14 Jan 2023 9:45 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to keep in mind the fact as to whether any insurance amount has been received while awarding compensation to the victims or dependents in case of death or grievous injuries.“In future, whenever the DSLSA considers cases of compensation in the case of death or grievous injuries, the fact as to whether any amount...
The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to keep in mind the fact as to whether any insurance amount has been received while awarding compensation to the victims or dependents in case of death or grievous injuries.
“In future, whenever the DSLSA considers cases of compensation in the case of death or grievous injuries, the fact as to whether any amount has been received from the Insurance Company, or not, would be borne in mind while awarding the compensation to the victims or the dependents thereof,” Justice Prathiba M Singh said.
The court made the observation while directing DSLSA to release a further sum of Rs.5 lakhs, computing up to maximum amount of compensation, to the widow of an auto rickshaw driver, who passed away in a road accident on August 9, 2019.
The court said that the wife would use the amount in the manner as she deems appropriate for the welfare of the children and family.
The deceased is survived by his wife and three children - two daughters and a son, who have now attained the age of majority.
The District Victim Compensation Committee, on December 22, 2020 awarded Rs. 5 lakhs to the dependents. While Rs. 3 lakhs compensation was directed to be paid to the wife, a sum of Rs. 1 lakh each was directed to be paid to the two daughters. However, they were aggrieved by the said order and sought enhancement in the compensation.
It was the petitioners’ case that since the investigation into the death did not result in identification of any of the culprits who caused the accident, the family did not receive any insurance amount under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The court was told that one of the daughters is undergoing treatment with the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) and is unable to get any employment due to the mental trauma on account of her father’s death. Regarding the second daughter, the court was apprised that she is undertaking a course in banking. It was also submitted that son of the deceased is currently unemployed.
On the other hand, the respondent authorities submitted that under the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2018, the minimum and upper limit of compensation is Rs.3 lakhs and Rs. 10 lakhs, respectively. In this backdrop, it was submitted that the impugned order considered various factors for awarding compensation including the factor of financial loss to the victim or dependants as also the financial condition of the deceased.
Noting that the deceased, who passed away at the age of 46 years, was plying auto riskshaw in the national capital and had a reasonable monthly income, the court said it can be reasonably stated that the deceased would have been able to continue to earn income at least for the next 15 years.
“Even if the average income of the deceased is taken to be Rs.25,000/- per month, the loss of income to his family, due to the death of the deceased, would be substantial in nature,” the court said.
The court observed in such accident matters, the family of the deceased not only receives compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme, if found eligible, but compensation is also awarded to the deceased’s family by the MACT court after conducting due enquiry and on the basis of the police investigation.
It said the family of the deceased has been completely deprived of any compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, due to the non-tracing of the culprits who caused the accident.
“Considering the medical condition of the Petitioner No.3, as also, the fact that the family is currently surviving only on the income which is obtained from the auto-rickshaw, which has been rented out to a third-party, this Court is of the opinion that the compensation awarded to the Petitioners ought to be enhanced to the maximum amount of Rs.10,00,000,” the court said.
Title: SMT KAMESHWARI DEVI & ANR. v. THE STATE (GOVT. OF NCT OF DELHI) AND ORS
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 41
Click Here To Read Order