1 December, 2018:
A “just compensation” is one which is reasonable on the basis of evidence produced on record.
Apex Court Bench of Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar has ruled that there is absolutely no restriction on Motor Accident Claim Tribunals to Award Compensation more than the Claimed Amount, in deserving cases.
Bench was hearing a Civil Appeal filed by the claimants are before this Court seeking further enhancement of compensation from Rs. 21,53,000/ awarded by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam. By the impugned judgment, the High Court enhanced the compensation from Rs.11,83,000/ to Rs.21,53,000/.
The accident that occurred on 10.05.2008, the deceased Ismail succumbed to death due to grievous injuries. The wife (about 22 years), two children (aged about 3 years and 9 months respectively) and aged father (about 90 years of age) of the deceased moved a claim petition before the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal, Vatakara seeking a total compensation of Rs. 25,00,000/.
Initially MACT awarded a total compensation of Rs.11,83,000/. The High Court awarded a sum of Rs.9,70,000/ as an additional compensation, i.e., in addition to the compensation of Rs.11,83,000/ awarded by the Tribunal.
While finding a fault in High Court’s approach in calculating the cost of living of the victim, Apex Court enhanced Compensation beyond the Claimed amount with following observations,
”Though the claimants had claimed a total compensation of
Rs.25,00,000/ in their claim petition filed before the Tribunal,
we feel that the compensation which the claimants are entitled to
is higher than the same as mentioned supra. There is no
restriction that the Court cannot award compensation exceeding
the claimed amount, since the function of the Tribunal or Court
under Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is to award
“just compensation”. The Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial and
welfare legislation. A “just compensation” is one which is
reasonable on the basis of evidence produced on record. It
cannot be said to have become time barred. Further, there is no
need for a new cause of action to claim an enhanced amount. The
Courts are duty bound to award just compensation. (See the
judgments of this Court in the cases of-
(a) Nagappa v. Gurudayal Singh
(b) Magma General Insurance v. Nanu Ram
(c) Ibrahim v.Raju)”