Madras High Court Bench at Madurai rejected the verdict given by Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation Tribunal and increased the compensation awarded to the accident victim’s family by a lower court.
The case was related to a woman fruit vendor aged 60, who was killed in an accident on 28 January 2010 after being hit by a car. Her sons demanded compensation, as they were completely dependent on their mother. The tribunal awarded Rs. 1 lakh as compensation and directed the National Insurance Company to give it to her two sons.
According to the Tribunal, the woman was 60 years old and would not have been in a position to earn for her family and would have been dependant on her sons. Allowing an appeal by two sons of the woman, who was earning around Rs. 3,000 a month, Justice S Vimala agreed with appellant’s counsel that though the deceased was aged, her sons were dependant on her and she was heading the family.
"Just because the petitioners have attained majority it cannot be concluded that they cannot be dependents. Maybe the nature of dependency may vary, depending upon needs of the children. But it can never be said they could not be the dependants," the media reports added.
Justice S Vimala increased the compensation awarded by a lower court from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2.31 lakh. The Judge said considering the evidence she was earning Rs. 3,000 a month, deducting Rs. 1,000 for her personal expenses, the monthly dependency would be Rs. 2000. Total compensation towards loss of dependency would come to Rs. 2.16 lakh.
The Judge said the Tribunal could take note of the fact there were old persons on wheelchairs, seen on moving trains and markets, sitting and doing business.
"Just because the deceased was aged the contention that she was not earning cannot be accepted. When there is escalation in costs, nobody can afford to sit and eat. In this case there is positive evidence, as contended by the appellants that their mother was engaged in fruit selling,” the media reports said.
The Tribunals are not expected to be blind to the private evidence and to act on presumptions. This type of approach towards award of compensation would frustrate the object of legislation.