Compensation of 100 percent disability

Compensation for paraplegic victim:

Finding of High Court:

The High Court held that in the first information report which was registered on the date of the accident on the basis of the statement of the appellant, it was stated that the appellant was sitting on the mud-guard next to the driver of the tractor. Subsequently on 30 September 2005 another statement was recorded by the police in which the appellant stated that the accident had taken place as a result of the rash and negligent act of the tractor driver, due to which the tractor had turned turtle and fallen over the appellant. In the view of the High Court, the police had attempted to protect the liability of the owner and had recorded a further statement to support the plea that the appellant was a third party and that the tractor had fallen upon him. The High Court has also doubted as to how the police could have recorded the statement of the appellant on 30 September 2005 when he was shifted to M S Ramayya Hospital in Bangalore.

FIR at variance with ocular evidence:

The High Court has proceeded to reverse the finding of the Tribunal purely on the basis that the FIR which was lodged on the complaint of the appellant contained a version which was at variance with the evidence which emerged before the Tribunal. The Tribunal had noted the admission of RW1 in the course of his cross-examination that the insurer had maintained a separate file in respect of the accident. The insurer did not produce either the file or the report of the investigator in the case. Moreover, no independent witness was produced by the insurer to displace the version of the incident as deposed to by the appellant and by PW 3. The cogent analysis of the evidence by the Tribunal has been displaced by the High Court without considering material aspects of the evidence on the record. The High Court was not justified in holding that the Tribunal had arrived at a finding of fact without applying its mind to the documents produced by the claimant or that it had casually entered a finding of fact. On the contrary, we find that the reversal of the finding by the High Court was without considering the material aspects of the evidence which justifiably weighed with the Tribunal.

We are, therefore, of the view that the finding of the High Court is manifestly erroneous and that the finding of fact by the Tribunal was correct.

Conclusion:

The medical evidence on the record shows that the lower limbs of the appellant have been paralyzed resulting in a loss of bladder and bowel control. The medical evidence establishes that the disability of the appellant is one hundred per cent. The medical records have been scrutinized by the Tribunal. The appellant suffers from traumatic paraplegia and was hospitalized for 42 days. The appellant was 28 years of age when the accident took place on 24 September 2005. In our view, the monthly income of the appellant, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case should be taken at Rs.4,000/-. After allowing for future prospects and making a deduction for present expenses, the compensation payable to the appellant shall stand enhanced by an amount of Rs.1,50,000/- from Rs.5,75,000/- to Rs.7,75,000/-. The amount for future medical expenses which has been fixed at Rs.30,000/- should be enhanced to Rs.1,20,000/- having regard to the serious nature of the disability. In other words, the compensation of Rs.8,66,000/- awarded by the Tribunal shall be enhanced by an additional amount of Rs.2,70,000/-. The appellant shall be entitled to interest @7% p.a. from the date of the claim petition until realization. The insurer shall deposit the compensation or, as the case may be, the balance payable in terms of this judgment within a period of 12 weeks from today before the Tribunal which shall be released to the appellant upon due verification.

[Source: Halappa vs Malik Sab, decided by SC on 15 December, 2017]
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