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The New India Assurance Company vs. Somwati - (Supreme Court) (07 Sep 2020)

In a Motor Accident Compensation Claims, compensation for 'loss of consortium' can be awarded to children and parents also


Motor Vehicles

Present appeals have been filed by three Insurance Companies, i.e., New India Assurance Company Limited, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd. and The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. questioning the judgments of the High Courts arising out of the award by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) with regard to the compensation awarded in favour of the claimants under two heads, i.e., “Loss of Consortium” and “loss of love and affection.”

Learned counsel for the Appellants submitted that, the amount granted under the head ‘loss of love and affection’ is wholly without jurisdiction and further amount granted under the head ‘consortium’ could not be more than Rs. 40,000 and the amount of ‘consortium’ is only payable to wife who is entitled to Rs.40,000 and the Tribunals and the High Courts committed error in awarding amount of consortium to each of the claimant, i.e., wife, children and parents.

The expression ‘compensation’ is a comprehensive term which includes a claim for the damages. Compensation is by way of atonement for the injury caused. The claimant in a claim for award of compensation under Section 166 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is entitled for just compensation. The just compensation has to be equitable and fair. The loss of life and limb can never be compensated in an equal measure but the statutory provisions under Motor Vehicles Act is a social piece of legislation which has been enacted with intent and object to facilitate the claimants to get redress for the loss of the member of family, compensate the loss in some measure and to compensate the claimant to a reasonable extent.

It is thus now authoritatively well settled that, no compensation can be awarded under the head ‘loss of love and affection’. The Three-Judge Bench in United India Insurance Company Ltd. has categorically laid down that, apart from spousal consortium, parental and filial consortium is payable. Present Court, thus, cannot accept the submission of the learned counsel for the Appellant that, the amount of consortium awarded to each of the claimants is not sustainable.

The impugned judgments of the High Court awarding consortium to each of the claimants in accordance with law which does not warrant any interference in this appeal. Present Court, however, accept the submissions of learned counsel for the Appellant that, there is no justification for award of compensation under separate head ‘loss of love and affection’. The appeal filed by the Appellant deserves to be allowed insofar as the award of compensation under the head ‘loss of love and affection’. The award of compensation under the conventional head ‘loss of love and affection’ is set aside. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunals shall re-compute the amount payable and take further steps in accordance with law. Appeals partly allowed.


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