The fundamental objective of the Motor Vehicles Act is to regulates all aspects of road transport vehicles including legislative provisions regarding licensing of drivers/conductors, registration of motor vehicles, control of motor vehicles through permits , special provisions relating to state transport undertakings, traffic regulation, insurance, liability, offences and penalties, etc. With an exponential increase in the quantum of vehicles plying on the roads, accidents are bound to happen on account of various evitable and inevitable factors. The Supreme Court, in the SLP of Anant Son of Sidheshwar Dukre Versus Pratap Son of Zhamnnappa Lamzane and Another, enhanced the compensation awarded to the victim by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal by almost three times the amount awarded stating reasons of non-fulfilment of the restoration of aggrieved person to the position prior to the accident on the basis of the amount awarded by the High Court which was challenging the award granted by the Tribunal.
The Appellant met with an accident on account of negligence on part of the Respondent No 1 who was driving his car on the wrong side of the road. The collision of the two vehicles resulted in the Appellant subjected to Permanent Disability of upto 75% and was granted an compensation for a mere amount of Rs. 7,00,000/- along with interest @7% from filing of the claim petition as against the amount of Rs. 20,00,000/- claimed by the Appellant. The High Court increased the amount of compensation to Rs. 14,65,500/- by using the multiplier method which was not implemented by the Tribunal.
The Bench comprising of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Indu Malhotra, whilst hearing the contentions of the Appellant, observed that:
“5. In cases of motor accidents leading to injuries and disablements, it is a well settled principle that a person must not only be compensated for his physical injury, but also for the nonpecuniary losses which he has suffered due to the injury. The Claimant is entitled to be compensated for his inability to lead a full life, and enjoy those things and amenities which he would have enjoyed, but for the injuries.
- The purpose of compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act is to fully and adequately restore the aggrieved to the position prior to the accident.”
Further reference was placed on the judgment of the Apex Court in Yadav Kumar v. The Divisional Manager, National Insurance Company Ltd. which explained “just compensation” as follows:
“It goes without saying that in matters of determination of compensation both the Tribunal and the Court are statutorily charged with a responsibility of fixing a ‘just compensation’. It is obviously true that determination of a just compensation cannot be equated to a bonanza. At the same time the concept of ‘just compensation’ obviously suggests application of fair and equitable principles and a reasonable approach on the part of the Tribunals and Courts. This reasonableness on the part of the Tribunal and Court must be on a large peripheral field.”
The Hon’ble Court allowed the appeal and fixed the amount of compensation at Rs. 20,29,000/- with simple interest @ 9% from the date of filing of the application before the MACT till the date of realisation.
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