Saturday, 6 May 2017

Whether it is permissible for court not to grant compensation in motor accident claim petition under some head?

When we find that under one head, reasonable
amount has been awarded and under another head,
nothing has been awarded though it should have been
so awarded and at the same time, we notice that
eventual figure of the award of compensation payable
to the claimants appears to be just and reasonable
then in such eventuality, we do not consider it proper
to interfere in such award in our appellate jurisdiction
under Article 136 of the Constitution. In other words,
if by applying the tests and guidelines, we find that
overall award of compensation is just and fair, then, in
our view, such award deserves to be upheld in
claimants’ favour.
 NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL No.3862 OF 2013
D.M., Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. 
V
Swapna Nayak & Ors.
Dated:January 23, 2017.
Citation: (2017) 3 SCC 598

1) C.A. No. 3862 of 2013 is filed by the Oriental
Insurance Company Ltd.(for short, “the Insurance
Company”) and C.A. Nos. 3863-3864 of 2013 are filed

by the claimants. These appeals are filed against the
common final judgment and order dated 21.09.2012 of
the High Court of Orissa at Cuttack in M.A.C.A. No.1
of 2012 and M.A.C.A. No. 62 of 2012 whereby the High
Court partly allowed M.A.C.A. No.1 of 2012 filed by the
Insurance Company and, in consequence, dismissed
M.A.C.A. No.62 of 2012 filed by the claimants.
2) In order to appreciate the issue involved in these
appeals, which lies in a narrow compass, it is
necessary to set out the relevant facts in brief infra.
3) On 16.12.2006, one Mathurananda Nayak, a
resident of U.S.A., and his mother Jita Nayak along
with two others while coming from Cuttack side
towards Aredi on NH No. 5 by a car bearing
Registration No. OR-02-S-0565, collided with a truck
bearing Registration No. OR-09-E-6357 driven by its
driver which was coming from Paniloili side. As a
result of the said accident, Mathurananda Nayak, Jita

Nayak along with driver of the car sustained injuries
and later succumbed to the injuries on the same day.
4) The claimants in this appeal are wife and sons of
the deceased Mathurandanda Nayak, who was aged
about 36 years at the time of accident. He was working
as a Senior Information System Analyst under Traci
Cagle Human Resource Representative a Xilinx
Inc-2100 Logic Drive San Jose, CA-95124, U.S.A. and
was earning $97,080,60 per annum by way of salary.
He had come to India for few days when unfortunately
he met with an accident and died.
5) The legal heirs of the deceased filed two separate
claim applications for compensation under Section
166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter
referred to as “the Act”) before the Motor Accidents
Claim Tribunal, Cuttack (for short, “the Tribunal”)
being MAC No. 25 of 2007 (filed by legal heirs of
Mathurananda Nayak) and MAC No. 30 of 2007 (filed

by the legal heirs of Jita Nayak) against the owner of
the vehicle and the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd.
being the insurer of the truck.
6) The owner of the insured vehicle did not appear
in spite of service and the applications were proceeded
ex-parte.
7) By a common Award dated 25.10.2011 in MCA
No. 25 of 2007, the Tribunal allowed the applications.
So far as M.C.A. No.25 of 2007 was concerned, the
Tribunal held that the accident was caused due to
rash and negligent driving of truck driver, that the
deceased was aged 36 years, that annual income of
the deceased was Rs.43,68,624/- (in Indian currency
by applying the exchange rate of Rs.45/- per dollar).
The Tribunal then applied the multiplier of 15 and
after deducting 1/3rd towards personal expenses and
adding therein some amount towards conventional
heads, awarded a total sum of Rs.4,36,95,740/- to the

claimants and accordingly directed the Insurance
Company to pay the awarded sum to the claimants
along with interest at the rate of 7.5% from the date of
application.
8) So far as MCA No. 30 of 2007 was concerned, the
Tribunal, by applying the multiplier of 5, awarded a
sum of Rs.1,29,500/- with interest at the rate of 7.5%
p.a. for the death of Jita Nayak.
9) Challenging the said award, the Insurance
Company filed MACA No.1 of 2012 before the High
Court and the claimants filed MACA No.62 of 2012 for
enhancement of compensation amount awarded to
them by the Tribunal.
10) By impugned common judgment dated
21.09.2012, the High Court partly allowed the appeal
filed by the Insurance Company and reduced the
compensation amount of Rs.4,36,95,740/-, which was
awarded by the Tribunal, to Rs.3,75,00,000/-. It was

held that the Tribunal deducted 1/3rd towards
personal expenses of the deceased but did not deduct
anything towards income tax from the salary. The
High Court, therefore, interfered with the
determination made by the Tribunal and accordingly
re-worked the compensation and reduced it to
Rs.3,75,00,000/-. All other findings were withheld.
As a consequence, the claimants’ appeal for
enhancement of compensation was dismissed.
11) Challenging the said judgment of the High Court,
the Insurance Company has filed C.A. No. 3862 of
2013 seeking further reduction in the award of
compensation whereas the claimants have filed C.A.
Nos. 3863-3864 of 2013 seeking enhancement in the
compensation.
12) Heard Mr. Vishnu Mehra, learned counsel for the
Insurance Company. None appears for the claimants
though served.

13) Mr. Vishnu Mehra, learned counsel appearing for
the appellant (Insurance Company-insurer of the
offending vehicle) contended that the High Court
though was right in allowing the appeal filed by the
Insurance Company in part and was also right in
reducing the quantum of compensation awarded by
the Claims Tribunal from Rs.4,36,95,740/- to
Rs.3,75,00, 000/- but according to him, the High
Court should have further reduced the compensation
instead of confining it to Rs.3,75,00,000/- only.
14) Placing reliance on the decisions in Bijoy
Kumar Dugar vs. Bidya Dhar Dutta & Ors., 2006 (3)
SCC 242, Reshma Kumari & Others vs. Madan
Mohan And Another, 2013 (9) SCC 65 and United
India Insurance Co. Ltd & Others vs. Patricia Jean
Mahajan And Others, 2002 (6) SCC 281, learned
counsel contended that the High Court erred in
applying multiplier of 15 for determining the quantum

of compensation payable to the claimants. According
to him, keeping in view the law laid down in the cases
cited at the bar, the multiplier of 10 at best could be
applied in place of 15. Learned Counsel further
contended that in the absence of any evidence
adduced by the claimants on the issue of future
prospects of the deceased in his life, no case is made
out for award of any compensation under this head.
15) Having heard the learned counsel for the
appellant (Insurance Company) and on perusal of the
entire record of the case, we have formed an opinion to
dismiss both the appeals and, in consequence, are
inclined to uphold the order of the High Court which,
in our view, does not call for any interference.
16) On perusal of the decisions cited at the bar and
further having regard to the totality of the facts and
circumstances of the case and the concurrent findings
of two courts and on material issues such as the

determination of annual income of the deceased, his
age, the number of dependents etc., we do not find any
good ground to interfere in the impugned order. In
our view, such findings, apart from being concurrent,
cannot be said to be, in any way, arbitrary and nor
they result in awarding a bonanza or a windfall to the
claimants so as to call for further reduction in the
compensation awarded by the High Court.
17) In other words, in our view, what has been
eventually awarded to the claimants by the High Court
appears to be just and reasonable compensation
within the meaning of Section 166 of the Act and there
does not appear any good ground for further
enhancement under any of the heads including under
the head of future prospects as claimed by the
claimants in their appeal and nor any case is made
out for further reduction by applying the lesser
multiplier or to make further deduction in the salary

component of the deceased as claimed by the
Insurance Company.
18) When we find that under one head, reasonable
amount has been awarded and under another head,
nothing has been awarded though it should have been
so awarded and at the same time, we notice that
eventual figure of the award of compensation payable
to the claimants appears to be just and reasonable
then in such eventuality, we do not consider it proper
to interfere in such award in our appellate jurisdiction
under Article 136 of the Constitution. In other words,
if by applying the tests and guidelines, we find that
overall award of compensation is just and fair, then, in
our view, such award deserves to be upheld in
claimants’ favour. We find it to be so in the facts of
this case having taken note of all relevant facts and
circumstances of the case.

19) In the light of foregoing discussion, we find no
merit in the appeals, i.e., the appeal filed by the
Insurance Company seeking further reduction in the
compensation and the appeals filed by the claimants
seeking enhancement in the compensation and
accordingly dismiss the appeals and, in consequence,
uphold the order of the High Court calling no
interference therein.
20) Let the entire amount of compensation awarded
to the claimants by the High Court be paid to the
claimants by the Insurance Company within one
month from the date of receipt of this judgment after
adjusting the amount already paid. No costs.
 .……...................................J.
 [J. CHELAMESWAR]

 ………..................................J.
 [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
New Delhi,
January 23, 2017.

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