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Sube Singh and Ors. Vs. Shyam Singh (dead) and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (09 Feb 2018)

Multiplier should depend on the age of the deceased and not on the age of the dependants

MANU/SC/0106/2018

Motor Vehicles

In a motor accident which occurred on 22nd September, 2009, Ajit Singh, who was at the relevant time 23 years of age died. His parents, who were in the age group of 40 to 45 years, filed a petition claiming compensation. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal held that, the established income of the deceased was around Rs. 4,200 per month and after deduction of 50% as the deceased was unmarried, calculated the same as Rs. 2,100 per month. Thereafter, it applied multiplier 15, taking the age of the "parents of the deceased" into consideration. This was challenged by the Appellants by way of an appeal before the High Court which was partly allowed in relation to other heads of compensation. As regards multiplier applied for determination of loss of future income, the High Court held that, multiplier 14 will be applicable. For that, the High Court relied on the decision of this Court in Ashvinbhai Jayantilal Modi. Resultantly, the Appellants have filed the present appeal, questioning the correctness of the conclusion so reached by the High Court.

The sole question to be answered in present appeal is whether the High Court was right in applying multiplier 14 for determining compensation amount in a motor accident claim case in reference to the age of parents of the deceased whilst relying on the decision of this Court in Ashvinbhai Jayantilal Modi v. Ramkaran Ramchandra Sharma and Anr.

On the basis of the finding recorded by the Tribunal and affirmed by the High Court, it is evident that the deceased was 23 years of age on the date of accident i.e. 22.09.2009. He was unmarried and his parents who filed the petition for compensation were in the age group of 40 to 45 years. The High Court, relying on the decision in the case of Ashvinbhai Jayantilal Modi, held that multiplier 14 will be applicable in the present case, keeping in mind the age of the parents of the deceased. The legal position, however, is no more res integra. In the case of Munna Lal Jain decided by a three Judge Bench of present Court, it is held that multiplier should depend on the age of the deceased and not on the age of the dependants.

In Sarla Verma, this Court has endeavoured to simplify the otherwise complex exercise of assessment of loss of dependency and determination of compensation in a claim made Under Section 166. It has been rightly stated in Sarla Verma that the claimants in case of death claim for the purposes of compensation must establish (a) age of the deceased. (b) income of the deceased; and (c) the number of dependents. To arrive at the loss of dependency, the Tribunal must consider (i) additions/deductions to be made for arriving at the income; (ii) the deductions to be made towards the personal living expenses of the deceased; and (iii) the multiplier to be applied with reference to the age of the deceased.

A priori, the Respondents are directed to pay compensation by applying multiplier of 18, instead of 14 as applied by the High Court. The rate of interest is modified to 9% per annum instead of 6% per annum granted by the Tribunal and High Court. The order passed by the High Court stands modified. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed.

Relevant : Ashvinbhai Jayantilal Modi v. Ramkaran Ramchandra Sharma and Anr. MANU/SC/0873/2014: 2015 (2) SCC 180; Sarla Verma (Smt.) and Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation and Anr. MANU/SC/0606/2009: 2009 (6) SCC 121; Munna Lal Jain and Anr. v. Vipin Kumar Sharma and Ors. MANU/SC/0640/2015: 2015 (6) SCC 347

Tags : COMPENSATION   DETERMINATION   MULTIPLIER  

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