Just compensation has to be determined based on the foundations of fairness, reasonableness and equitability on acceptable legal standards. It is a standard rule that dependents of the deceased are entitled for compensation under the conventional heads, namely loss of estate, loss of consortium and funeral expenses at Rs.15,000/-, 40,000/- and 15,000/- respectively. The aforesaid has been relied upon by the Delhi High Court in the case of M.A. Joseph And Ors. v. Director General of Police Trivandrum& Anr. [MACA NO. 283 OF 2009] which was decided by the single judge bench comprising Justice C.S. Dias on 23rd June 2021.
The facts of the case are as follows. The petitioners had filed the claim petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act,1988, claiming compensation on account of the death of Smt.Thresiamma (deceased)– the wife of the 1st appellant and the mother of the appellants 2 to 4. It is claimed that she was hit by the vehicle belonging to the respondent. She was taken to a nearby hospital and underwent treatment till 25.12.2004 when she breathed her last. The Tribunal, after analysing the pleadings and materials on record, by the impugned award allowed the claim petition, in part, by directing the 2nd respondent to pay a compensation of Rs.68,000/- with interest at the rate of 7% per annum from 20.9.2005 and costs of Rs.1,000/-. This amount of compensation has been challenged in the instant petition.
The main area of dispute with regard to the notional income of the deceased. Even though the appellants had claimed that the deceased was a homemaker and had a notional income of Rs.5,000/- month, the Tribunal fixed the notional income of the deceased at Rs.15,000/- per year, i.e., Rs.1,250/- per month. While adjudicating the matter, it was decided that it was only the husband who was a dependent on the deceased and no one else.
After a perusal of the facts available on record, the court considered the intricacies while arriving at a just compensation that should be awarded. Hence, the court stated that “In the result, the appeal is allowed, by enhancing the compensation by a further amount of Rs.1,54,000/- with interest at the rate of 7% per annum on the enhanced compensation from the date of petition till the date of deposit by the 2nd respondent with proportionate costs. The 2nd respondent shall deposit the enhanced compensation awarded in the appeal before the Tribunal with interest and proportionate costs within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the judgment. The disbursement of the enhanced compensation to the 1st appellant shall be done by the Tribunal in accordance with law”