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In case the just compensation is more than the amount claimed, that must be awarded especially where

Kajal v Jagdish Chand and Ors., Civil Appeal No.735 of 2020 arising out of SLP(civil) No. 15504 of 2019 – February 05, 2020.

The Bench comprising of the Justice. L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta allowed the appeal by enhancing the relief claimed by the appellant.

Kajal, a young girl was hit by a truck which was driven rashly while travelling on a tractor with her parents and has suffered severe injuries resulting in damage to her brain. Because of head injury, the appellant, minor was left with a very low I.Q. and her mind will remain of a 9 month old baby where disability has been assessed as 100%. Basically she will not understand what is happening all around her.The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) has awarded Rs. 11,08,501/- and the High Court enhanced the amount to Rs. 25,78,501/-.

Here the court has decided the amount of compensation in terms of provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The act requires “determination of payment of Just compensation and it is the duty of the court to ensure that she is paid compensation” which is Just by referring the case, K.Suresh v New India Assurance Company Ltd and ors.

 The damages may vary according to the gravity of the injuries sustained by the claimant in an accident. On account of the injuries, the claimant may suffer consequential losses such as (i) loss of earning; (ii) expenses on treatment which may include medical   expenses,   transportation,   special   diet, attendant charges etc., (iii) loss or diminution to the pleasures of life by loss of a particular part of the body, and (iv) loss of future earning capacity. Damages can be pecuniary as well as non-pecuniary, but all have to be assessed in Rupees and Paise.

The Court stated that;

On the one hand, the compensation should not be assessed very conservatively, but on the other hand, compensation should also not be assessed in so liberal a fashion so as to make it a bounty to the claimant. The court while assessing the compensation should have regard to the degree of deprivation and the loss caused by such deprivation. Such compensation is what is termed as just compensation.

The court held that the sum of Rs. 62,27,000/- shall carry an interest @7,5% per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till payment or deposit of the amount. The amount of compensation is made based on the guidelines followed in General Manager, State Road Transport Corporation, Trivandrum v Susamma Thomas and ors, where the amount payable to the minors should not be normally released.  The guidelines protect the rights of the minors, claimants who are under some disability.

Here the court is of view that “the amount awarded by us is more than the amount claimed” and in Motor Accident claim petitions, the court must award Just compensation, and in case, the Just compensation awarded is more than the amount claimed, that must be awarded especially where the claimant is a minor.

Thus the appeal was disposed of in above said terms.

View/ Download the Judgment: Kajal v Jagdish Chand and Ors

– Prithisha S

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