Compensation for death in accident with motor vehicle:
Death of victim aged 29 years.
The case of the claimants rested on the premise that the deceased was likely to be made permanent in which event, he would be entitled to a higher salary. PW 3, who was the Secretary of the Trust, deposed that though the strength of the students had increased, and the workload had increased, persons such as the deceased continued in service on a contract basis for want of sanction from the government for the post. The High Court observed that the evidence of PW 3 was that if the government were to sanction the post, considering the seniority and experience of the deceased, the Trust would have appointed him as a permanent teacher in which event his salary, according to the scales of the 6th Pay Commission, would have been Rs 40,000 per month. The finding was that the deceased at the relevant time was 29 years of age; that he had completed his B.Ed. from the University of Mumbai and was an Assistant Teacher employed on a temporary/contract basis for teaching English from 2001 to 2006. The High Court adverted to the provisions contained in the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1977. In this background, the High Court arrived at the finding that if the deceased were to be alive, he would have been regularized and would have drawn a salary of Rs 40,000/- per month.
The High Court held that an addition of 50 per cent on account of future prospects ought to have been made. However, the High Court held that the Tribunal erred in applying a multiplier of 17. Having regard to the fact that the father of the deceased was 65 years old in 2006 and his mother was 50 years old, the High Court came to the conclusion that a multiplier of 7 should be adopted, taking the average age of the parents as 61 years. The High Court held that since the deceased was a bachelor, a deduction of 50 per cent should be made on account of personal expenses. On the above basis, the High Court computed the yearly income of the deceased at Rs 4,80,000; enhanced the income by 50% on the ground of future prospects to Rs 7,20,000, deducted a sum of Rs 3,60,000 towards personal expenses and on the basis of a multiplier of 7 arrived at a total compensation of Rs 25,20,000. The amount payable to each of the two claimants for loss of love and affection was enhanced to Rs 50,000 and funeral expenses of Rs 25,000 were allowed. The High Court has, accordingly, awarded a total compensation of Rs 26,45,000 together with interest @ 9% p.a. 6 The principal ground which has been urged in support of the appeal is that the High Court erred in applying a multiplier of 7. Since the age of the deceased at the time of the accident was 29 years, it was urged that the correct multiplier to be applied would be 17.
Conclusion of Supreme Court:
The correct multiplier to be applied in the present case would be 17 having regard to the age of the deceased. As regards future prospects, an addition of 50 per cent would be warranted. On the above basis and making a deduction of 50 per cent towards personal expenses (the deceased being a bachelor), the total compensation would stand quantified at Rs 61,20,000/-. After making an addition on account of conventional heads, the total compensation would stand computed at Rs 61,90,000/-. The aforesaid amount shall carry interest @ 9% p.a. from the date of the filing of the claim petition. Apportionment shall be carried out in terms of the award of the Tribunal.
[Source: Ramrao Lala Borse vs New India Assurance Company Ltd. on 19 January, 2018]
See also: National Insurance Company Limited v Pranay Sethi, (2017) 13 SCALE 12 and Sarla Verma v Delhi Transport Corporation, (2009) 6 SCC 121.