IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8 OF 2014
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.8569 of 2013]
SABERABIBI YAKUBBHAI SHAIKH
& ORS. …APPELLANTS
NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. LTD.
& ORS. …RESPONDENTS
1. Delay condoned.
2. Leave granted.
3. The appellants are the wife and the relatives of deceased
driver who died in a road accident. The deceased driver was
driving a truck bearing No. GJ-17-T-8607, which was owned by
Yunusbhai Gulambhai Shaikh, respondent No.2 herein. The
deceased was 36 years of age at the time of the accident. On
20th November, 1996, the appellants raised a claim of
compensation for a sum of Rs.2,15,280/- and 12% interest therein
from the date of accident by filing a claim application before
the Workmen Compensation Commissioner/Labour Court. After
passage of more than 16 years, the wife and children of the
deceased driver had still not received any compensation.
4. The appellants filed a compensation application before the
Workmen Compensation Commissioner/Labour Court on 20th November,
1996. The appellants made a claim of Rs.2,15,280/- and also
penalty to the tune of 50% of the compensation i.e. a sum of
Rs.1,07,640/-, thus, making the grand total of Rs.3,22,920/-.
Respondent No.1- the Insurance Company, contested the
compensation application. On 23th December, 2010, the learned
Commissioner awarded compensation on account of death in the sum
of Rs.2,13,570/- with 12% interest from the date of accident.
The learned Commissioner also awarded Rs.1,06,785/- as penalty.
5. Aggrieved and dissatisfied with the aforesaid judgment and
award passed by the learned Commissioner, the Insurance Company
filed First Appeal before the High Court.
6. By judgment and order, dated 24th January, 2012, the High
Court has partly allowed the First Appeal. The High Court
directed the respondent No.1 – Insurance Company to pay interest
on the amount of compensation from the date of
adjudication of claim application i.e. 23th December, 2010 and
not from one month after from the date of accident i.e. 21st
August, 1996. A further direction was issued that the excess
amount towards interest, if any, deposited by the respondent
No.1 – Insurance Company be refunded to it. The judgment and
order of the Commissioner for Workmen Compensation was modified
to that extent.
7. In coming to the aforesaid conclusion, the High Court
relied upon the judgment of this Court reported in Uttar Pradesh
State Road Transport Corporation now Uttarakhand Transport
Corporation versus Satnam Singh, (2011) 14 SCC 758, wherein it
has been held that the interest was payable under the Workmen
Compensation Act from the date of the Award and not from the
date of accident.
8. Aggrieved by the aforesaid judgment of the Hgh Court, the
appellants have filed the present appeal.
9. Learned counsel for the appellants has submitted that the
aforesaid judgment of the High Court is contrary to the law laid
down by this Court in the case of Oriental Insurance Company
Limited versus Siby George and others [(2012) 12 SCC 540].
10. We have perused the aforesaid judgment. We are of the
considered opinion that the aforesaid judgment relied upon by
the learned counsel for the appellants is fully applicable to
the facts and circumstances of this case. This Court considered
the earlier judgment relied upon by the High Court and observed
that the judgments in the case of National Insurance Co. Ltd. v.
Mubasir Ahmed [(2007) 2 SCC 349] and Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd.
v. Mohd. Nasir [(2009) 6 SCC 280] were per incuriam having been
rendered without considering the earlier decision in Pratap
Narain Singh Deo v. Srinivas Sabata [(1976) 1 SCC 289]. In the
aforesaid judgment, upon consideration of the entire matter, a
four-judge Bench of this Court had held that the compensation
has to be paid from the date of the accident.
11. Following the aforesaid judgments, this Court in Oriental
Insurance Company Limited versus Siby George and others (supra)
reiterated the legal position and held as follows:
“11. The Court then referred to a Full Bench decision
of the Kerala High Court in United India Insurance Co. Ltd.
v. Alavi and approved it insofar as it followed the
decision in Pratap Narain Singh Deo.
12. The decision in Pratap Narain Singh Deo was by a
four-judge Bench and in Valsala K. by a three-judge Bench
of this Court. Both the decisions were, thus, fully
binding on the Court in Mubasir Ahmed and Mohd. Nasir, each
of which was heard by two Judges. But the earlier
decisions in Pratap Narain Singh Deo and Valsala K. were
not brought to the notice of the Court in the two later
decisions in Mubasir Ahmed and Mohd. Nasir.
13. In the light of the decisions in Pratap Narain
Singh Deo and Valsala K., it is not open to contend that
the payment of compensation would fall due only after the
Commissioner’s order or with reference to the date on which
the claim application is made. The decisions in Mubasir
Ahmed and Mohd. Nasir insofar as they took a contrary view
to the earlier decisions in Pratap Narain Singh Deo and
Valsala K. do not express the correct view and do not make
12. In view of the aforesaid settled proposition of law, the
appeal is allowed and the judgment and order of the High Court
is set aside. The appellants shall be entitled to interest at
the rate of 12% from the date of the accident.
13. No cost.
(SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)
(FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA)
JANUARY 02, 2014