Interpretation of Motor Vehicles Act shall with an objective to give financial aid to the victims of motor vehicular accidents and not to block the compensation on non-sustainable grounds: High Court of J & K and Ladakh

Enactment of Motor Vehicles Act is welfare legislation with an objective to give financial aid to the victims of motor vehicular accidents and also to the dependants of the deceased persons. This legislation aids such victims or their dependants to lead a respectable life. Thus, the interpretation of various sections of Motor Vehicles Act shall be towards the fulfilment of these objectives and not to block the compensation on non-sustainable grounds as held by the Hon’ble High Court in the case through Justice Tashi Rabstan in the case of Adarsh Gupta and others Vs National Insurance Co. Ltd. and others.

Factual matrix of the case goes as that a young man, Dr. Abhinav Gupta Final Year MBBS student, lost his life in a tragic road accident in the prime of his youth when he was travelling in a vehicle which was being driven by respondent No. 2 herein in a rash and negligent manner. The driver lost control over the vehicle after which the vehicle collided with a Eucalyptus tree, as a result thereof deceased died on spot. Claimants filed a claim petition before the learned MACT, Rajouri for claiming compensation on account of death of the deceased. Being not satisfied with the awarded amount, claimants have filed this MA No.413/12 for enhancement of the award

The counsel for the appellants has mainly submitted this appeal on the grounds that the learned Tribunal has failed in its duty to award just and reasonable compensation and the act of the learned Tribunal in assessing income of the deceased at Rs.10000/- per month is too low and disproportionate to the qualification and keeping in view the profession of the deceased. Whereas, Mr. Sunil Malhotra, learned counsel appearing for the Insurance Company submitted that the award passed by the learned Tribunal is appropriate and in consonance with the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and, thus, needs no interference from this Court.

The Hon’ble court, after hearing both the parties, were of the opinion that appellants have force in their arguments that the learned Tribunal did not take the prospective income of the deceased in its right perspective, thus has failed in awarding just and fair compensation. The Tribunal was required to consider the career prospects of the deceased and the likely earning of deceased in future. The Hon’ble court relied on the judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of M.R. Krishna Murthi versus New India Assurance Co. Ltd and Ashvinbhai Jayantilal Modi versus Ramkaran Ramchandra Sharma while answering the question arised that what can be the appropriate income of the deceased to be taken for assessing just and fair compensation.

After a perusal of the observation made by the Apex court in the aforementioned judgments, the court concluded that the Learned Tribunal fell in error while calculating the multiplier while taking the age of mother/dependant into account instead of the deceased and stated that “The income of the deceased is accepted as Rs.25,000/- per month. The annual income of the deceased comes to Rs.3,00,000/- and after deducting the aggregate income tax approximately at the rate of Rs.5000/- per annum taking different slabs for different financial years, the net annual income comes to Rs.2,95,000/”

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Judgment reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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