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Age of parents to decide return in accident cases: SC

The age of the mother or father would be relevant for fixing the quantum of compensation in accident cases, rules SC, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 19:51 IST

Where parents are claimants in accident cases, the age of the mother or father would be relevant for fixing the quantum of compensation and not the age of the deceased son or daughter, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice LS Panta held that the multiplier to be adopted to determine the quantum of compensation would depend on the age of the claimant parents, besides certain usual factors like income of the deceased and loss of love and affection. The age of the deceased would not be relevant for this purpose, it said.

The court reduced to Rs five Lakh the Rs 12 lakh compensation awarded by Aizwal Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal to one Lalnipuii of Mizoram, whose 31-year-old daughter died in a road accident in July 1987 while travelling from Mumbai to Pune by a Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation bus.

The claim in question was filed by the mother of deceased, Zoremsangi who was a member of the Indian Information Service under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The father of the deceased was the Chief Secretary of Mizoram.

Apart from the Rs 12 lakh, the Tribunal had also ordered the Corporation to pay an interest at the rate of 15 per cent per annum on the amount from the date of judgment till realisation.

The Corporation challenged the order before the Guwahati High Court whose Aizwal Bench dismissed it for non-appearance on the date fixed and ultimately the matter came to the apex court.

The Supreme Court took note of the fact that there was no material to show that she was contributing to household expenses. On the contrary, she being the wife of the Chief Secretary by no stretch of imagination she could be treated as having any dependency on the income of the deceased, it said.

Holding that the Tribunal's assessment of the quantum of compensation was incorrect, it said a multiplier of 17 applied in the case was clearly on higher side.

Taking into account the claimant's age, income of the deceased and factors like loss of love, affection and mental shock, the apex court fixed a compensation of Rs five lakh with an interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent per annum from the date of claim till payment.

"It is fairly a settled position in law that while parents are the claimants, the age of the deceased is not relevant and it is the age of the claimants which would determine the multiplier to be adopted," the Bench observed.

The court directed the mother to refund within three months the amount paid in excess, if any, to the Corporation.

Emai Satya Prakashl:

First Published: Dec 20, 2006 19:51 IST