal contentions urged on behalf of the
appellants, the following points are framed for consideration of this
Court:-
I) Whether the findings of fact recorded on issue Nos.1 & 2 framed
by the Tribunal, which finding is affirmed by the High Court in the
impugned judgment is vitiated on account of erroneous reasoning?
II) Whether the appellants are entitled for compensation, if so to
what amount?
III) What award?

15. The first point is required to be answered in favour of the
appellants by assigning the following reasons:-
The deceased son of the appellants died in an accident, while he was
traveling in a trolley of the tractor bearing No.RJX-5532 on 19.07.1992,
the trolley turned down on account of rash and negligent driving of the
tractor by the driver-respondent No.1. In this regard, the FIR was
registered being FIR No.121/92 with the Uniara Police Station, Tonk. On
the basis of the said FIR, the investigation was made by the Investigation
Officer and charge-sheet No.81/92 was filed on 30.07.1992 against the
driver and the owner of the offending vehicle for the offences punishable
under Sections 279 and 304-A IPC read with certain provisions of the
M.V.Act. The FIR and the charge-sheet were produced in the evidence of
the first appellant-the father of the deceased, who was examined as AW-1.
He has also produced and marked the site map (Ex.3), action taken under
Section 174 (Ex.4), Insurance cover note Ex.5, Mechanical inspection Ex.6
and post-mortem report Ex.7 as exhibits in the evidence to substantiate
the case of the appellants to show that accident took place on account of
rash and negligent driving of driver of the tractor. AW-2 – Babu s/o
Kishan Gopal, r/o Bhat-Ka Nada, Tehsil Uniara, Dist. Tonk, who is an
agriculturist by occupation, is examined on behalf of the appellants, who
has deposed before the Tribunal and he has stated that the deceased
Tikaram was traveling in the trolley of the tractor, which was driven by
the first respondent in a high speed, rashly and negligently on account of
which the vehicle got turned down and the tyre of tractor ran over Tikaram
on account of which, he sustained grievous injuries and succumbed to the
same. The following evidence is elicited from AW-2 in his cross-
examination by the lawyer of the Insurance Company to the following
effect;
“that at the time of accident he was carrying paddy and he was one
field away from the place of accident and he reached there by
running. Before him, several other persons also reached the site of
the accident and he was examined by the Investigating Officer and
the same is accepted as true after understanding the same”.
AW-1, the father of the deceased boy has also spoken about
the manner in which accident took place and his son Tikaram died and had
produced the documentary evidence referred to supra in justification of the
case pleaded by the appellants. In his evidence, he has stated that
Tikaram was sitting in the trolley of the tractor and the tractor was
driven by its driver rashly and negligently on account of which the
trolley turned down and his son sustained grievous injuries and died. The
suggestion put to AW-1 in his cross-examination by the lawyer of the
Insurance Company to the following effect
“this is correct that when accident took place I was at
home. It is the incident of 5 p.m. when my son had gone to graze
cattle. My son was made to sit in the trolley by the tractor wala.”
The lawyer of the Insurance Company has not challenged the evidence of AW-2
that the deceased was traveling in the trolley of the tractor and accident
took place on account of rash and negligent driving of the driver.
Therefore, the fact of accident that took place on 19.07.1992 at 5.00 p.m.
is not challenged by the lawyer of the Insurance Company at all. Apart
from the said fact, no rebuttal evidence adduced by the Insurance Company
before the Tribunal in the claim proceedings. It has also not obtained
permission from the Tribunal under Section 170(b) of the M.V. Act to
contest the case on the defence of the insured as the driver and the
insured both remained ex-parte in the proceedings before the Tribunal and
therefore, it could not have contested the case on merits as held by this
Court in the case of National Insurance Company vs. Nicolletta Rohtagi
reported in 2002(7) SCC 456. It is also not clear in the counter statement
filed by the Insurance Company before the Tribunal that the claim petition
was filed by the appellants on account of collusion between them and
respondent Nos.1 and 2, the driver and the owner of the vehicle
respectively.
16. In view of the aforesaid facts, the Tribunal should have considered
both oral and documentary evidence referred to supra and appreciated the
same in the proper perspective and recorded the finding on the contentious
issue No. 1 & 2 in the affirmative. But it has recorded the finding in the
negative on the above issues by adverting to certain statements of
evidence of AW-1 and referring to certain alleged discrepancies in the FIR
without appreciating entire evidence of AW-1 and AW-2 on record properly
and also not assigned valid reasons in not accepting their testimony. The
Tribunal should have taken into consideration the pleadings of the parties
and legal evidence on record in its entirety and held that the accident
took place on 19.07.1992, due to which Tikaram sustained grievous injuries
and succumbed to the same and the case was registered by the Uniara Police
Station under Sections 279 and 304-A, IPC read with Sections 133 and 181
of the M.V. Act against the first and second respondents. The registration
of FIR and filing of the charge-sheet against respondent Nos.1 & 2 are not
in dispute, therefore, the Tribunal should have no option but to accept
the entire evidence on record and recorded the finding on the contentious
issue Nos.1 and 2 in favour of the appellants. Further, it should have
held that the deceased son died in the tractor accident, driven by first
respondent rashly and negligently, but it has answered the above
contentious issue Nos. 1 & 2 in the negative and therefore, we have to set
aside the said erroneous findings as the Tribunal has failed to
appreciate the entire evidence both oral and documentary properly to
answer the issue Nos.1 & 2 in the affirmative. From the perusal of the
evidence elicited in the cross-examination of AW-1 – the father and AW-2
who reached the spot immediately after the accident, he had seen the
accident and narrated that the deceased boy had sustained grievous
injuries in the accident and succumbed to the same. The evidence on
record proved that the deceased sustained grievous injuries in the
accident on account of which he died. The Insurance Company by cross-
examining the witness No. AW-2 has categorically admitted the accident, as
its counsel had put the suggestion to him the relevant portion of which is
extracted above, which portion of evidence clearly go to show that in the
accident the deceased died, but the Tribunal has failed to appreciate the
evidence of AW-2 and also the documentary evidence referred to supra,
while recording the finding of fact on the contentious issue No.1. The
counter affidavit of respondent No.1 filed in these proceedings cannot be
relied upon by this Court at this stage as he did not choose to appear
before the Tribunal, though he had filed statement of counter and neither
he nor the Insurance Company adduced rebuttal evidence by obtaining
permission from the Tribunal under Section 170(b) of M.V. Act to avail the
defence of the insured respondent No.2, as the Insurance Company has
limited defence as provided under Section 149(2) of the M.V. Act. But on
the other hand, by reading the averments from the paragraphs extracted
from the affidavit of respondent No.1, the driver would support the case
of the appellants.
17. In our considered view, the Tribunal has ignored certain relevant
facts and evidence on record while considering the case of the appellants.
The High Court though it has got power to re-appreciate the pleadings and
evidence on record, has declined to do so and mechanically endorsed the
findings of fact on contentious issue Nos.1 & 2 after referring to certain
stray sentences from the evidence of AW-1 and the FIR and it has
erroneously held that there is a contradiction between the FIR, the claim
petition and the evidence of the appellants. It has concurred with the
finding of fact recorded on the contentious issues and accepted dismissal
of the petition. The concurrent findings of fact are erroneous and invalid
and therefore, the same call for our interference in this appeal. The
approach of the High Court to the claim of the appellants is very casual
as it did not advert to the oral and documentary evidence placed on record
on behalf of the appellants, particularly, in the absence of rebuttal
evidence adduced by the Insurance Company, hence the same is liable to set
aside and accordingly we set aside the same.
18. Point Nos.2 and 3 are answered together in favour of the appellants
for the following reasons:-
The Tribunal having answered the contentious issue No.1, against the
appellants in its judgment the same is concurred with by the High Court by
assigning erroneous reasons and it has affirmed dismissal of the claim
petition of the appellants holding that the accident did not take place on
account of the rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle by the
first respondent and therefore the contentious issue Nos.1 and 2 are
answered in the negative against the appellants and it has not awarded
compensation in favour of the appellants.
Since we have set aside the findings and reasons recorded by both the
Tribunal and the High Court on the contentious issue Nos.1 & 2 by
recording our reasons in the preceding paragraphs of this judgment and we
have answered the point in favour of the appellants and also examined the
claim of the appellants to award just and reasonable compensation in
favour of the appellants as they have lost their affectionate 10 year old
son. For this purpose, it would be necessary for us to refer to Second
Schedule under Section 163-A of the M.V. Act, at clause No.6 which refers
to notional income for compensation to those persons who had no income
prior to accident. The relevant portion of clause No.6 states as under:
“6. Notional income for compensation to those who had no income
prior to accident:
…………..
(a) Non-earning persons – Rs.15,000/- p.a.”
The aforesaid clause of the Second Schedule to Section 163-A of the
M.V. Act, is considered by this Court in the case of Lata Wadhwa & Ors. v.
State of Bihar & Ors.[2], while examining the tortuous liability of the
tort-feasor has examined the criteria for awarding compensation for death
of children in accident between age group of 10 to 15 years and held in
the above case that the compensation shall be awarded taking the
contribution of the children to the family at Rs.12,000/- p.a. and
multiplier 11 has been applied taking the age of the father and then under
the conventional heads the compensation of Rs.25,000/- was awarded. Thus,
a total sum of Rs.1,57,000/- was awarded in that case. After noting the
submission made on behalf of TISCO in the said case that the compensation
determined for the children of all age groups could be double as in its
view the determination made was grossly inadequate and the observation was
further made that loss of children is irrecoupable and no amount of money
could compensate the parents. Having regard to the environment from which
the children referred to in that case were brought up, their parents being
reasonably well-placed officials of TISCO, it was directed that the
compensation amount for the children between the age group of 5 to 10
years should be three times. In other words, it should be Rs.1.5 lakhs to
which under the conventional heads a sum of Rs.50,000/- should be added
and thus total amount in each case would be Rs.2 lakhs. Further, in the
case referred to supra it has observed that in so far as the children of
age group between 10 to 15 years are concerned, they are all students of
Class VI to Class X and are children of employees of TISCO and one of the
children was employed in the Company in the said case having regard to the
fact the contribution of the deceased child was taken Rs.12,000/- p.a.
appears to be on the lower side and held that the contribution of such
children should be Rs.24,000/- p.a. In our considered view, the aforesaid
legal principle laid down in Lata Wadhwa’s case with all fours is
applicable to the facts and circumstances of the case in hand having
regard to the fact that the deceased was 10 years’ old, who was assisting
the appellants in their agricultural occupation which is an undisputed
fact. We have also considered the fact that the rupee value has come down
drastically from the year 1994, when the notional income of the non-
earning member prior to the date of accident was fixed at Rs.15,000/-.
Further, the deceased boy, had he been alive would have certainly
contributed substantially to the family of the appellants by working hard.
In view of the aforesaid reasons, it would be just and reasonable for us
to take his notional income at Rs.30,000/- and further taking the young
age of the parents, namely the mother who was about 36 years old, at the
time of accident, by applying the legal principles laid down in the case
of Sarla Verma v. Delhi Transport Corporation[3], the multiplier of 15 can
be applied to the multiplicand. Thus, 30,000 x 15 = 4,50,000 and 50,000/-
under conventional heads towards loss of love and affection, funeral
expenses, last rites as held in Kerala SRTC v. Susamma Thomas[4], which is
referred to in Lata Wadhwa’s case and the said amount under the
conventional heads is awarded even in relation to the death of children
between 10 to 15 years old. In this case also we award Rs.50,000/- under
conventional heads. In our view, for the aforesaid reasons the said amount
would be fair, just and reasonable compensation to be awarded in favour of
the appellants. The said amount will carry interest at the rate of 9%
p.a. by applying the law laid down in the case of Municipal Council of
Delhi v. Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy[5], for the reason that
the Insurance Company has been contesting the claim of the appellants from
1992-2013 without settling their legitimate claim for nearly about 21
years, if the Insurance Company had awarded and paid just and reasonable
compensation to the appellants the same could have been either invested or
kept in the fixed deposit, then the amount could have earned five times
more than what is awarded today in this appeal. Therefore, awarding 9%
interest on the compensation awarded in favour of the appellants is
legally justified.
19. Accordingly, we pass the following order:
I) The appeal is allowed and the impugned judgments and awards of
both the Tribunal and High Court are set aside.
II) The awarded amount of Rs.5,00,000/- with interest at the rate
of 9% per annum should be paid to the appellants from the date of
filing of the application till the date of payment.
III) We direct the Insurance Company to issue the demand draft
drawn on any Nationalized Bank by apportioning the compensation
amount equally with proportionate interest and send it to the
appellants within six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of
this judgment.
……………………………………..J.
[G.S. SINGHVI]
……………….J
[V. GOPALA GOWDA]
New Delhi,
August 26, 2013.
———————–
[1] (2004) 2 SCC 1
[2] (2001) 8 SCC 197
[3] (2009) 6 SCC 121
[4] (1994) 2 SCC 176
[5] (2011) 14 SCC 481

———————–
33 –

 

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