SC Enhances Compensation To ₹1lakh For Loss Of Foetus In Motor Accident Case In Which Lady Died While Being Pregnant
In a motor accident case, the Supreme Court has enhanced the compensation to Rs. 1 lakh for each of the claimants for loss of foetus. The deceased was a 25-year-old lady who died while she was pregnant.
The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice MM Sundresh held –
"We are of the opinion that the claimants shall be entitled to a sum of Rs.1 lakh each instead of Rs.50,000/ as awarded by the High Court for loss of foetus."
The original claimants (Husband & Minor son) had preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court assailing the judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The claimants had prayed to enhance the amount of compensation.
The wife of the Appellant No. 1 had died in a vehicular accident. She was 25-year-old at the relevant time. The Motor Accident Claim Tribunal awarded Rs.19,12,200/ with the interest at the rate of 7.5% towards the compensation under different heads. The Tribunal awarded the loss of dependency at Rs.3,24,000/ considering the income of the deceased at Rs.1,500/ per month. As at the relevant time the deceased was pregnant, hence the Tribunal awarded Rs. 50,000/- for foetus.
In an appeal before the High Court, the Court enhanced the compensation to Rs. 29,34,000/-under different heads and for foetus awarded Rs. 50,000/-.
Counsel Vishnu Mehra appeared for the Respondents- Insurance Company before the Apex Court.
The Court noted, "…considering the fact that at the relevant time the deceased was a housewife aged 25 years only and there was contribution of the wife in the family and there is evidence that she was also doing the tuition work, we are of the opinion that the High Court ought to have considered the income of the deceased at least Rs.7,500/ per month."
Further, the Court also noted that the High Court has also not considered future prospects and thus observed-
"As per the settled position of law while considering the loss of dependency 40% of the income is required to be added towards future prospect."
The Court held that the claimants are entitled to a sum of Rs. 1 lakh each instead of Rs. 50,000/- as awarded by the High Court for loss of foetus.
Additionally, the Bench held, "The claimants – husband and the minor son shall also be entitled to Rs.40,000/ each towards loss of consortium or loss of love and affection."
Thus, the Court held that the claimants shall be entitled to a sum of Rs. 32,82,000/- with interest at the rate of 7.5% p.a.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal.
Cause Title – Shiv Kumar & Ors. v. Gainda Lal & Ors.