Hyderabad: In a significant judge ment, the Hyderabad High Court awarded Rs 14.88 lakh compensation to the family of a 22-year-old man who was killed in a road accident.
Justice N. Balayogi was allowing an appeal by Ms Shaik Tata Lakshmi, mother of the victim, Shaik Kareem, and four others from his family. Kareem was run over by a RTC bus in Visakhapatnam on September 13, 2006.
The family approached the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal at Visakhapatnam which awarded Rs 2.49 lakh against the claim of Rs 10 lakh. Ms Lakshmi stated that her son was healthy, had passed his ITI exam as a fitter and was working with the National Contracting Company Limited at Saudi Arabia. He used to earn salaries ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per month.
She told the tribunal that her son used to send the family Rs 10,000 every month. The tribunal assessed his monthly income at Rs 3,000 per month without considering the monthly remittance to his mother’s account.
Referring to Kareem’s return to India, the tribunal said that the very fact that he had returned to India showed the troubles that expatriate employees were facing, “starving without employment and living miserably as can be seen from the recent news and information.” Several people who have gone abroad were suffering, it said.
Aggrieved by the award, the family moved the High Court, contending that the amount was meagre and all claimants were dependant on Kareem’s income. While allowing the appeal, Justice Balayogi found fault with the tribunal for “importing personal knowledge” in determining the award.
The judge said the findings of the tribunal were “perverse, hypothical, without any admissible or reliable evidence.” He said that if Kareem was alive, he could have great prospects and could have helped his family.
The judge noted that Class IV employees were getting minimum wages from Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000 per month depending on their service, and junior assistants Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000.
Considering this, the judge said that Kareem’s salary could be taken as Rs 6,000. Setting aside the award of the tribunal, the judge directed the APSRTC to pay Rs 14.88 lakh compensation to Kareem’s family. Inte-rest was to be paid from November 10, 2006, at 7.5 per cent interest within one month from date of receipt of the order.