A Supreme Court Bank of Judge BR Gavai and Justice CT Ravikumar upped and ruled in compensation awarded by the Madras High Court in a car accident lawsuit “Having a careful review of the Compensation Principles and considering the above decision, we find that the Complainant is entitled to an increase/award of compensation for certain reasons.”
In particular, the court confirmed that the multiplier for victims up to the age of 15 should be taken as “15”.
Attorney T Harish Kumar appeared for the complainant, and Lawyer Abhishek Gola appeared for the defendant.
In the present case, the applicant was in an accident when she was two years old when a car crashed into the auto rickshaw she was riding. She suffered severe injuries. The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal dismissed her claim on technical grounds. However, the High Court reversed the tribunal’s order and ordered the insurance company to pay compensation of Rs. 13,34,000/- with interest at 7.5% per annum.
The applicant appealed to the Supreme Court to seek an improvement in compensation from various points of view.
After carefully examining the rates of compensation, the Supreme Court found that the applicant was entitled to improvement/award of compensation under various headings.
Under Attender Chargers, the court found that there was an incongruity in the selection of the multiplier for those in the age group 15 and younger. In this context, the Court analyzed a number of judgments, including Sarla Verma (Smt) & Ors. v Delhi Transport Corporation & Ann and Reshma Kumari & Ors. V. Madan Mohan & Appr.
In this regard, it was found that “The selection of the multiplier ’15’ for the age group up to 15 by the three-person bench in the Reshma Kumari case has a solid basis. It is well known that the age group of 21 to 25 is considered to be the beginning of normal productive years, as expressly mentioned by the two-judge bench in the Sarla Verma case in paragraph 39. It is true that in the case of Sarla Verma, the same multiplier, namely “18”, is selected for the 15-20 age group. It is relevant to refer to the Child and Youth Work (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 which is an ordinance prohibiting the employment of children in all occupations and prohibiting the employment of youth in hazardous occupations and related procedures and matters is incidental to it.”
In a similar context, the Court further noted this “Where there is a clear prohibition in an enactment on the employment of children, and the definition of ‘child’ under that enactment includes children who have not yet reached the age of fourteen, it is certainly justified to choose a lower multiplier of ’15’ in the case of victims of the age group up to 15. Since the Constitutional Court Chamber in the case of Pranay Sethi did not consider the case of Rajesh (see above) as a binding precedent for disregarding the decision in the case of Reshma Kumari, the formula ruled in relation to the multiplier in the case of Reshma Kumari was approved after extracting the previously extracted Paragraph Nos. 43.1 and 43.2 in the case of Reshma Kumari and that the Three Judges Bench in Reshma Kumari ruled so in relation to the cases where the age of victim occurs up to 15 years the multiplier should be ’15’, we have to take the multiplier of victims up to 15 years as ’15’.”
Against this background, the Supreme Court ruled that the High Court had correctly identified the multiplier. The court further calculated the final amount at Rs. 17 lakhs under participant fees.
Under “Pain and insults and loss of comfort,” the court said it was inclined to award an additional amount of Rs. 3 lakhs.
The Supreme Court also awarded an additional amount of Rs. 3 lakhs for loss of marital prospects, Rs. 1 lakh for future medical treatment and Rs. 90,000/- for additional food.
Therefore, the Apex Court increased the award of Rs. 24,90,000/- by the High Court and ordered the insurance company to post the increased amount with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum.
No cost orders were issued.
Case title: Divya v The National Insurance Co. Ltd. & call
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