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The parents of the deceased are always considered as dependent upon their children: High Court of Delhi

Even if the parents are not dependent on their children at the time of the accident, they will certainly be dependent, both financially and emotionally, upon their children at the later stage of their life, as the children were dependent upon their parents in their initial years. It would be unfair as well as inequitable to deny compensation for loss of dependency to a parent, who may not be dependent on his/her child at the time of accident per se but would become dependent at his/her later age. This was held in SUKHDEV PRASAD V. SUNIL KUMAR & ORS (IFFCO TOKIO GENERAL INSURANCE CO. LTD) [MAC.APP.1075/2018] in the High Court of Delhi by a single bench consisting of JUSTICE J.R. MIDHA.

The facts are that the accident had resulted in the death of Avdhesh Kumar son of the appellant. The deceased was aged 25 years at the time of the accident and was survived by his father who claimed compensation. The Claims Tribunal awarded 15% towards loss to the estate to the appellant on the ground that the father was not dependent upon the deceased.

The counsel for the appellant submitted that the appellant was dependent upon the deceased and entitled to loss of dependency according to principles laid down in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi.

The counsel for the respondent submitted that the compensation awarded by the Claims Tribunal was just, fair and reasonable.

The court made reference to the judgment of Apex Court in Indrawati v. Ranvir Singh, wherein it was held that “This Court is of the view that the parents of the deceased are considered in law as dependent on their children, considering that the children are bound to support their parents in their old age when the parents would be unable to maintain themselves and the law imposes a responsibility on the children to maintain their parents. Even if the parents are not dependent on their children at the time of the accident, they will certainly be dependent, both financially and emotionally, upon their children at the later stage of their life, as the children were dependent upon their parents in their initial years. It would therefore be unfair as well as inequitable to deny compensation for loss of dependency to a parent, who may not be dependent on his/her child at the time of accident per se but would become dependent at his/her later age”.

The court also made reference to the judgment of Apex court in  Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Nanu Ram., wherein it was held that “Filial consortium is the right of the parents to compensation in the case of an accidental death of a child. An accident leading to the death of a child causes great shock and agony to the parents and family of the deceased. The greatest agony for a parent is to lose their child during their lifetime. Children are valued for their love and affection, and their role in the family unit”.

Considering the facts of the case and the legal precedents, the court observed that, the parents of the deceased are always considered as dependent upon their children and are entitled to compensation. The court also directed that the compensation awarded by the Tribunal should be enhanced and that DSLSA after disbursement of the same should send a compliance report to the Court.

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