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Yadava Kumar vs. The Divisional Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd. & Another dated 2010-08-31

                                                    REPORTABLE

 
 

               IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 
 

              CIVIL APPEAL NO.7223 OF 2010

      (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No.1827 of 2010)

 
 
 

Yadava Kumar                                    ..Appellant(s)

 
 
 

                          Versus

 
 
 
The Divisional Manager,
National Insurance Co. Ltd. & Another          ..Respondent(s)
 
 
 

                        J U D G M E N T

 
 
GANGULY, J.
 
 
 
1.   Delay condoned.
 
 
2.   Leave granted.
 
 
 

3.   Assailing   the    Division    Bench    judgment    of   the

 

     Karnataka   High     Court    dated    12.8.2009,   whereby

 

     compensation of Rs.52,000/- granted by the Tribunal

 

     was enhanced to Rs.72,000/-, this appeal claiming

 

     higher compensation was filed by the appellant.

 
 

                              1


4.   The    Hon'ble       High    Court          has    awarded       compensation

 

     under the following heads:

 
 
     1.    Towards pain and suffering: Rs.20,000/-
 

     2.    Loss     of     income           from       the      period      of

 

           treatment: Rs.9,000/-

 
     3.    Towards        medical           expenses,           conveyance,
 

           nourishing          food     and       attendant       charges:

 
           Rs.8,000/-
 
     4.    Towards loss of amenities: Rs.35,000/-
 

           Total: Rs.72,000/- + 8% p.a. interest from

 

           the date of the petition till realization.

 
 
 

5.   The    material       facts      of      the       case    are    that,       the

 

     appellant, a painter by profession, was 30 years old

 

     at    the    time    of     sustaining         the      injury    in     a   road

 

     accident which took place on 24th March 2003 while

 

     the appellant was standing on the side of Nagavara

 

     Ring    Road    to    cross      it     from       south    to    north.      The

 

     offending Tempo bearing No.KA-04-C/6030 came at a

 

     great speed from west to east and hit the appellant

 

     as a result of which he fell down and sustained

 

     several injuries. The appellant was rushed to Al-

 

     Habeeb       Hospital      where       he    was     treated.      The       claim

 

     petition was filed on 3rd February, 2006.

 
 
                                        2

6.   About the nature of the injury sustained by the

 

     appellant, the evidence of PW-2 Dr. S. Ranjanna,

 

     Orthopaedic Surgeon, Bowring & Lady Curzon Hospital,

 

     Bangalore   is    very    crucial.   PW-2    examined   the

 

     appellant on 26.11.05. As per the wound certificate

 

     and X-ray report of Al-Habeeb Hospital, Bangalore,

 

     PW-2   noted     that    the   appellant    sustained   the

 

     following injuries:

 
 

        "(1) Fracture of distal end of left radius

        with   fracture of   left ulnar styloid
        process.
 

             (2) Fracture of distal end of right

        radius with mild diastases is Radioulnar

        joint and soft tissue swelling around wrist

        joint."
 
 
 

7.   Even on examination on 26.11.05,which is after two

 

     and a half years after the date of incident, PW-2

 

     found the following injuries on the appellant:

 

        (1) Deformity of right wrist

        (2) Limitation of right wrist movements by

            40%

        (3) Limitation of right forearm movements

            by 30%

        (4) Wasting of right forearm muscles by 3

            cms

        (5) Weak Right hand grip

        (6) Limitation of left wrist movement by

            25%
        (7) Tenderness over left wrist
 
 
 
                               3

        (8) Instability of left in favour of Radio

            ulnar joint

        (9) Weakness of left hand

 
 
 

8.   PW-2   opined    that    in        view   of   the    injuries   the

 

     appellant cannot perform any hard work, cannot lift

 

     any weight and cannot perform any work smoothly and

 

     after referring to various guidelines in manual PW-2

 

     opined that the appellant has disability of 33% of

 

     right upper limb and 21% to left upper limb and 20%

 

     total disability of the whole body. In view of such

 

     disability, appellant cannot work as a painter and

 

     cannot do any other manual work also. In cross-

 

     examination     also    PW-2       admitted    that   even   if   the

 

     appellant continues his old vocation as a painter,

 

     he has to do it with difficulty.

 
 
 

9.   Both the Tribunal and the High Court have failed to

 

     incorporate any thing by way of compensation in the

 

     category of `loss of future earnings' in spite of

 

     recognizing the fact that there is disability of 33%

 

     in the right upper limb, 21% in the left upper limb

 

     and 20% in respect of the whole body, which does not

 

     allow the appellant to paint as he did earlier.

 
 
 
 
                                    4

10.   The Second Schedule under Section 163A of the Motor

 

      Vehicles Act, 1988 gives a structured formula for

 

      the calculation of compensation in accident cases.

 

      Section 5 of the Schedule deals with disability in

 

      non-fatal accidents and reads as follows:

 

      "5. Disability in non-fatal accidents:

 

            The   following   compensation shall   be

            payable in case of disability to the

            victim arising out of non-fatal accidents:

            Loss of income, if any, for actual period

            of disablement not exceeding fifty two

            weeks.
 

            PLUS either of the following:-

 

            (a)      In   case   of   permanent   total

                     disablement the amount payable

                     shall    be    arrived    at    by

                     multiplying the annual loss of

                     income    by     the    Multiplier

                     applicable to the age on the date

                     of determining the compensation,

                     or

 
            (b)      In case of permanent partial

                     disablement such percentage of

                     compensation which would have

                     been payable in the case of

                     permanent total disablement as

                     specified under item (a) above.

 

                     Injuries deemed   to result   in

                  Permanent Total Disablement/Permanent

                  Partial Disablement and percentage of

                  loss of earning capacity shall be as

                  per   Schedule   I under   Workmen's

                  Compensation Act, 1923."

 
 

11.   Thus, the multiplier method is to be applied in

 

      cases of injuries also and it has been applied in a

 

                              5


      number of accident cases by High Courts and this

 
      Court.
 
 
 

12.   This Court in Sunil Kumar Vs. Ram Singh Gaud and

 

      others - 2008 ACJ 9, awarded compensation in case of

 

      injury for loss of future earnings and applied the

 

      multiplier method for calculation of the same. The

 

      same principle was recognized by this Court in Priya

 

      Vasant Kalgutkar Vs. Murad Shaikh & Ors. - AIR 2010

 
      SC 40.
 
 
 

13.   In Mukesh Kumar Sharma Vs. Ramdutt and Ors. - 2006

 

      ACJ   1792,        Madhya    Pradesh   High   Court    applied    the

 

      multiplier method keeping in mind the percentage by

 

      which    the       injured    person's   earning      capacity    was

 

      reduced.       A    similar    calculation    was     made   by   the

 

      Division Bench of Karnataka High Court in Syed Nisar

 

      Ahmed      Vs.       The      Managing    Director,      Bangalore

 

      Metropolitan Transport Corporation - 2003 5 Karn.

 
      L.J. 186.
 
 
 

14.   In this case, the appellant has sustained a fracture

 

      of distal end of left radius with fracture of left

 

      ulnar styloid process and fracture distal end of

 
 
                                      6

      right radius with mild diastosis and soft tissues

 

      swelling around wrist joint. The doctor has assessed

 

      the disability at 33% in respect of the right upper

 

      limb and 21% towards left upper limb and 20% in

 

      respect    of   the     whole    body,   which    prevents    the

 

      appellant from painting in view of multiple injuries

 

      sustained by him.

 
 
 

15.   The Hon'ble High Court while granting compensation

 

      refused to award any amount towards loss of future

 

      earning. Though that point was specifically urged

 

      before    the   Hon'ble     High   Court,   the   Hon'ble    High

 

      Court     refused     any   compensation    towards   loss     of

 

      future earning by, inter alia, holding that:

 

         "We are of the view that, the said

         submission has no force for the reason

         that, the appellant has not produced an

         iota   of document to substantiate his
         stand."
 
 

16.   We are unable to agree with the aforesaid view of

 
      the High Court.
 
 
 

17.   While assessing compensation in accident cases, the

 

      High Court or the Tribunal must take a reasonably

 

      compassionate view of things. It cannot be disputed

 

      that the appellant being a painter has to earn his

 
                                   7

      livelihood by virtue of physical work. The nature of

 

      injuries      which    he    admittedly        suffered,     and      about

 

      which the evidence of PW-2 is quite adequate, amply

 

      demonstrates      that       carrying        those   injuries         he   is

 

      bound    to    suffer       loss   of    earning       capacity       as    a

 

      painter and a consequential loss of income is the

 
      natural outcome.
 
 
 

18.   It     goes     without       saying     that        in    matters         of

 

      determination of compensation both the Tribunal and

 

      the     Court     are        statutorily         charged         with       a

 

      responsibility of fixing a `just compensation'. It

 

      is    obviously       true   that   determination           of    a     just

 

      compensation cannot be equated to a bonanza. At the

 

      same    time     the     concept        of     `just      compensation'

 

      obviously suggests application of fair and equitable

 

      principles and a reasonable approach on the part of

 

      the Tribunals and Courts. This reasonableness on the

 

      part of the Tribunal and Court must be on a large

 

      peripheral field. Both the Courts and Tribunals in

 
      the    matter of this exercise should be guided by
 

      principles of good conscience so that the ultimate

 

      result become just and equitable (See Mrs. Helen C.

 
 
 
 
                                     8

      Rebello         and     others      Vs.       Maharashtra     State          Road

 

      Transport Corpn. and another - AIR 1998 SC 3191).

 
 
 

19.   This Court also held that in the determination of

 

      the   quantum          of     compensation,        the     Court    must       be

 

      liberal and not niggardly in as much as in a free

 

      country law must value life and limb on a generous

 

      scale    (See         Hardeo      Kaur    and    others     Vs.    Rajasthan

 

      State Transport Corporation and another - (1992) 2

 
      SCC 567).
 
 
 

20.   The High Court and the Tribunal must realize that

 

      there      is    a     distinction        between     compensation            and

 

      damage. The expression compensation may include a

 

      claim      for         damage       but       compensation         is        more

 

      comprehensive.           Normally        damages    are     given       for    an

 

      injury      which        is      suffered,       whereas     compensation

 

      stands on a slightly higher footing. It is given for

 

      the atonement of injury caused and the intention

 

      behind grant of compensation is to put back the

 

      injured         party       as   far     as     possible    in     the       same

 

      position, as if the injury has not taken place, by

 

      way   of    grant       of       pecuniary      relief.     Thus,       in    the

 

      matter of computation of compensation, the approach

 
 
                                          9

      will be slightly more broad based than what is done

 

      in the matter of assessment of damages. At the same

 

      time it is true that there cannot be any rigid or

 

      mathematical        precision          in      the        matter    of

 

      determination of compensation.

 
 
 

21.   Going by these principles, as we must, this Court is

 

      constrained    to    observe       that       in    this    case   the

 

      approach of the High Court in totally refusing to

 

      grant any compensation for loss of future earning is

 

      not a correct one.

 
 
 

22.   This Court could have remanded the matter to the

 

      High Court for assessment of compensation on the

 

      aforesaid lines but the accident took place in March

 

      2003   and     a    remand        to    the        High    Court   for

 

      determination of compensation will further delay the

 

      matter. Therefore, to shorten litigation, and having

 

      regard to this Court's power under Article 142 of

 

      the Constitution to do complete justice between the

 

      parties, this Court itself assesses the compensation

 
      as follows:
 
 
 
 
                                   10

      Therefore, in the present case, the loss of future

 

      income   may     be    calculated   using   the   multiplier

 

      method as follows:

 

          Income of the appellant (as accepted by the

          High Curt) is Rs.3,000/- p.m. Therefore, the

          yearly income is Rs.36,000/-.

 

          Multiplier according to age (30 years) as per

          Schedule is 17.

 

          Thus,the total comes to:

          Rs.36,000/- x 17 = Rs.6,12,000/-.

 

          Percentage of disablement is 20%

 

          Therefore, loss of future earnings would come

          to Rs.1,22,400/-.

 
 

23.   If this is added to the compensation provided by the

 

      High     Court        in   other    categories,    the   total

 

      compensation comes to Rs.1,22,400/- + Rs.72,000/-,

 

      that is Rs.1,94,400/-.

 
 
 

24.   This Court, therefore, grants a lump sum of Rupees

 

      Two Lakhs by way of compensation plus 8% interest as

 

      granted by the High Court.

 
 
 

25.   The appeal is allowed to the extent indicated above.

 

      There will be no order as to costs.

 
 
 
 
                                   11

                  .....................J.

                  (G.S. SINGHVI)

 
 
 
 

                  .....................J.

                  (ASOK KUMAR GANGULY)

 
 
New Delhi
August 31, 2010
 
 
 
 
                  12

 


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