The Delhi High Court has held that the right of a widow to claim compensation on account of death of her husband due to motor vehicle accident will not abate on remarriage, and that she was entitled to equal share as the parents of the deceased for 'loss of dependency'.
Holding thus, her share was enhanced from Rs. 3,00,000 as awarded by the Tribunal, to Rs. 56,00,000/-.
"re-marriage of a widow has nothing to do with her right to and claim for compensation, for the loss which accrued to her on account of unnatural demise of her husband," Justice Najmi Waziri remarked while holding that the Tribunal ought to have awarded equal share to the widow as was awarded to the deceased's parents.
The Tribunal had awarded Rs. 1,68,39,642/- along with interest in favour of the deceased's claimants, i.e., his widow and his parents. However, the widow had been apportioned only Rs. 3,91,054.47/-.
The court noted that the Tribunal had not compensated the wife for "loss of love and affection" and "loss of consortium". "There is no persuasive reason stated in the impugned order for the starkly disproportionate apportionment against the widow," Justice Waziri remarked.
Reliance was placed on Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Nanu Ram @ Chuhru Ram & Ors.
The court directed that the widow was entitled to equal, i.e., 1/3rd share of the awarded amount of Rs. 1,68,39,642/-. Thus, she was granted Rs. 56,13,214/- compensation, on the following reasoning,
"The calculation of loss of dependency was on the basis of her dependency on her deceased husband; her loss is equal to the loss of dependency suffered by her parents-in-law. Her decision to re-marry was entirely her personal choice, over which nobody can have any say. Her right to claim compensation crystallized upon her husband's life being tragically snatched away in the motor accident. Therefore, simply because she has now re-married, her claim does not abate or lessen.
Who can judge whether the second marriage was not a compromise because of her personal circumstances and whether it would have the same value emotionally and psychologically as the first marriage. Her entitlement fructified when the dependency was calculated. Therefore as an aggrieved widow, she would be entitled to a share of compensation apropos "loss of dependency" of equal amount to her parents-in-law, who had lost their son."
Case DetailsTitle : Dincy Devassy v United India Insurance Co LtdCase No : MACA No 26/2019Coram : Justice Najmi WazriAppearances : Advocates Siddharth Sharma and Anu Mehta, and the Respondents by Advocates DD Singh and SN Parashar.
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