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Delhi High CourtIndian Cases

Kanwar Shamsher Singh And Ors. vs Satbir Singh And Ors. on 11 November 2003

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Delhi High Court
Kanwar Shamsher Singh And Ors. vs Satbir Singh And Ors. on 11 November, 2003
Equivalent citations: 2006ACJ789
Author: P. Nandrajog
Bench: Pradeep Nandrajog

P. Nandrajog, J.

1. Deceased Rajender Kaur, wife of appellant No. 1 and mother of appellant Nos. 2 and 3 was a housewife. She was also doing social service being the honorary manager of Shri Pratap Singh Memorial High School. As on 18.6.1984 she was aged 30 years.

2. On 18.6.1984 she had undertaken a journey in bus No. DEP 6016 from Kotla Mubarakpur to Sadiq Nagar.

3. While deboarding the bus, she fell down and as a result of the injuries died.

4. Appellants filed a claim petition under the Motor Vehicles Act.

5. On the basis of the evidence, by the award dated 12.3.1991, Tribunal held that the driver of the bus did not stop the bus at the bus stand where the deceased had to deboard the bus. Passengers shouted at the driver to stop the bus so that the deceased could deboard the same. The driver got angry and stopped the bus a little away from the bus stop. When the deceased was in the process of deboarding, the driver sped away and as a result thereof deceased, who then had one foot outside the bus and other on the footboard, fell outside the bus. As a result of the injuries sustained, she died. Finding returned is that death of the deceased was due to rash and negligent act of the driver of the bus.

6. The bus was owned by respondent No. 2 and was insured with respondent No. 3. The driver of the bus is respondent No. 1.

7. While assessing the compensation payable to the appellants, the Claims Tribunal held that on account of loss of love and affection to the children as well as the husband, they were entitled to compensation in the sum of Rs. 45,000. Since an aya had to be engaged by the appellant No. 1 to look after the children it was held that loss on said account in sum of Rs. 300 p.m. had to be compensated. Applying a multiplier of 10 years, compensation assessed was Rs. 36,000. In all, the compensation assessed was Rs. 81,000.

8. As regards the liability of insurance company, it was held that though the third party liability was unlimited but passenger liability was restricted to Rs. 30,000. The deceased was held to be a passenger and, therefore, liability of the insurance company was restricted to Rs. 30,000.

9. Evidence on record clearly establishes that the deceased was in the process of deboarding when the bus suddenly started, deceased fell on the road, resulting in fatal injuries to the deceased. She died as a result thereof. Could the deceased be classified as a passenger? The issue is no longer res Integra. In the judgment reported as Thoznilalar Transport Co. v. Valliammal ; A. Subramani v. Mani , as well as judgment of this court in New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Savitri Devi , it has been held that in such a situation it has to be held that the deceased had ceased to be a passenger in the bus at the time the accident took place. Following the law laid down in the aforesaid judgments, I hold that the liability of respondent No. 3 is unlimited.

10. Is the Tribunal correct in assessing the compensation on account of employment of an aya as being the measure of the loss? No doubt, the deceased was a housewife, but this does not mean that her services to the family cannot be computed in terms of money. I take guidance from the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Lata Wadhwa v. State of Bihar . In the said case, a mishap took place on 3.3.1989 resulting in 60 deaths, 25 of whom were women. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held as under:

(10) So far as the deceased housewives are concerned, in the absence of any data and as the housewives were not earning any income, attempt has been made to determine the compensation, on the basis of services rendered by them to the house. On the basis of the age group of the housewives, appropriate multiplier has been applied, but the estimation of the value of services rendered to the house by the housewives which has been arrived at Rs. 12,000 per annum in cases of some and Rs. 10,000 for others, appears to us to be grossly low. It is true that the claimants, who ought to have given data for determination of compensation, did not assist in any manner by providing the data for estimating the value of services rendered by such housewives. But even in the absence of such data and taking into consideration the multifarious services rendered by the housewives for managing the entire household, even on a modest estimation, should be Rs. 3,000 per month and Rs. 36,000 per annum. This would apply to all those housewives between the age group of 34 and 59 and as such who were active in life. The compensation awarded, therefore, should be recalculated, taking the value of the services rendered per annum to be Rs. 36,000 and thereafter applying the multiplier, as has been applied already and so far as the conventional amount is concerned, the same should be Rs. 50,000 instead of Rs. 25,000 given under the report. So far as the elderly ladies are concerned in the age group of 62 to 72, the value of the services rendered has been taken at Rs. 10,000 per annum and the multiplier applied is 8. Though, the multiplier applied is correct, but the value of services rendered at Rs. 10,000 per annum, cannot be held to be just and, we, therefore, enhance the same to Rs. 20,000 per annum. In their case, therefore, the total amount of compensation should be redetermined, taking the value of services rendered at Rs. 20,000 per annum and then after applying the multiplier, as already applied and thereafter adding Rs. 50,000 towards the conventional figure.
11. Deceased was aged 30. Two minor children were school going. The accident took place in the year 1984. The Supreme Court assessed Rs. 36,000 per annum as compensation to the family on account of the death of a housewife in the year 1989. I take the same at Rs. 20,000 per annum. On a multiplier of 12, the compensation payable comes to Rs. 2,40,000. Adding the conventional figure of compensation payable for loss of love and affection awarded by the Tribunal at Rs. 45,000, the total compensation payable to the appellants comes to Rs. 2,85,000. The Tribunal has awarded compensation of Rs. 81,000, the same stands enhanced by Rs. 2,04,000. Appellants shall be entitled to interest on the enhanced compensation at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the petition till 31.3.2000 and thereafter at the rate of 8 per cent per annum w.e.f. 1..4.2000 till the date of realisation. Interest is being awarded at the rate of 8 per cent w.e.f. 1.4.2000 considering that the scheduled banks have been lowering the interest rates on the fixed deposits which has been fallen and currently stands at 5.5 per cent.

12. The Claims Tribunal has awarded Rs. 3,000 as costs which I maintain. The Tribunal has apportioned the compensation equally amongst the appellants, I accordingly direct that the enhanced compensation together with interest thereon shall be apportioned equally amongst the three appellants.