The Motor Vehicle Act does not lay down separate guidelines for the families of male and female children killed in road accidents to seek compensation, the Delhi High Court clarified while striking down an order of Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (MACT) that denied compensation to parents of a girl killed in an accident.
Coming down heavily on MACT presiding officer for listing the death of the girl in a category that is not entitled for compensation, justice Pratibha Rani said, “The observation made by the tribunal to deny claim to the parents of the deceased has shocked the judicial conscience of this court.”
The tribunal order had the “effect of rubbing salt on the wounds of the parents who have already lost their daughter in the prime of her youth,” added Justice Rani.
The high court order came on the plea of the girl’s parents seeking “just and reasonable compensation” for her death.
The parents had claimed that their daughter — who was 19-year-old and unmarried when she was crushed between two buses on September 30, 1999 — was a bright student. She was pursuing her under graduation from Delhi University and was also studying diploma course in elementary teacher education simultaneously, they had added.
However, the tribunal declined to give full compensation saying that had the girl not died in the accident, in due course of five-six years she would have got married and her income contribution would have gone to her in laws and not her parents.
In May, 2005, the tribunal had awarded a paltry sum of Rs 2 lakh under the category ‘emotional loss’ to the parents.
Observing that the deceased was financially supporting her parents by giving tuitions, the high court enhanced the compensation to Rs 3,86,640.