For loss of son, compensate dad too: Madras High Court

A person's name not being found in the legal heir certificate cannot be a ground to decline the grant of compensation either, the court further ruled.

Chennai: In a judgment filled with equitable sentiment, the Madras High Court ruled that a father is also entitled to compensation along with the mother for the loss of son, support and money. A person’s name not being found in the legal heir certificate cannot be a ground to decline the grant of compensation either, the court further ruled.

Setting aside the finding of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal that the father was not entitled to compensation, Justice Vimala said, “a father, who is a sufferer on account of loss of son in terms of loss of love and affection, loss of support, loss of money and loss to estate, is also entitled to compensation along with the mother”. The judge modified the award by directing the apportionment of compensation between both the claimants (father and mother) equally.

Damodaran, (30), of Sudharson Solar Systems, Salem who was earning around Rs 3,000 per month, met with an accident on October 24, 2008 and died. The parents of the deceased filed a petition before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Salem, for compensation of Rs 7 lakh. The Tribunal awarded Rs 1 lakh as compensation.

Challenging the liability to pay compensation, the Oriental Insurance Company filed the appeal, contending that the personal accident coverage under the insurance policy was available only to the owner of the vehicle in whose name, the registration certificate stands and not to each and every one of the persons driving the vehicle at the time of accident.

Dismissing the appeal, the judge said unless the terms and conditions under which the insurance policy was issued, were produced before the court, it was not possible to appreciate the contentions raised by the insurance company.

Observing that the court, conferred with power under article 226 of the Constitution of India, can’t be a silent spectator when the common man is put to immeasurable difficulty, the division bench comprising Justice M.V. Muralidharan and N.Seshasayee directed transport employees affiliated to 10 trade unions to resume work to ensure regular transport services.

The court took up the PIL moved by petitioner J. Senthil Kumariah from Madurai urgently in view of the large public interest involving a substantial number of citizens of the State who are affected without transport facilities. ‘The circumstance, in the perception of this court, is extraordinary as mobility of the citizens is greatly affected’.

The special public prosecutor informed the court that even after three government orders have been passed to address some of the outstanding issued raised by the transport employees, they went on with a strike and prevented non striking unions members from resuming service.

After perusing the government orders, the court observed that the government had met almost about 50 percent of the total amount that was required to be paid to the superannuated employees of the various transport corporations.

“This court also can’t brush aside the submission of the government pleader that the government has undertaken to meet the remaining demands of the transport corporation vis-a-vis, the payment of balance outstanding terminal benefits within a time frame of about three months”, the court observed.

“This court is now required to balance the right of the trade union to go on strike and the interest of the public at large, whose right is totally paralysed by the ongoing strike. With the government responding with a package to address the demands of the striking trade union to the extent of about 50 %, there is no reason for the trade union not to resume work,”

Stating that the striking trade unions can’t hold to ransom the larger public interest, the court observed that they fail to see justice or fairness in their strategy.

Though the court has directed the chief secretary of State government and the principal secretary to the government, Tamil Nadu State Corporation Ltd to invoke the provision of ESMA act, the judges said that the reasonable opportunity, as provided in the Act, should also be considered in case the reasons attributed were genuine and acceptable.

The judges directed the authorities to report compliance of the order before the court tomorrow at 10.30 am. The court also recalled a similar order passed by the court recently when the government doctors went on strike throughout the state.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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