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Compensation to be awarded under non-pecuniary heads like ‘pain and suffering’, ‘deprivation of pleasures of life’ and ‘loss of marriage prospects : Jammu and Kashmir High Court

Compensation awarded by a Tribunal in favour of the injured under other non-pecuniary heads is also wholly justified when the injured with the kind of disability which he has suffered, will certainly not be able to live a normal life and he will certainly be dependent on others for routine functioning like putting on clothes, eating food etc. This was held in the judgment passed by a single judge bench comprising of HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE SINDHU SHARMA, in the matter M/s New J.K. Roadways V. Union Territory of J&K and others. [CMAM No. 34/2014], dealt with an issue where the petitioner filed a petition challenging award passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Srinagar in a claim petition filed by respondent against the owner, driver and insurer of the vehicle (Bus).

As per the case of the claimant, while he was travelling in the aforesaid vehicle from Srinagar towards Tral, the said vehicle met with an accident, as a result of which, he suffered serious injuries, resulting in amputation of his right arm. The claimant sought compensation in the sum of ₹29.00 lacs from the owner, driver and the insurer of the offending vehicle.

The owner did not contest the claim petition and they were set ex-parte, whereas the appellant-insurance company contested the claim petition by filing its reply, whereby it admitted the currency of the policy of insurance of the offending vehicle with it at the time of the accident, but denied the occurrence. The insurance company further contended that there was breach of policy condition inasmuch as the driver of the offending vehicle was not holding a valid driving licence at the time of the accident.

Aggrieved by the aforesaid award, the insurance company has filed the instant appeal on the grounds that the driver of the offending vehicle was booked for offences including the one under Section 3/181 of the Motor Vehicle Act, which shows that he was not carrying a valid driving licence at the time of the accident, but inspite of this, the Tribunal concluded that there was no breach of the policy condition on the part of the insured; that the amount of compensation awarded by the Tribunal is exorbitant, excessive and unjust and that for about two years, the claimant did not prosecute the matter before the Tribunal, but even then the interest for this period has been awarded in favour of the claimant; that neither the penal interest nor the interest on loss of future income could have been awarded by the Tribunal.

After hearing both sides, the Hon’ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir dismissed the petition and held that the Tribunal has been justified in awarding the future attendant charges in favour of the attendant, because from the statement of the doctor who examined the injured, it is clear that during the period of hospitalization, such patients need constant attendant and further an attendant is needed for such patients for whole of their lives as they are unable to perform their daily routine duties and have to depend upon the services of attendants for whole of their lives.

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Judgement reviewed by – Vaishnavi Raman

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