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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988: s.166 – Compensation – Future loss of earning – Claimant aged 50 years working as mason – In motor accident, suffered multiple fractures resulting in shortening of right leg by 3.5 cms – Tribunal assessed disability at 20% and awarded compensation of Rs.1.55 lacs – High Court enhanced compensation by Rs.34000 – On appeal, held: Appellant had suffered an irreversible damage to his right leg posing difficulties for him in carrying out his avocation as a mason – High Court while making observation that the Tribunal’s compensation under the heads “loss of amenities and enjoyment of life and loss of earnings during laid up period” was on the lower side, did not make its own assessment under these heads – These areas needed proper introspection and a more sensitive approach as the appellant represented weaker section of the community – Matter remitted to High Court for consideration afresh. The appellant aged 50 years was working as a mason. On the fateful day, while he was crossing the road, a motorcycle hit him resulting in bone fractures, head and other injuries all over the body. He was hospitalized for about 2 weeks and was under medical treatment for about 6 months after discharge from hospital. MACT awarded him a compensation of Rs.1.55 lacs. Dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation, appellant filed appeal before High Court. High Court enhanced the compensation only by Rs.34,000/-. Hence the appeal. =Allowing the appeal and remitting the matter to High Court, the Court HELD: 1.1. The High Court did no consider the appellant’s case properly. It accepted the Tribunal’s assessment of the body disability at 20% and observed that the Tribunal has paid compensation under the heads “loss of amenities and enjoyment of life and loss of earnings during laid up period” on the lower side. However, it awarded an additional compensation only for future medical expenditures and did not deal with the aspect of future loss of earnings at all, which was not a correct approach. The incapacity or disability to earn livelihood should be viewed not only in praesenti but in futuro on reasonable expectancies and taking into account deprival of earnings of a conceivable period. [Paras 9, 10] [662-c-f] Ramesh Chandra v. Randhir Singh and others (1990) 3 SCC 723, relied on. 1.2. As per the evidence of PW-2, the doctor who supervised the appellant’s injuries and administered treatment in the Hospital, it was proved that the appellant sustained compound fractures in the tibia and fibula bone of the right leg. He also suffered bruises and cuts on his face and some parts of the body. He was operated. Even after his discharge, he was advised follow up treatments and physiotherapy and also exercise for better movement of his leg. In his affidavit before the Tribunal, PW2 stated that the appellant’s right leg was shortened as a result of which he had to walk with a limp. The appellant was advised to use footwear with a raised sole and to continue with the exercises. The Tribunal noted that the shortening of the leg was by 3.5 cms. The Tribunal however, in accepting the disability of the appellant at 48%, refused to accept the assessment of the doctor that the future loss of earning would also be at 48%. It opined that construction work involves many people and the doctor was not right in concluding that due to the disability on the right leg, the appellant would not be able to do construction work. The future loss of earning was assessed at a much lesser 20%. Since there was no specific evidence regarding his income, the multiplier method was used for assessing the compensation. [Paras 11-14] [662-F-H; 663-A-C; 663-E-G] 1.3. Although the Tribunal concluded by holding that the assessment of future loss of earnings should be made only at 20%, the High Court, while making the observation that the Tribunal’s compensation under the heads “loss of amenities and enjoyment of life and loss of earnings during laid up period” was on the lower side, should have given reasons and made its own assessment under these heads, since High Court, as the first appellate authority, is an authority both on facts and law. The High Court’s orders starkly lacked in any details on assessment of compensation under these heads. These areas needed proper introspection and a more sensitive approach as the appellant being a mason and a workman represented the weaker section of the community. The appellant had suffered an irreversible damage to his right leg which would pose difficulties for him in carrying out his avocation as a mason. [Para 15] [663-G-H; 664-A-C] M/s. Concord of India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Smt. Nirmala Devi & others (1979) 4 SCC 365; Divisional Controller, KSRTC v. Mahadeva Shetty & another (2003) 7 SCC 197, relied on. 2. Long expectation of life is connected with earning capacity. If earning capacity is reduced, that impacts life expectancy as well. No amount of compensation can restore the physical frame of the appellant. Whenever any amount is determined as the compensation payable for any injury suffered during an accident, the object is to compensate such injury so far as money can compensate because it is not possible to equate the money with the human sufferings or personal deprivations. Money cannot renew a broken and shattered physical frame. In its very nature whenever a tribunal or a court is required to fix the amount of compensation in cases of accident, it involves some guesswork, some hypothetical consideration, some amount of sympathy linked with the nature of the disability caused. [Paras 17-19] [664-H; 665-B-C; 665-D-E] Case Law Reference: (1990) 3 SCC 723 relied on Para 10 (1979) 4 SCC 365 relied on Para 15 (2003) 7 SCC 197 relied on Para 16 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No. 4027 of 2010. From the Judgment & Order dated 20.7.2009 of the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in MFA No. 259 of 2008. V.N. Raghupathy for the Appellant. A.K. De, Rajesh Kumar, Udit Kumar, Debasis Misra for the Respondents.

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.4027 OF 2010 (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No.4649 of 2010) Sri B.T. Krishnappa ..Appellant(s) Versus The Divisional Manager, United ..Respondent(s) Insurance Company Ltd. and another J U D G M E N T GANGULY, J. 1.Leave granted 2.This Appeal impugns the order … Continue reading

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