Courts empowered to award more compensation than claimed: Madras High Court

Courts empowered to award more compensation than claimed: Madras High Court


Holding that courts are empowered to award more compensation than the amount claimed, the Madras High Court has doubled the sum awarded by a tribunal in Krishnagiri to the family of an accident victim.

The court enhanced the compensation from Rs 20.56 lakh to Rs. 41.27 lakh.

“The Tribunals and the Courts have to award just compensation. Though the claimants have claimed lesser compensation, the Courts have power to grant just compensation more than the amount claimed by the claimants,” Justice V M Velumani held in a recent order.

The judge was allowing an appeal from the family members of one Manjunathan (35), who was killed in a road accident on August 6, 2018, involving a private bus.

Originally, the family members had moved the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal in Krishnagiri, claiming Rs 99 lakh as compensation.

By an order passed in December last, the Tribunal had awarded Rs 22.84 lakh. It, however, directed the insurance company to pay Rs 20.56 lakh after deducting 10 per cent of the compensation towards contributory negligence, as the deceased had no valid driving licence at the time of accident.

Hence, the present appeal challenging the deduction of 10 per cent of the compensation towards contributory negligence.

Accepting the contention of the claimants, Justice Velumani pointed out that the Tribunal had held the accident occurred only due to the rash and negligent driving by the driver of the bus.

When there is no evidence with regard to contributory negligence on the part of the deceased, not possessing a driving license would have no relevance.

The ratio in the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in a similar case would be squarely applicable to the facts of the present case.

“For the above reason, the 10 per cent contributory negligence fixed on the part of the deceased Manjunathan is liable to be set aside and is hereby set aside,” the judge said.

He also noted that in the absence of any evidence to prove the avocation and income of the deceased, the Tribunal fixed Rs 9,000 per month as notional income of the deceased.

The accident was in the year 2018. The notional income fixed by the Tribunal was meagre.

The cost of living had increased enormously and the salary of even unskilled workers had increased substantially.

Hence, the notional income of the deceased was enhanced to Rs 15,000 per month,the judge said and applying the concept of ‘multiplier’, enhanced the total compensation from Rs 20.56 lakh to Rs 41.27 lakh with 7.5 per cent interest.


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