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Nadeem Qureshi (Advocate/     11 November 2011

Sc judgement related to mact+


                           CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                            CIVIL APPEAL No. 9013 OF  2011

                      (Arising out of  S.L.P. (C)  No. 8983 of  2010)



Sanjay Batham                                                           .......Appellant


Munnalal Parihar and others                                             .......Respondents



                                        J U D G M E N T



G. S. Singhvi, J.



1.      Leave granted.

2.      Feeling dissatisfied  with the enhancement granted by the Madhya Pradesh

High Court in the amount of compensation awarded to him by 8th Motor Accident

Claims   Tribunal,   Gwalior   (for   short,   `the   Tribunal'),   the   appellant   has   filed   this




3.    The appellant, who sustained grievous injuries on the head, right shoulder,

back bone and other parts of the body in an accident which occurred on 9.5.1996,

filed a petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (for short, `the

Act') for award of compensation of  Rs. 4,20,000/- with interest.   The claim of the 

appellant was founded on the following assertions:


              (i)      That   the   accident   occurred  when   the   scooter   on

      which   he   was   travelling   along   with   his   friend   Sunil   was   hit   by

      truck   No.   MKH-7787   near   Sikaria   Workshop   at   AB   Road,



              (ii)     That   the   accident   was   caused   due   to   rash   and

      negligent   driving   of   the   truck   by   respondent   No.   1-Munnalal



              (iii)    That   he   was   rushed   to  Madhav   Dispensary   from

      where   he   was   shifted   to   J.A.H.   Hospital.     He   was   operated   for

      fracture on his head, broken piece of the bone was removed and

      22 stitches were given on his head.


              (iv)     That due to injury on the head, left part of his body

      was paralyzed and he was not able to do the work which he was

      doing prior to accident.


              (v)      That   the   prospects   of   his   marriage   had   been

      considerably reduced and he will not be able to lead normal life.




4.      The owner and the driver of the truck did not contest the claim petition.  In

the reply filed on behalf of respondent No. 3-the National Insurance Co. Ltd., all

possible objections were raised and it was pleaded that the accident was not caused

due to rash and negligent driving of the truck and, in any case, the insurer was not 

liable   to   pay   compensation   because   the   driver   of   the   truck   did   not   have   a   valid

driving licence.



5.      After   considering   the   pleadings   and   evidence   of   the   parties,   the   Tribunal

held that the accident was caused due to rash and negligent driving of the truck by 

respondent No. 1.  The Tribunal then considered the evidence of Dr. N. D. Vayas,

Head of Neurosurgery Department of J.A.H. Hospital and the disability certificate

Ex. P-20, which revealed that the appellant had suffered 45% temporary disability

in his left hand and proceeded to award compensation under the following heads:

          1.         Loss of earning                             Rs. 5,000/-       

          2.         Medical expenses                                  Rs.10,000/-

          3.         Pain and suffering                                  Rs.5,000/-

          4          Special diet                                           Rs.5,000/-


The Tribunal also awarded interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of

filing the claim petition till realisation.



6.      On an appeal filed  by the appellant, the learned Single Judge of the High

Court   re-appreciated   the   evidence   produced   by   the   parties   and   determined   the

amount   of   compensation   by   taking   the   appellant's   income   to   be   Rs.   1500/-   per

month.     He   assessed   the   disability   of   appellant   to   be   50%   and   held   that   loss   of

earning   would   be   Rs.   750/-   per   month.     The   learned   Single   Judge   applied   the

multiplier   of   16   and   concluded   that   the   appellant   was   entitled   to   a   sum   of   Rs.

1,44,000/- in lieu of the loss of earning.   The learned Single Judge also awarded

Rs.   50,000/-   for   treatment   and   Rs.   56,000/-   for   pain   and   suffering   and   loss   of

marriage prospects.  However, the rate of interest was reduced from 9% to 7% per




7.      We   have   heard   learned   counsel   for   the   parties   and   carefully   perused   the

record.     In   last   two   decades,   this   Court   has   decided   large   number   of   cases 

involving claim of compensation by the victims of accidents and/or their families.

It will be useful to notice some of the judgments in which  general principles have 

been laid down for the guidance of the Tribunals and the Courts. 



8.        In  R. D. Hattangadi v. Pest Control (India) Private Limited  (1995) 1 SCC

551, this Court while  dealing with a case involving claim of compensation under

the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, referred to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in 



Ward   v.   James (1965) 1 All ER 563, Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th  Edition,

Volume 12 (page 446) and observed:


       "Broadly speaking while fixing an amount  of compensation  payable

       to a victim of an accident, the damages have to be assessed separately 

       as   pecuniary   damages   and   special   damages.   Pecuniary   damages   are

       those which the victim has actually incurred and which are capable of

       being calculated in terms of money; whereas non-pecuniary damages

       are   those   which   are   incapable   of   being   assessed   by   arithmetical

       calculations.  In order to appreciate two concepts pecuniary damages

       may   include   expenses   incurred   by   the   claimant:   (i)   medical

       attendance;   (ii)  loss   of   earning   of  profit   up   to   the   date   of  trial;   (iii)

       other material loss. So far non-pecuniary damages are concerned, they

       may   include   (i)   damages   for   mental   and   physical   shock,   pain   and

       suffering,   already   suffered   or   likely   to   be   suffered   in   future;   (ii)

       damages   to   compensate   for   the   loss   of   amenities   of  life   which   may 

       include a variety of matters i.e. on account of injury the claimant may 

       not be able to walk, run or sit; (iii) damages for the loss of expectation

       of life, i.e., on account of injury the normal  longevity of the person

       concerned   is   shortened;   (iv)   inconvenience,   hardship,   discomfort,

       disappointment, frustration and mental stress in life."

       In the same case, the Court further observed:


       "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. But all the

       aforesaid elements have to be viewed with objective standards."


9.     In Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences v.  Prasanth S. Dhananka (2009) 6

SCC   1,     the   three-Judge   Bench   was   dealing   with   a   case   arising   out   of   the 

complaint filed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.   While enhancing the

compensation awarded by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission



from Rs.15 lakhs to Rs.1 crore, the Bench made the following observations which

can appropriately be applied for deciding the petitions filed under Section 166 of

the Act:

       "At the same time we often find that a person injured in an accident

       leaves   his   family   in   greater   distress   vis-`-vis   a   family   in   a   case   of

       death.   In   the   latter   case,   the   initial   shock   gives   way   to   a   feeling   of

       resignation and acceptance, and in time, compels the family to move

       on.   The   case   of   an   injured   and   disabled   person   is,   however,   more

       pitiable   and   the   feeling   of   hurt,   helplessness,   despair   and   often

       destitution enures every day. The support that is needed by a severely

       handicapped  person  comes  at  an  enormous  price,  physical,  financial

       and emotional, not only on the victim but even more so on his family

       and   attendants   and   the   stress   saps   their   energy   and   destroys   their


                                                                           (emphasis supplied)


10.    In  Reshma   Kumari   v.     Madan   Mohan  (2009)   13   SCC   422,   this   Court

reiterated   that   the   compensation   awarded   under   the   Act   should   be   just   and   also

identified the factors which should be kept in mind while determining the amount

of compensation.  The relevant portions of the judgment are extracted below:

       "The compensation which is required to be determined must be just.

       While   the   claimants   are   required   to   be   compensated   for   the   loss   of

       their dependency, the same should not be considered to be a windfall.

       Unjust enrichment should be discouraged. This Court cannot also lose

       sight of the fact that in given cases, as for example death of the only 

       son to a mother, she can never be compensated in monetary terms.


       The   question   as   to   the   methodology   required   to   be   applied   for

       determination  of  compensation   as  regards prospective  loss  of  future

       earnings,   however,   as   far   as   possible   should   be   based   on   certain

       principles. A person may have a bright future prospect; he might have

       become   eligible   to   promotion   immediately;   there   might   have   been



        chances   of   an   immediate   pay   revision,   whereas   in   another   (sic

        situation) the nature of employment was such that he might not have

        continued  in  service;   his chance   of promotion,   having  regard  to  the

        nature   of   employment   may   be   distant   or   remote.   It   is,   therefore,

        difficult for any court to lay down rigid tests which should be applied

        in all situations. There are divergent views. In some cases it has been

        suggested   that   some   sort   of   hypotheses   or   guess   work   may   be

        inevitable. That may be so.


        In   the   Indian   context   several   other   factors   should   be   taken   into

        consideration including education of the dependants and the nature of

        job. In the wake of changed societal conditions and global scenario,

        future   prospects   may   have   to   be   taken   into   consideration   not   only

        having   regard   to   the   status   of   the   employee,   his   educational

        qualification;   his   past   performance   but   also   other   relevant   factors,

        namely, the higher salaries and perks which are being offered by the

        private   companies   these   days.   In   fact   while   determining   the

          ultiplicand   this   Court   in   O
                                              riental   Insurance   Co.   Ltd.    v.   Jas

        held that even dearness allowance and perks with regard thereto from

        which the family would have derived monthly benefit, must be taken

        into consideration.


        One   of   the   incidental   issues   which   has   also   to   be   taken   into

        consideration   is   inflation.   Is   the   practice   of   taking   inflation   into

        consideration   wholly   incorrect?   Unfortunately,   unlike   other

        developed countries in India there has been no scientific study. It is

        expected that with the rising inflation the rate of interest would go up.

        In   India   it   does   not   happen.   It,   therefore,   may   be   a   relevant   factor

        which   may   be   taken   into   consideration   for   determining   the   actual

        ground   reality.   No   hard-and-fast   rule,   however,   can   be   laid   down


                                                                         (emphasis supplied)



11.     In Arvind Kumar Mishra v.  New India Assurance Company Limited (2010)

10   SCC   254,   the   Court   considered   the   plea   for   enhancement   of   compensation

made   by   the   appellant,   who   was   a   student   of   final   year   of   engineering   and   had 



suffered 70% disability in a motor accident.   After noticing factual matrix of the

case, the Court observed:


         "We do not intend to review in detail state of authorities in relation

         to  assessment   of  all damages  for personal  injury.  Suffice   it to say 

         that   the   basis   of   assessment   of   all   damages   for   personal   injury   is

         compensation.  The   whole   idea   is   to   put   the   claimant   in   the   same

         position   as  he   was   insofar   as   money   can.   Perfect   compensation   is

         hardly possible but one has to keep in mind that the victim has done

         no   wrong;   he   has   suffered   at   the   hands   of   the   wrongdoer   and   the

         court must take care to give him full and fair compensation for that

         he had suffered."

                                                                       (emphasis supplied)



12.    Recently, a two Judge Bench of this Court again considered the matter  in

detail in Raj Kumar  vs.  Ajay Kumar (2011) 1 SCC 343 and held :


       "The provision of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 ("the Act", for short)

       makes   it   clear   that   the   award   must   be   just,   which   means   that

       compensation   should,   to   the   extent   possible,   fully   and   adequately

       restore the claimant to the position prior to the accident. The object of

       awarding   damages   is   to   make   good   the   loss   suffered   as   a   result   of

       wrong   done   as   far   as   money   can   do   so,   in   a   fair,   reasonable   and

       equitable manner. The court or the Tribunal shall have to assess the

       damages objectively and exclude from consideration any speculation

       or   fancy,   though   some   conjecture   with   reference   to   the   nature   of

       disability and its consequences, is inevitable. A person is not only to

       be compensated for the physical injury, but also for the loss which he

       suffered   as   a   result   of   such   injury.   This   means   that   he   is   to   be

       compensated for his inability to lead a full life, his inability to enjoy

       those   normal   amenities   which   he   would   have   enjoyed   but   for   the

       injuries, and his inability to earn as much as he used to earn or could

       have   earned.   [See  C.K.   Subramania   Iyer  v.  T.   Kunhikuttan   Nair



(1969)   3   SCC   64,  R.D.   Hattangadi  v.  Pest   Control   (India)   (P)   Ltd. 

(1995) 1 SCC 551 and Baker v. Willoughby 1970 AC 467.]


The   heads   under   which   compensation   is  awarded   in   personal   injury

cases are the following:

Pecuniary damages (Special damages)

(i)   Expenses   relating   to   treatment,   hospitalisation,   medicines,

transportation, nourishing food, and miscellaneous expenditure.

(ii) Loss of earnings (and other gains) which the injured would have

made had he not been injured, comprising:

(a) Loss of earning during the period of treatment;

(b) Loss of future earnings on account of permanent disability.

(iii) Future medical expenses.

Non-pecuniary damages (General damages)

(iv) Damages for pain, suffering and trauma as a consequence of the


(v) Loss of amenities (and/or loss of prospects of marriage).

(vi) Loss of expectation of life (shortening of normal longevity).

In routine personal injury cases, compensation will be awarded only

under heads (i), (ii)(a) and (iv). It is only in serious cases of injury,

where there is specific medical evidence corroborating the evidence of

the claimant, that compensation will be granted under any of the heads

(ii)(b), (iii), (v) and (vi) relating to loss of future earnings on account

of   permanent   disability,   future   medical   expenses,   loss   of   amenities

(and/or loss of prospects of marriage) and loss of expectation of life.

Assessment of pecuniary damages under Item (i) and under Item (ii)

(a)   do   not   pose   much   difficulty   as   they   involve   reimbursement   of

actuals and are easily ascertainable from the evidence. Award under

the   head   of   future   medical   expenses--Item   (iii)--depends   upon

specific   medical   evidence   regarding   need   for   further   treatment   and

cost   thereof.   Assessment   of   non-pecuniary   damages--Items   (iv),   (v)

and (vi)--involves determination of lump sum amounts with reference

to   circumstances   such   as   age,   nature   of   injury/deprivation/disability

suffered by the claimant and the effect thereof on the future life of the

claimant.   Decisions   of   this   Court   and   the   High   Courts   contain



necessary guidelines for award under these heads, if necessary. What

usually  poses some  difficulty  is the assessment  of the loss of future

earnings   on   account   of   permanent   disability--Item   (ii)(a).   We   are

concerned with that assessment in this case.



Assessment of future loss of earnings due to permanent disability

Disability   refers   to   any   restriction   or   lack   of   ability   to   perform   an

activity   in   the   manner   considered   normal   for   a   human   being.

Permanent disability refers to the residuary incapacity or loss of use of

some   part   of   the   body,   found   existing   at   the   end   of   the   period   of

treatment   and   recuperation,   after   achieving   the   maximum   bodily

improvement or recovery which is likely to remain for the remainder

life of the injured. Temporary disability refers to the incapacity or loss

of use of some part of the body on account of the injury, which will

cease to exist at the end of the period of treatment and recuperation.

Permanent  disability  can  be either partial or total. Partial permanent

disability   refers   to   a   person's   inability   to   perform   all   the   duties   and

bodily functions that he could perform before the accident, though he

is able to perform some  of them and is still able to engage in some 

gainful   activity.   Total   permanent   disability   refers   to   a   person's

inability to perform any avocation or employment related activities as

a result of the accident. The permanent disabilities that may arise from

motor accident injuries, are of a much wider range when compared to

the   physical   disabilities   which   are   enumerated   in   the   Persons   with

Disabilities   (Equal   Opportunities,   Protection   of   Rights   and   Full

Participation) Act, 1995 ("the Disabilities Act", for short). But if any

of   the   disabilities   enumerated   in   Section   2(i)   of  the   Disabilities  Act

are   the   result   of   injuries   sustained   in   a   motor   accident,   they   can   be

permanent disabilities for the purpose of claiming compensation.


  The  percentage  of  permanent  disability  is  expressed   by  the  doctors

with   reference   to   the   whole   body,   or   more   often   than   not,   with

reference to a particular limb. When a disability certificate states that

the injured has suffered permanent disability to an extent of 45% of

the   left   lower   limb,   it   is   not   the   same   as   45%   permanent   disability

with reference to the whole body. The extent of disability of a limb (or

part   of   the   body)   expressed   in   terms   of   a   percentage   of   the   total

functions of that limb, obviously cannot be assumed to be the extent



of disability of the whole body. If there is 60% permanent disability of

the   right   hand  and   80%  permanent   disability   of  left   leg,  it  does   not

mean   that   the   extent   of   permanent   disability   with   reference   to   the

whole body is 140% (that is 80% plus 60%). If different parts of the

body have suffered different percentages of disabilities, the sum total

thereof expressed in terms of the permanent disability with reference

to the whole body cannot obviously exceed 100%.


Where   the   claimant   suffers   a   permanent   disability   as   a   result   of

injuries,   the   assessment   of   compensation   under   the   head   of   loss   of

future   earnings   would   depend   upon   the   effect   and   impact   of   such

permanent disability on his earning capacity. The Tribunal should not

mechanically   apply   the   percentage   of   permanent   disability   as   the

percentage of economic loss or loss of earning capacity. In most of the

cases, the percentage of economic loss, that is, the percentage of loss

of   earning   capacity,   arising   from   a   permanent   disability   will   be

different from the percentage of permanent disability. Some Tribunals

wrongly  assume  that  in all  cases,   a particular extent  (percentage)  of

permanent disability would result in a corresponding loss of earning

capacity, and consequently, if the evidence produced show 45% as the

permanent disability, will hold that there is 45% loss of future earning

capacity. In most of the cases, equating the extent (percentage) of loss

of earning capacity to the extent (percentage) of permanent disability

will result in award of either too low or too high a compensation.


What   requires   to   be   assessed   by   the   Tribunal   is   the   effect   of   the

permanent disability on the earning capacity of the injured; and after

assessing the loss of earning capacity in terms of a percentage of the

income,   it   has   to   be   quantified   in   terms   of   money,   to   arrive   at   the

future   loss   of   earnings   (by   applying   the   standard   multiplier   method

used to determine loss of dependency). We may however note that in

some cases, on appreciation of evidence and assessment, the Tribunal

may find that the percentage of loss of earning capacity as a result of

the permanent disability, is approximately the same as the percentage

of   permanent   disability   in   which   case,   of   course,   the   Tribunal   will

adopt the said percentage for determination of compensation."



13.     In the light of the above, we shall now consider whether the compensation

awarded  by  the   High  Court  is  just  and  reasonable  or  the  appellant  is entitled  to 

higher compensation. 


14.     It  is  not   in  dispute   that   at  the   time   of  accident,   the   appellant   was  earning

Rs.50/- per day by doing the work as an unskilled labourer with Raj Gas Agency.

It is also not in dispute that as a result of accident, the appellant suffered injuries 

on different parts of body including the head and after operation left portion of his 

body, i.e. left hand and left leg got paralyzed and as a result of that he will not be

in   a   position   to   do   the   work   which   he   was   doing   before   the   accident.     In   his 

deposition, Dr. N.D. Vayas, Head of Neurosurgery Department, J.A.H. Hospital,

who treated the appellant before and after the operation, stated that left portion of

the   appellant's   body   was   paralyzed   but   after   treatment   there   was   slight

improvement   in   his   condition.     Dr.   Vayas   then   gave   out   that   the   appellant   will

require   further   treatment   for   paralysis.     The   learned   Single   Judge,   who   had   the

occasion to see the appellant in the Court, found that he was not in a position to 

move his left hand and left leg.  He assessed the disability to be 50% and enhanced

the compensation awarded by the Tribunal.   However, he committed an error by

applying the multiplier of 16 ignoring that at the time of accident, the appellant's

age was only 20 years.  In Sarla Verma  v.  Delhi Transport Corporation (2009) 6



SCC   121,   this   Court   has   considered   several   issues   including   the   application   of

correct multiplier and held :


         "We   therefore   hold   that   the   multiplier   to   be   used   should   be   as

       mentioned   in   Column   (4)   of   the   table   above   (prepared   by   applying

       Susamma Thomas, Trilok Chandra and Charlie), which starts with an

       operative multiplier of 18 (for the age groups of 15 to 20 and 21 to 25

       years), reduced by one unit for every five years, that is M-17 for 26 to 

       30 years, M-16 for 31 to 35 years, M-15 for 36 to 40 years, M-14 for 

       41 to 45 years, and M-13 for 46 to 50 years, then reduced by two units

       for every five years, that is, M-11 for 51 to 55 years, M-9 for 56 to 60 

       years, M-7 for 61 to 65 years and M-5 for 66 to 70 years."


In view of the above noted judgment, we hold that multiplier of 18 deserves to be

applied for the purpose of determining the compensation payable to the appellant

in lieu of the loss of earning.  Thus, under this head the appellant will be entitled to

a sum of Rs.1,62,000/- .



15.    Although, the appellant had suffered temporary disablement, the evidence of

the  doctor shows  that he  will require  treatment  in  future.    The  Tribunal  and the

High Court have not awarded any compensation for future treatment, which would

necessarily   include   doctor's   fee,   cost   of   medicine,   transportation,   diet,   etc.

Keeping  in  view  the  high  cost  of  living, we  feel  that  ends  of  justice  will 

be served by awarding a lump sum amount of Rs. 2 lacs for future treatment.



16.     The award made by the High Court for pain, suffering and trauma and   in

lieu of loss of the prospects of marriage is wholly inadequate.  The appellant, who

suffered paralysis on left part of the body will neither be able to work as a labourer

nor  he will be able to lead a normal life.   His marriage prospects are also bleak.

A   normal   girl   will,   in   all   probability,   not   like   to   marry   a   disabled   person.

Therefore,   it   is   apposite   to   award   reasonable   and   just   compensation   to   the

appellant   for   pain,   suffering   and   trauma   caused   due   to   the   accident   and   loss   of

amenities and enjoyment of life which, in our view, should be Rs.2 lacs.



17.     It is true that in the petition filed by him under Section 166 of the Act, the

appellant   had   claimed   compensation   of   Rs.   4,20,000/-   only,   but   as   held   in

Nagappa  vs.  Gurudayal Singh (2003) 2 SCC 274, in the absence of any bar in the

Act,   the   Tribunal   and   for   that   reason   any   competent   Court   is   entitled   to   award

higher compensation to the victim of an accident.



18.     In the result, the appeal is allowed.  The impugned judgment is modified and

it   is   declared   that   the   appellant   shall   be   entitled   to   total   compensation   of

Rs.5,62,000/-.  He shall also be entitled to interest @ 9% per annum from the date

of filing the claim petition till realization.  Respondent No.3 is directed to pay the

enhanced amount  of compensation  to the appellant with interest @ 9% within a



period of three months from today in the form of a Demand Draft prepared in his




                                          (G. S. Singhvi)




                                          (Asok Kumar Ganguly)

New Delhi,

November 01, 2011.


 5 Replies

himanshu harbola (Comp. Sec.)     11 November 2011

sarla verma remains the leading judgement.............for MACT......

chetan ( LL.B)     13 November 2011

In view this is Non-reoratble judgement

Am i right.

chetan ( LL.B)     13 November 2011

In my view this is Non-Reportable Judgement.

Am I right

sekar (retd)     04 April 2012

Even at Rs50 per day for 180 days on;ly ina year for 40 years would be 44 lakhs.Add the spend on medicines,pain,deprivation,inconvenience to others in the family,legal expenses,loans taken for treatment,interest thereon, inflation, etc., =rs 44 lakhs .The SC judgement is very conservative and is in fact adding insult to injury. = 88lakhs

The case has stumbled along for 15 years and it may take another 3 months if payments are made on time.

There has to be a co-relation/connection between the nature of accident and the driver's standing in society.The truck owner may have prospered many times over.

I know of a friend of mine who suffered a road accident on Dassera Day in 2001. The case is still in the Road accidents tribunal, mumbai.He is paralysed neck down and has hardly 5% movement of limbs(hands and legs). he has to be fed and urine collected in a bag,cleaned after stools, and all that.The tribunal shows no signs of quickening up the process.Going to the tribunal is a real punishment.

TheGovt  insurance co. is raising silly objections and this has become regular  with ins companies. now in what way does a licenced driver prevent accidents? this is just a ploy to get compensation reduced .

can we not speed up these cases? The driver strolls around the locality in full freedom and causes further pain to us. At least these drivers should be tadipaar ffrom the locality.


sekar (retd)     04 April 2012

what a ridiculous argument by the judge that 50% disability means wages get reduced by 50%.Can anyone beat that?

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