The family of former Maharashtra minister Shrikant Jichkar, who was killed in a road accident in 2004, has been awarded a compensation of Rs 50.67 lakh by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Nagpur.
The family had claimed a compensation of Rs 25.82 crore, citing irreparable loss of a versatile personality whose life came to an abrupt end due to rash and negligent driving of a MSRTC bus driver on June 2 that year.
The Tribunal ordered MSRTC to pay the compensation and absolved the insurance company from paying any sum since the car belonged to Jichkar himself.
The family of Jichkar's lecturer friend Shriram Dhawad, who also died in the accident, would get Rs 21.60 lakh as compensation. About 70 % of this amount (Rs 15.12 lakh) would be given by MSRTC while the remaining 30 % (Rs 6.48 lakh) would have to be shelled out by Jichkar's family.
Since the car belonged to them (Jichkars), their driver was also held guilty of contributory negligence.
Principal District and Sessions Judge Subhash Mohod in a recent judgement, while partly allowing the claims petition filed by Jichkar's family and heirs of Dhawad, scaled down the compensation on the basis of annual income returns, their earning potential and by applying the time-tested formula of awarding damages to family members of the deceased persons.
Jichkar was returning home from his Kondhali farm with Dhawad when a rashly driven ST bus dashed against his luxury car near Wad Dhamna on busy Nagpur-Amravati National Highway.
Both of them suffered multiple wounds and were rushed to a private hospital where they succumbed to injuries within hours.
The widow, two sons and parents of Dhawad filed a claim petition against MSRTC, car owner and insurance company and sought Rs 40 lakh as compensation with 18 % interest from the date of accident till realisation.
While Jichkar's widow Rajashree, minor daughter, minor son and mother filed a claim petition against MSRTC, bus driver, car driver and insurer demanding Rs 25.82 crore, alleging negligence by the bus driver.
MSRTC denied any liability and blamed car driver Rishiram Sharma, who miraculously survived, for rash and negligent driving and said he went to the extreme left side of the bus and dashed into it.
Rajashree Jichkar, who was impleaded as respondent by Dhawad family, resisted the claim petition for not impleading the driver of the bus. The insurance company also opposed the claim, passing the blame on MSRTC.
Also, the bus driver, who was projected as the main culprit, did not appear in the matter.
The insurance company claimed that the agricultural income of deceased Jichkar cannot be considered for calculating amount of compensation and as per provisions of law, only supervising charges are required to be considered for computing amount of compensation.
The Tribunal also noted different versions of same accident and found that both the MSRTC bus driver and car driver were responsible. Based on evidence, spot 'panchanama' (physical verification) it attributed 70% blame on ST bus driver while 30% on to car driver.