The case is about the claim of compensation by the claimants for their family member who died in an accident. The case is dealt under The Motor Vehicles Act 1988. Before starting about the case let us first analyze the definition of Motor Vehicles or Vehicles according to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988; any vehicle which can be used upon roads, can be drove or pushed forward, where the source of power is coming from either external or internal source, there must be a chassis where a body has not been attached or a trailer. However, it does not include a vehicle which is attached upon fixed rails or a vehicle which is specially made for factory, or a vehicle which is enclosed within the four walls.
In this case on 16th of September 2017 Gunnu Ram Mourya had gone to the Devra Market by his motorcycle to buy some articles for daily use. After buying the articles, he was returning home. On reaching the National Highway No. 30, Kishore Kumar who was driving a truck in a rash and negligent manner dashed with the motorcycle of Gunnu Ram. As a consequence of the accident, Gunnu Ram had several injuries and eventually he died. His unfortunate wife and daughter and family members filed a case against the driver Kishore Kumar. Kishore Kumar was the driver of the truck which dashed with the motorcycle of Gunnu Ram. The truck actual owner was Manoj Kumar. According to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, in cases of accident including death or bodily injury the compensation is decided by the Claims Tribunal. Section 165 of the Motor Vehicles Act defines the Claims Tribunal. Section 165 states that a State Government may by notification in the Official Gazette constitute one or more Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals for such area as may be specified in the notification for the purpose of adjudicating upon claims for compensation in respect of accidents involving the death of or bodily injury to the persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles or damages to any property of a third party so arising or both.
At the time of the accident, it was observed that he was earning an amount of forty thousand from a grocery shop. The Claims Tribunal decided the compensation amount to be of five lakh rupees. This was decided on the basis of the amended Second Schedule of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 which was issued on 22nd of May 2018. The amended Second Schedule of the Act stated that in case of fatal accident will amount to rupees five lakhs, in case of permanent disability it will amount to 5,00,00X the per cent of disability as per Employee Compensation Act, 1923, in case of minor injury the amount will be twenty-five thousand.
However the claimants appealed under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 on the basis of the judgement given on 20th of September 2018. Section 173 of the Act states that any person aggrieved by the amount of compensation of the Claims Tribunal may within ninety days from the date of the compensation awarded may appeal before High Court. But a person who has to give money in form of any award will not be entertained by the Court unless twenty-five thousand or fifty per cent of the total money whichever is less is deposited by the person. However, no compensation less than one lakh rupees will be entertained. The learned Counsel of the claimants appealed before the court stating that the Claims Tribunal has wrongly awarded the compensation amount of five lakh rupees which was based on the amended Second Schedule. The Amended Second Schedule did not have any retrospective effect rather it had a prospective effect, so the compensation amount stands invalid in nature. The High Court of Chhatisgarh looked into the matter and various references were taken to give the verdict. Such cases were Smt Sarla Verma and others v Delhi Transport Corporation and others and National Insurance Co. Ltd. v Pranay Sethi. In such cases the Supreme Court held that the amount of compensation should be enhanced, by granting conventional heads and forty per cent towards future prospect and also a multiplier of 17 to the annual income of the deceased. The High Court also looked into the other parts of the case before giving the judgement. The death of Gunnu Ram was due to the accident that took place between him and Kishore Kumar was checked and there were no dispute in it. The date of the accident i.e. 16th of September,2017 was checked and also there were no dispute in it. So the High Court finally gave the judgement by looking on every aspect and decided that the compensation should be enhanced. The compensation was enhanced on the following basis:
Total : 7,04,661
Thus, an amount of Rs 7,04,661 was awarded to the family of Gunnu Ram Mourya