SC upholds Kerala HC ruling on distinction between “Loss to the Estate” and “Loss of Estate” [Read Judgment]
A subtle but fundamental distinction between “Loss of Estate” and “Loss to the Estate” was discussed in Omana P.K. and others v. Francis Edwin and others (2011 (4) KLT 952). This Judgment was challenged before the Apex Court, which has now dismissed the Appeal.
The question raised in this case, was whether a certain sum which the dependants received as compensation for untimely death of Judgment debtor in a motor accident is attachable in Execution Proceedings. In this case, Justice Thomas P. Joseph speaking for the Kerala High Court had held the following (relying on The Chairman, A.P.S.R.T.C, Hyderabad vs. Smt. Shafiya Khatoon and Others)
- Capitalized value of the income spent on the dependents, subject to relevant deductions, is the pecuniary loss sustained by the members of his family through his death. The capitalized value of his income, subject to relevant deductions, would be the loss caused to the estate by his death. In other words, what amount the dependents would have got less deductions if any that could be made under law is the loss to the estate of the deceased. That goes to the legal heirs of the deceased.
- Loss of estate includes compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of amenities, etc. of the deceased. That amount goes to the legal heirs by virtue ofSection 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act.
- What could be attached from the amount of compensation is the loss of estate and not the loss to the estate of the deceased.
Read the order here.