While assessing the compensation in a motor vehicle accident death case, the tribunals must not consider the employment and pension benefits of the family members of the deceased. The High Court, accordingly, enhanced the compensation awarded to the wife of an army man, from Rs 9 lakh to Rs 23 lakhs.
A bench of Justice VL Achliya enhanced the compensation awarded to Anita Memane, who challenged the orders of a tribunal, which ordered the MSRTC to pay Rs 9 lakhs to her.
According to Anita, her husband, who was a Sipoy posted in Gwalior, died in an accident on Pune-Ahmednagar road. She told the bench that she had married her husband just a month before the accident in June 2007.
In her plea, Anita claimed that, at the time of the incident, her husband was merely 24 years old and died due to the sole negligence on the part of the MSRTC bus that dashed the couple's bike.
On the other hand, the MSRTC disputed the contention and argued that the army man died due to his own mistake, as he was speeding his vehicle and couldn't control the speed.
Justice Achliya noted that the deceased was receiving Rs 10,000 as a monthly salary. And that he was getting free meals and residential facilities at Gwalior, where he was posted.
The judge further noted that the tribunal, while assessing the compensation, erred in awarding less compensation. Notably, the tribunal, while granting Rs 9 lakh compensation, had considered that Anita would be getting pension and was employed.
Quashing the tribunal's order, Justice Achliya said, "In my view, the assessment of the compensation made by the tribunal is against the settled position in law. It is well settled
position in law that except the statutory deduction to be made towards income tax, professional tax, no other deduction is permissible under law."
"The deduction from salary of the deceased towards insurance, pensionary benefits, gratuity or grant of employment to kin of the deceased is not permissible," Justice Achliya held.
The judge further noted the plea filed by Anita's in-laws, who claimed that she was living with her parents, and was not looking after them.
Accordingly, the bench ordered MSRTC to pay 50 per cent of the compensation to the in-laws and remaining 50 per cent to Anita.