The Delhi High Court, in a motor accident compensation claim case, held that the multiplier taken for the purpose of computing the claim should be based on the age of the deceased rather than the age of the dependent.

The Court was deciding a batch of appeals filed by both the Insurance Company and the parents of the deceased respectively against the judgment of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).

A Single Bench of Justice Anish Dayal said, “… this Court finds that the use of multiplier ‘13’ (taken as against the age of the dependent mother) by the Ld. MACT in the impugned judgement for calculating the loss of dependency is erroneous. Instead, the multiplier in the present case shall be ‘17’ considering that the deceased was 26 years of age. Therefore, the amount payable towards loss of dependency in view of the above discussion stands modified.”

Advocate Vandana Kahlon represented the appellant while Advocate Nalin Tripathi represented the respondents.

In this case, the daughter of the claimants-parents, suffered injuries in an accident and subsequently succumbed to them. The deceased along with her friend had gone to a park to have lunch after attending classes for Masters of Computer Application (MCA). At about 1:30 p.m., they came out of the park and her friend started his motorcycle which he had parked on the left side of the road near the gate of the park and both sat on the said motorcycle. When they were about to proceed towards Laxman Public School to attend the remaining class, a Santro Car driven by a man, hit the motorcycle from behind.

Due to the impact, they both were thrown on the road, the car dashed into the pavement and stopped. Both were taken to the Hospital but the deceased could not survive and resultantly, died at about 10:30 pm in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on the same day. Her friend sustained a fracture in his right thigh and a case was registered. The Insurance Company had restricted its challenge to the extent of Rs. 15,000/- being considered as the income of the deceased in the calculation of compensation payable while the parents of the deceased sought enhancement of the compensation awarded vide the impugned judgement.

The High Court in view of the above facts observed, “Having assessed the contentions of the parties, this Court is of the view that while the issue of proof of employment of deceased Ms. Shobha with M/s. Ritika was already assessed by this Court vide order dated 3rd September, 2019 in a part hearing and, resultantly, held in favour of the parents of the deceased, as also the authority of Mr. Ashok Kumar, on behalf of M/s. Ritika (as held by the order dated 27th February, 2020), the issue of income assessed at Rs.15,000/- per month as determined by the Ld. MACT is reasonable, appropriate, and justified.”

The Court while considering that the deceased was already earning Rs. 9,000/- per month, noted that it would have been a reasonable assumption that she would earn more going ahead.

“… if she had continued in the same organization post her MCA, she would have drawn Rs. 50,000/- per month is also dispositive in this regard. In this view of the matter, the determination by the Ld. MACT pertaining to assessing the income of the deceased at Rs. 15,000/- per month is to be upheld”, added the Court.

The High Court had earlier directed the insurance company to deposit 75% of the awarded amount with up-to-date proportionate interest with the MACT, within the period specified and the amount so deposited was to be kept in a fixed deposit in favour of the parents of the deceased. Furthermore, the Court gave interim directions to release an amount of Rs. 8,21,481/- along with the interest accrued thereon to the beneficiaries.

“The Ld. MACT is now directed to take steps to ensure that the balance amount along with interest accrued thereon is released to the Claimants. The insurance company is directed to deposit with the Ld. MACT within 30 days hereof, the balance of awarded amount as modified above to be released to the claimants in terms of the judgment given”, ordered the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the appeals.

Cause Title- TATA AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. A.K. Tripathi & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:8842)

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