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SunitaTokas v/s New India Insurance Ltd.
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SunitaTokas v/s New India Insurance Ltd.
SunitaTokas v/s New India Insurance Ltd.

Facts of the Case

This appeal has been filed before the Honorable Supreme Court of India pursuing the dismissal appeal by the Honorable High Court of Delhi for the increment of the compensation awarded by the court under motor accidental claims.

Pradeep Tokas, son of the appellant, was a school student, and he was also a fantabulous swimmer and has also won various prizes in swimming competitions among other colleges, he was also a champion swimmer in various competitions at the district and state-level events.

On the night of 11/05/2004 he was travelling on a two-wheeler motorbike as a pillion rider as the bike was passing from the Upper Ridge Road towards Karol Bagh, New Delhi it met with an accident. The time of the accident was around 1.05 am where the motorbike crashed into a stationary truck which was standing in the middle of the road without its tail light/parking light, and the truck was supposedly was not in the visible range while such accident took place. The accident that took place by a dash into the truck resulted in the death of both the driver and the passenger (Pradeep Tokas) died on the spot.  The appellant filed the petition claiming the awards for compensation before the Honorable Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.

The Honorable Tribunal awarded the compensation of Rs. 14, 87,140/- with 7% interest P.A to the appellant claimant.

Issues of the Case

1.  Whether the appellant is liable for any enhanced compensation?

2. The order passed by the Honorable High Court of New Delhi valid?

Judgment

The Honorable Supreme Court in its observation stated that the injury caused by accident to the appellants is irreparable and could not be compensated but for a reason to reach a certainty an amount has to be calculated, pursuing to the earlier judgments the court decided that it will be in the interest of the party/appellant it will be appropriate to calculate the amount using the multiplier method. In this case, it is known that person if is a married person it becomes due process for the court to taken into consideration the age of the person and even if the case where the person involved is a bachelor the same principle should be applied. The law once set a method to reach justice it should be used to understand in the same sense, it also becomes the duty of the court to place the paramount interest of the appellant and should not result in disturbance of the interpretation of the law. The appellant and deceased in this case was a student and so the multiplier method applicable for 18 years old should be applicable. It is very important for the court to understand that the multiplier method applied provides the precise justice as required considering these cases where the person is brought under such a handicap that it is paramount for the court to grant such amount in deciding.

The Court is of the opinion that monetary value does not suffice or substitute the value of life therefore any compensation and with enunciated formula has to apply in the light of the given facts. The court is of the opinion that the multiplier method applied considering the age of 18 is primarily for the benefit of the victim herein considering the age which the accident was caused should not be viewed in the isolation of the accident and loss calculated as per the provision but it is important for their court to add the precise or just value of the loss strength needed to live in future. The court is of the point that there exists no fixed calculation with respect to such cases and it itself brings a new side that has to be considered, considering such facts formula has changed and provide justice.

This court does not believe in providing a judgment that fits all cases with similar facts though as the precedents to understand the interpretation of the application of the law can be referred. The court, while deciding the matter provides that act in isolation unless otherwise stated, proves the right mind for application; further very court needs to understand a complete understanding of the facts in deciding the matter. The Supreme Court appreciates the finding by the Honorable High Court of Delhi but is of the opinion that their contention does not satisfy the requirement to that has to be satisfied in the matter wherein the facts states as above the Honorable Supreme Court states that:

The Honorable Supreme Court dismissing the contention of the High Court of Delhi said that said annual income provided by the Motor Accidental Claims Tribunal was 16,246/- per month and after such monthly salary the High Court reduced his income though with reason to 7,500/- per month cannot stand the rationale that the youth deceased was a district and state level swimming champion and have won several prizes and awards. The mother of deceased was the owner of the swimming club at the Air Force Station School in Gurgaon. The rationale has scope to understand that the deceased has a wider range of income-earning capability and should increase to a fair amount of Rs. 12,000/- per month.

The Court also observed the failure of the earlier court to consider the percentage of national income that could’ve been earned by the deceased in this case. The Honorable Court decide to fix the percentage to 40% by understanding the matter through precedent by the Constitution Bench in Pranay Sethi.

The High Court failed to observe the loss or irreparable damages occurred to the appellants from such accident, and it also failed to understand the compensation to be awarded under the heads of love and affection, loss of the son and other personal injuries. However, this court observed and decided to maintain the compensation provided by the Motor Accidental Claim Tribunal in this behalf.

The Honorable Supreme Court decided the Respondent in the above case should more the enhanced amount of Rs. 11, 39,400/- to the appellant and such amount will carry a simple interest rate of 7 % P.A as to be calculated. Further, the appeal or any ancillary appeal stands disposed accordingly.

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