Chennai: Pointing out that even in the absence of appeal/cross-appeal by the claimants, the high court has got power and jurisdiction to enhance the compensation, the Madras High Court has enhanced the compensation of Rs 14.57 lakh awarded by the tribunal to the dependents of a deceased, who died in a road accident, to Rs 17.83 lakh.
A division bench comprising Justices N. Kirubakaran and R. Pongiappan dismissed the appeal filed by the State Express Transport Corporation Limited, as against the quantum of compensation awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal as well as the liability fastened on the Transport Corporation for the death of K. Babu in the accident which occurred on March 26, 2013, in which the motor cycle driven by him was hit down by the transport corporation bus.
The claim of the claimants was that the deceased K. Babu was riding his motorcycle on March 26, 2013, along with Sathish Kumar as a pillion rider and the bus belonging to State Express Transport Corporation driven rashly and negligently came from behind and hit the motor cycle resulting in the death of Babu.
However, the transport corporation claimed that when the bus was proceeding near the over bridge at Rayakottai road in Hosur to Krishnagiti NH road, the deceased who was riding the motor cycle, in a rash and negligent manner, dashed on the wheel of the bus, fell down and died.
The bench said when the eye-witness to the occurrence, has spoken categorically that the bus alone caused the accident by hitting the two-wheeler from behind, the tribunal rightly found that the accident had occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of the bus. Therefore, the finding rendered by the tribunal, on the negligence aspect, was based on evidence and the same cannot be disturbed, the bench added.
Noting that the tribunal did not consider awarding future prospects while fixing the monthly income of the deceased, the bench said as per the judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, 40 percent of the actual salary has to be added towards future prospectus since the deceased was a self employed person aged 26 years. Accordingly, adding 40 per cent towards future prospectus and applying the multiplier method, the bench arrived at a compensation of Rs 17.83 lakh.
The bench said though the appeal has been preferred by the transport corporation, the facts and circumstances of the case, enables this court to enhance the compensation awarded by the tribunal from Rs 14.57 lakh to Rs 17.83 lakh by re-appreciating the evidence on record and applying the correct position of law, as on date.
“Moreover, the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act are beneficial in nature and what is required to be awarded is just and reasonable compensation. Therefore, even in the absence of appeal/cross-appeal by the claimants, this court has got power and jurisdiction to enhance the compensation, which has been recognised by the Supreme Court”, the bench added.