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Fixing notional income in Accidental claim at 15k/annum for non-earning is not just and reasonable : Allahabad HC

In a recent Judgment Allahabad High Court held that fixing notional income of Rs.15,000 per annum for family’s non-earning members for awarding accidental death compensation is not just and reasonable.

A Division Bench of Justice Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Justice Ajai Tyagi was hearing an appeal filed by the parents of a 7-year-old deceased. The parents had preferred the appeal for enhancement of quantum against the order of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal whereby they had been awarded Rs.1,80,000 as compensation with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum.

Taking Apex Court’s ruling in Kurvan Ansari @ Kurvan Ali and another Vs. Shyam Kishore Murmu and another, 2021, In this case, the Hon’ble Apex Court has stated that in spite of repeated directions, Scheduled-II of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is not yet amended. Therefore, fixing notional income of Rs.15,000/- per annum for non earning members is not just and reasonable.

 It is further stated by the Apex Court that in view of the judgments in the cases of Puttamma and others Vs. K.L. Narayana Reddy and another, 2014 (1) TAC 926 and Kishan Gopal and another v. Lala and others, 2013 (4) TAC 5. It is a fit case to increase the notional income by taking into account the inflation, devaluation of the rupees and cost of living. 

The bench held, “In this case, the Hon’ble Apex Court has stated that in spite of repeated directions, Scheduled-II of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is not yet amended. Therefore, fixing notional income of Rs.15,000/- per annum for non earning members is not just and reasonable.”

Bench further added that referring to another Supreme court’s judgment in Puttamma and others Vs. K.L. Narayana Reddy and another (2014) and Kishan Gopal and another v. Lala and others (2013), the highest court had took the notional income of the deceased at Rs.25,000/- per annum, hence we are of the considered view that notional income of the deceased must be assumed Rs.25,000/- per annum as he was non-earning member.

With the aforesaid observations, the Hon’ble Apex Court took the notional income of the deceased at Rs.25,000/- per annum, hence we are of the considered view that notional income of the deceased must be assumed Rs.25,000/- per annum as he was non-earning member. Accordingly, when the notional income is multiplied with applicable multiplier ‘15’ as prescribed in Scheduled-II for the claims under Section 163-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, it comes to Rs.3,75,000/- towards loss of dependency. The appellant nos.1 & 2 are also entitled to a sum of Rs.40,000/- each towards filial consortium and Rs.15,000/- funeral expense. Hence, the appellant nos.1 and 2 are entitled to the following amount towards compensation;

(i)Loss of Dependency : 25,000/- X 15 = Rs.3,75,000/-

(ii) Filial consortium : 40,000/- X 2 = Rs.80,000/-

(iii) Funeral expenses : Rs.15,000/-

(iv) Total compensation : Rs.4,70,000/-

On March 18th, 2018 claimant Roop Lal was walking with his son and at that time, a truck, which was being driven very rashly and negligently by its driver, hit his son from behind due to which he fell on the road and front wheel of the truck ran over him. Lal’s son sustained fatal injuries and died on the spot. He was only a child of aged about 7 years. 

Thereafter, a Motor Accident Claim was filed, in which the Tribunal had awarded a sum of Rs.1,80,000 as compensation to the claimants with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum. Feeling aggrieved, the father had moved to High Court in its appellate jurisdiction.

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