Madras HC enhances compensation awarded in motor accident case

Justice S. Vimala of Madras HC while slamming a motor accident claims tribunal in the state which considered Rs 15,000 as ‘notional income’ of a house wife, awarded Rs 1.62 Lacs as compensation for her death said such a view cannot be tolerated and has enhanced the compensation to Rs 6.76 Lacs. Court observed the Order of the Tribunal as “narrow minded order” in awarding compensation to the next of kin of an accident victim, the Madras High Court.
Court observed that the victim’s daughter must be “missing her mother’s lap”. Further, “the primary responsibility of the homemaker is to ensure that the family is happy, healthy and prosperous. To make the home as heart of the family giving total relaxation and complete freedom and joy to members of the family, is the critical role willingly undertaken and delightfully discharged. As it is voluntary, it is quite often neglected, forgotten and devalued,” Court said.

Though the government was expected to be a model litigant, it had not even paid the meagre compensation awarded by the tribunal, Court ruled. It was claimed by the petitioner before the Tribunal that, the deceased was earning around Rs. 5,000 per month. However, it was not supported by any documents. Hence, the tribunal concluded that her ‘notional income’ as a homemaker was Rs 15,000 annually and awarded a paltry Rs 1.62 Lacs as compensation.

However, Madras High Court, while slamming the tribunal for its narrow mindedness and saying such a view cannot be tolerated, Court said that a house wife’s services, described as gratuitous service, has not been considered by the tribunal. “When the child was aged 5 it lost the lap of the mother, which nobody can afford. The guidance and support needed from the mother, especially for a girl child, need not be emphasised. The tribunal, unmindful of the consequences of the death, has quantified the compensation in a way which nobody can tolerate,” Court said.

Madras High Court relied on the Supreme Court ruling and considered, Rs 36,000 as annual ‘notional income’ of the woman, and arrived at a compensation figure of Rs 6.76 Lacs and directed the authorities to deposit it within three weeks.