The Supreme Court previous week ruled and reiterated that the court may grant compensation for a motor accident of any amount in excess to that which was claimed.
In the present case, the claimant restricted his claim to a sum of Rs. 3,00,000/- since he was in financial distress and could not pay the court fees whereupon, the claimant was entitled to a compensation of Rs. 9,05,000/-. The Tribunal herein allowed a compensation of Rs. 1,50,000/- which was revised and enhanced by the High Court to a sum of Rs. 2,50,000/-.
It was contended in this case by the claimant that mere confinement to compensation amount to a sum of Rs. 3,00,000/- cannot be a guiding factor for the court for not granting a fair and reasonable compensation for the injuries sustained.
The claimant in the present case was a fruit vendor running his livelihood on a hand-cart. His right arm was amputated due to the accident permanently disabling him and thereby affecting his business. The Division Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah opined that a compensation of Rs. 2,50,000/- cannot be considered as a fair and reasonable amount. The bench referred to Ramla v. National Insurance Company Limited, (2019) 2 SCC 192 where it was observed that,
“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.”
This clearly means that neither the Tribunal nor the High Court was precluded to grant a higher compensation.