17 April 2023 6:59 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has awarded over Rs. 65 lakh enhanced compensation to a woman who met with a motor-vehicular accident in 2011 when she was an 11-year-old school going girl. The accident has left her wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. Jyoti Singh was earlier awarded over Rs. 47 lakhs by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT).Observing that she would suffer “social and...
The Delhi High Court has awarded over Rs. 65 lakh enhanced compensation to a woman who met with a motor-vehicular accident in 2011 when she was an 11-year-old school going girl. The accident has left her wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. Jyoti Singh was earlier awarded over Rs. 47 lakhs by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT).
Observing that she would suffer “social and personal embarrassment” because of her “uncontrolled bowel movement”, Justice Najmi Waziri said that a just and fair compensation is to be awarded so that she is put in a position as close as to what she could have been without the injury.
“The award is enhanced by Rs.65,09,779/-. The total compensation awarded to the appellant-Jyoti Singh is Rs.1,12,59,389/- payable @7.5% p.a. w.e.f. 10.03.2008 i.e. the date of filing of the claim petition before the MACT, till its realization,” the court ordered.
As the amount of Rs.5,80,093 was already paid towards medical expenses to her, the court directed that the rest of enhanced amount be paid in eight weeks.
The court was hearing two appeals moved by Jyoti Singh as well as the ICICI Lombard General Insurance Corporation Limited challenging the compensation awarded by the MACT in 2011.
While Jyoti sought enhanced compensation on the ground that she had suffered 100% disability, the insurer contended that the awarded amount was on the higher side.
The award of compensation was impugned on the ground that many pecuniary heads were not duly considered by the MACT and that the claims were declined without any sustainable justification.
While disposing of the appeals, Justice Waziri observed that the two medical opinions clearly establish that Jyoti was suffering from “100% functional disability.”
“Her medical condition is even more aggravated because she has virtually no control of her bladder and bowel movements. She will require regular suppositories for bowel movements, regular exercise, regular urine evaluation for culture and evaluation of kidney function to exclude any renal failure. Since she is debilitated below the stomach, she would need diapers all the time and bowel monitoring, to ensure that she remains continent i.e. there is no leakage of bowel from the rectum,” the court noted.
Observing that the alertness and care would need to be maintained for all her life, the court noted that the doctors had said that Jyoti’s peculiar medical condition necessitated a special diet or high fibre diet.
“These are all additional expenses related to her lifelong medical condition. Such condition is not associated with the daily life of an ordinary person. Since these are special expenses, they need to be provided for a lifetime of hardship,” the court said.
The court awarded enhanced compensation under various heads including reimbursement regarding lifetime sanitary expenses; expenses towards attendants, special diet, future earnings, physiotherapy and wheelchair; loss of marriage prospects and expectation of life or loss of amenities of life and pain and suffering.
While hearing the matter, Justice Waziri had previously observed that the non-availability of enabling infrastructure for persons with disability is glaring and apparent throughout Delhi. The court had then ordered for a Social Disability Audit to be conducted by the Delhi Government for assessing the public infrastructure, including roads and other modes of transportation with regard to accessibility for persons with disabilities.
Case Title: JYOTI SINGH v. NAND KISHORE & ORS
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 319
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