Rudra Versus Divisional Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd. & another (Supreme Court)
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — section 166 — claim petition under — the Tribunal concluded that merely because the appellant had consumed alcohol did not mean that the driver of the vehicle did not need to drive the vehicle cautiously. Thus, the accident occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle as a result of which the appellant sustained injuries. The Tribunal awarded total compensation amounted to Rs.40,000/- with interest @ 8% p.a. — the High Court enhanced the compensation to Rs.1,48,200/- with interest @ 6% p.a. — appeal for enhancement of compensation — the doctor assessed whole body disability at 29% and also stated that the nature of disability is such that the appellant cannot work as a coolie or do any other manual work — the impugned judgment of the High Court modified, awarding Rs.3,00,000/- with interest of 6% p.a. on the enhanced sum — appeal allowed — no costs.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
(G.S. SINGHVI & ASOK KUMAR GANGULY, JJ.)
Rudra Appellant(s) versus Divisional Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd. & another Respondent(s)
Civil Appeal No. 2695 of 2011 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (C) No.33820/2010)-
Decided on 18-03-2011.
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — section 166 – Compensation Enhanced
1. Application for deletion of respondent No.2 from the array of parties is allowed.
2. Leave granted
3. On 15.12.2002, at about 1.30 pm, the appellant was walking on the road when a BMTC bus (bearing No. KA-01-A-3638) came in high speed and dashed against the appellant, as a result of which the appellant sustained multiple injuries and was admitted in hospital for operation and treatment.4. The appellant was aged 25 years and was working as a coolie. He filed a claim petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 claiming Rs.4 lacs as compensation with interest @ 18%. He also claimed that he was earning a monthly income of Rs.4000/- p.m.
5. Apparently, when the appellant was admitted to hospital immediately after the accident, he was conscious and well oriented and his breath smelled of alcohol. Hence, the respondent contended that the accident occurred solely due to the negligence of the appellant.
6. However, the Tribunal did not accept this argument of the respondent. It held that merely because the appellant had consumed alcohol did not mean that the driver of the vehicle did not need to drive the vehicle cautiously. Thus, the Tribunal concluded that the accident occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle as a result of which the appellant sustained injuries.7. The Tribunal concluded that as the appellant was a coolie, his daily earnings would be Rs.100/- per day, as the appellant’s claim that he was earning Rs.4000/- p.m. was unsupported by documentary evidence. The Tribunal considered the fact that the appellant had been in hospital for at least a month and, therefore, it awarded an amount of Rs.3000/- towards loss of income during treatment period. The doctor had assessed disability of the appellant’s left lower limb at 58% and that of the whole body at 29%. Considering the nature of the injuries (fracture of the ankle and foot), it awarded Rs. 15,000/- towards pain and suffering, Rs.2000/- towards medical expenses, and Rs.3000/- towards nourishment. The Tribunal also awarded global compensation of Rs. 15,000/- towards loss of amenities as the appellant could not normally carry out his occupation with the weight of the body on it. Thus, total compensation amounted to Rs.40,000/-, payable at 8% p.a. rate of interest.
12. The break-up of compensation is as follows:
|Pain and suffering||Rs.30,000/-|
|Loss of amenities||Rs.40,000/-|
|Medical expenses||Rs. 10,000/-|
|Conveyance, nourishment and attendant charges||Rs.20,000/-|
|Loss of future income||Rs.1,87,920/-|
|Loss of income during treatment||Rs.9,000/-|
13. Thus, total compensation amounts to Rs.2,96,920/-, which is rounded off to Rs.3,00,000/-. The impugned judgment of the High Court is hereby modified, awarding Rs.3,00,000/- with interest of 6% p.a. on the enhanced sum, payable from the date of the claim petition till realization.