30 June, 2020
Section 166 of Motor vehicle Act, 1988
Satpal singh ( deceased) who was a laborer , residing in Doha, Qatar since 1984. As per the employment contract form of the deceased, he was initially employed as a laborer for the salary of 750 Qatari Riyal p.m. Satpal pal died in motor vehicle accident when he came to India to visit. At the time of the accident, a Maruti car came from another direction while he was riding a scooter with his wife as pillion rider. The wife of the deceased filed a report against the owner and driver of the car. And she also stated that accident had occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the driver of Maruti car. The Maruti car was coming at a high speed from the opposite side while her husband was over-taking a tractor trolley.This led to the accident, and caused the death of Satpal Singh on the spot. Claimant ( The wife of the deceased) also got injured severely with 25% of permanent disability . The wife filed a claim petition before MACT, Patiala (Punjab) on the behalf of herself and her 3 minor children for the compensation. She prayed for compensation of Rs. 50 lacs,along with Interest @18% p.a. to be paid jointly and severally by the Insurance Company, and the driver and owner of the Maruti car. The MACT held as a widow of the deceased in the FIR,revealed that her husband was over- taking a tractor–trolley when the accident occurred, because the Maruti car was coming at a high speed from the opposite side so it was a case of contributory negligence on the part of the deceased Satpal Singh, as also on the part of the driver of the Maruti car. The MACT applied the multiplier of 13.The MACT assumed that the income of the deceased Satpal Singh should be at Rs. 4,000 p.m. The amount of dependency would be 3.90 lacs. Since it was a case of contributory negligence, the compensation was reduced by 50%, which would be Rs. 1.80 lacs. An amount of Rs. 10,000 was awarded towards funeral expenses.The compensation of Rs. 1,90,000 would carry Interest@9% p.a. from the date of filing the claim, till the date of payment. And all three respondents i.e. the driver of the Maruti car, the owner of the car, and the Insurance Company liable to pay the compensation awarded, jointly and severally. Claimant then filed an appeal before High court. The High Court upheld the findings of the MACT regarding contributory negligence. The High Court proceeded on the basis of the letter issued by the High Speed Group, wherein it was stated that Satpal Singh was working as a General Manager, and drawing a salary of $ 6,700 p.m. which would be Rs. 2,68,000 p.m. at the time when the claim was filed.The High Court assessed the compensation on the basis of the income at Rs. 2,68,000 p.m. and adopted the multiplier of 12.The contribution to the family was fixed at 50% of his income, which would approximately be Rs.1,34,000 p.m. Rs. 50,000 was awarded towards loss of estate, and Rs. 10,000 towards funeral expenses. The total compensation was computed at Rs. 96,78,000 after deducing 50% i.e. towards contributory negligence.The High Court held that since 50% of the income was provided to the wife and children and held the Insurance Company to be liable to pay the compensation, which would be distributed equally between the widow and children of the deceased. The enhanced amount of compensation would carry Interest @7.5% p.a. from the dateof filing the claim, till realization. Then Insurance company filed SLP before Supreme court.
Because widow of the deceased has suffered permanent disability of 25% in this accident and She has single- handed by raised her three minor children out her livelihood through agricultural activity. We direct that 50% of the total compensation (inclusive of interest) be given to the widow of the deceased, and the balance 50% be divided equally between the three children.
The owner and driver of the car are directed to pay Rs. 19,82,563. The Appellant – Insurance Company is directed to pay the balance amount of compensation within a period of twelve weeks’ from the date of this judgment. The deceased Satpal Singh had died on 18.11.1998. His dependants have been pursuing legal proceedings for grant of compensation since the past 22 years. As a consequence, we deem it appropriate to direct that Interest @12% p.a. be paid on the total compensation awarded, from the date of filing the claim petition, till realization.
Article 48A, 51A (g), Section 24 of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Article 13, 14, 21, 19 and 368 of the Indian Constitution and the basic structure of Doctrine.