NEW DELHI: Remarking that courts should take a liberal view in awarding compensation to victims who are left 100% disabled and also suffer mental disabilities after road accidents, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended its helping hand to one such child and awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation with 7.5% interest per annum. The total amount could come to about Rs 1 crore as the accident took place in 12 years ago.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said a child who suffers severe disability is to be compensated also for the loss of marriage prospects and loss of income which he would have earned after attending majority and that amount be decided on the basis of minimum wage fixed by the state government for skilled labours.
In this case, the child had met with a very serious accident in 2010 when he was five years old. He was not able to move both his legs after the accident and had complete sensory loss in the legs, urinary incontinence and bowel constipation. He became bed-bed ridden and dependent on others. Referring to SC’s earlier verdict, the bench said, “...the courts or the tribunals assessing the compensation in a case of 100% disability, especially where there is mental disability also, should take a liberal view of the matter when awarding the compensation”.
Taking into account his medical condition, the bench enhanced the compensation amount more than three times from Rs 13.46 lakh awarded by the Karnataka HC, which did not grant compensation on the count of loss of marriage prospects and loss of future earnings due to disability. The SC awarded Rs 49.93 lakh compensation, out of which Rs 11.18 lakh was given for loss of future earnings and Rs 3 lakh for loss of marriage prospects.
“...In view of the physical condition, the appellant is entitled to one attendant for the rest of his life though he may be able to walk with the help of an assistant device. The device also requires to be replaced every five years. Therefore, it is reasonable to award cost of two devices, i.e. Rs.10 lakh. The appellant has not only lost his childhood but also adult life,” it said.
The bench calculated loss of income on the basis of minimum wage prevailing in Karnataka in 2010 for skilled labour, which was Rs 3,700 per month, with 40% for future prospects. “Thus, the compensation works out to be Rs 3,700 plus 40%, which amounts to Rs 5180 per month. The multiplier of 18 would be applicable in view of the age of the appellant. The loss of future earnings due to the permanent disability for life thus works out to be Rs 11,18,880,” it said.
The court said out of the total amount, Rs1 0 lakh would be disbursed to his father and the rest of the amount would be invested in one or more fixed deposits receipts and the interest amount shall be payable to his guardian every month.