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Motor Accidents Claim - Minimum Wage Notification Not An Absolute Yardstick To Fix Income Of Deceased In Absence Of Salary Certificate : Supreme Court

Srishti Ojha
3 Oct 2021 9:44 AM GMT
Motor Accidents Claim - Minimum Wage Notification Not An Absolute Yardstick To Fix Income Of Deceased In Absence Of Salary Certificate : Supreme Court
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While deciding on compensation to be paid in a case of motor vehicle accident, Supreme Court has observed that merely because claimants were unable to produce documentary evidence to show the monthly income of the deceased, the same does not justify adoption of lowest tier of minimum wage while computing the income."In absence of salary certificate the minimum wage notification can be a...

While deciding on compensation to be paid in a case of motor vehicle accident, Supreme Court has observed that merely because claimants were unable to produce documentary evidence to show the monthly income of the deceased, the same does not justify adoption of lowest tier of minimum wage while computing the income.

"In absence of salary certificate the minimum wage notification can be a yardstick but at the same time cannot be an absolute one to fix the income of the deceased. In absence of documentary evidence on record some amount of guesswork is required to be done. But at the same time the guesswork for assessing the income of the deceased should not be totally detached from reality", the Court observed in the case Chandra @ Chanda versus Mukesh Kumar Yadav and others.

A Bench comprising Justice Subhash Reddy and Justice Hrishikesh Roy made the observations in plea seeking enhancement of compensation filed by parents of the deceased who died in a motor vehicle road accident. The deceased was a driver of a heavy vehicle. The  challenged the Tribunal's computation of compensation by fixing the monthly income of the deceased by adopting minimum wage notified for the skilled labour in the year 2016. Based on the notification, the Tribunal fixed the income as Rs.5746.

As the High Court rejected their appeal for enhancement of compensation, they approached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court at at the outset found that the Rajasthan High Court by a cryptic order dismissed the appeal preferred by the appellants without considering the various grounds raised in the appeal

The Bench has observed that case of the claimants is that the deceased was possessing heavy vehicle driving licence and was earning Rs.15000 per month, and possession of such licence and driving of heavy vehicle on the date of accident is proved from the evidence on record.

The Bench has found that there is no reason to discard the oral evidence of the wife of the deceased who had deposed that her deceased husband was earning around Rs.15000/­ per month.

With regard to the Tribunal's decision to fix the monthly income of the deceased by adopting minimum wage notified for the skilled labour in the year 2016, the Court has observed that in absence of salary certificate the minimum wage notification can be a yardstick but at the same time cannot be an absolute one to fix the income of the deceased.

"In absence of documentary evidence on record some amount of guesswork is required to be done. But at the same time the guesswork for assessing the income of the deceased should not be totally detached from reality." the Bench said.

"Merely because claimants were unable to produce documentary evidence to show the monthly income of Shivpal, same does not justify adoption of lowest tier of minimum wage while computing the income", the Court stated.

Keeping in mind the enormous growth of vehicle population and demand for good drivers and by considering oral evidence on record, the Court fixed the monthly income of the deceased as Rs. 8000 per month.

 While allowing the appeal, the Bench has found the claimants to be entitled for compensation of Rs.14,33,664, and the appellant parents to total compensation of Rs.4,13,964/.

 Case Details

Case Title : Chandra @ Chanda versus Mukesh Kumar Yadav and others

Citation : LL 2021 SC 532

Click here to read/download the judgment





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