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Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation v. C.Saraswathi - C.M.A.(MD).No.3338 of 2003  RD-TN 2016 (20 June 2007)
BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT
DATED : 20/06/2007
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE K.RAVIRAJA PANDIAN
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE P.R.SHIVAKUMAR
C.M.A.(MD).No.3338 of 2003
C.M.P.(MD).No.6055 of 2004
Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation,
(Madurai Division I) Ltd.,
rep. by its Managing Director,
Bye Pass Road,
Madurai. ... Appellant Vs
4.State Express Transport Corporation,
(Tamil Nadu DivisionI) Ltd.,
rep. by its Managing Director,
(R-5 given up) ... Respondents Civil Miscellaneous Appeal filed under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act against the Judgment and Decree dated 28.06.2000 made in M.C.O.P.No.557/99 by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (Principal District Judge), Karur.
For Appellant .. Mr.D.Sivaraman For Mr.Rajnish Pathiyil For RR-1 to 3 .. Mr.K.Kannan
For 4th Respondent .. No Appearance
(Judgment of the Court was delivered by
This Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is directed against the judgment and award dated 28.06.2000 passed in M.C.O.P.No.557/1999 by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (Principal District Judge), Karur by which a sum of Rs.10,90,000/- has been awarded as compensation to the claimants, the dependants and legal heirs of the deceased Chithambaram, who died in an accident that took place on 24.03.1996.
2. The owner of the offending vehicle, namely the appellant Transport Corporation resisted the claim both on the question of negligence as well as quantum of compensation claimed by the claimants.
3. The Tribunal, after enquiry, held that the accident was the result of the rash and negligent driving of the bus belonging to the appellant Transport Corporation and mulcted the liability to pay compensation on the appellant. Taking the age of the deceased to be 41 years as on the date of accident and monthly income of the deceased at Rs.9,000/-, the Tribunal applied multiplier '15' and awarded a total sum of Rs.10,90,000/- as compensation. The said amount was directed to be paid by the appellant together with an interest at the rate of 12 per annum from the date of claim till realisation.
4. The correctness of the assessment of compensation is put in issue in this appeal by the appellant Transport Corporation.
5. We have heard the submissions made by Mr.D.Sivaraman, learned counsel for the appellant and also by Mr.K.Kannan, learned counsel for respondents 1 to 3.
6. Admittedly, it is a case of collision of two vehicles. One belonging to the appellant, namely the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Madurai Division-I and the other belonging to the fourth respondent, namely the State Express Trnasport Corporation (Tamil Nadu Division-I), Chennai. Even though the appeal has been preferred challenging the finding of the Tribunal on the question of negligence also, the learned counsel for the appellant has not canvassed anything regarding the challenge made to the award on the question of negligence. The learned counsel fairly conceded that the finding of the Tribunal regarding the question of negligence can be confirmed. Hence there is no need to traverse the pleading and evidence regarding the said aspect and the finding of the Tribunal holding the driver of the bus belonging to the appellant Transport Corporation responsible for the accident is hereby confirmed.
7. Coming to the question of quantum of compensation, it is the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that the Tribunal committed an error in fixing the monthly income of the deceased at Rs.9,000/- whereas P.W.1, the wife of the deceased, in her evidence, admitted that actually no income tax was paid during the life time of her husband. It is not in dispute that the deceased was aged about 41 years as on the date of his death and that he was doing business as partner in totally 9 partnership firms. Documents have been produced to evidence the investment of a total amount of Rs.70,000/- in 3 partnership firms. Of course documents regarding investment in other partnership firms have not been produced on the side of the claimants. But it is a fact not in dispute that the deceased was a partner in totally 9 partnership firms. According to the learned counsel for the appellant, the income derived from the partnership business cannot be taken to be the earning of the deceased which alone shall be taken into account for deciding the loss of dependency occasioned to the claimants. It is the further contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that the investment made by the deceased in the said partnership firms are intact and the same income would have been derived by the claimants even after the death of the deceased.
8. This Court applied its mind to the above said contention of the learned counsel for the appellant, we are of the considered view that though the amounts invested in the partnership firms would have been kept intact even after the death of the deceased, the entire income derived from the partnership firms cannot be treated as either interest or mere dividend paid to the deceased. On the other hand, even a partner who does not take part in the day-to-day activities of the firm will be paid a remuneration for attending the meeting. If such an aspect is taken into account, the remuneration paid to the deceased in seven partnership firms can be taken at the minimum of Rs.1,000/- per firm. In case of two partnership firms in which a lesser amount would have been invested, we can take it as Rs.500/- per month. If such a calculation is made, then the total earnings of the deceased as on his date of death can be easily arrived at Rs.8,000/-. Hence, we fix the monthly earnings of the deceased at the time of his death at Rs.8,000/- per month.
9. Regarding the multiplier selected by the Tribunal, we do not find any infirmity or discrepancy, as the same is in accordance with the second schedule attached to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The only additional item awarded as compensation by the Tribunal is Rs.10,000/- towards loss of love and affection as against which, the appellant does not have any grievance. Therefore, we are of the considered view that the ends of justice will be met by reducing the compensation for loss of dependency based on the above said assessment of monthly income of the deceased at Rs.8,000/- instead of Rs.9,000/- as fixed by the Tribunal. Consequently, the annual income is fixed at Rs.8,000 x 12 = Rs.96,000/-. Deducting Rs.32,000/- representing 1/3rd of the above said amount, the loss of annual dependancy and benefits is assessed at Rs.64,000/-. Multiplying the same by the selected multiplier '15', the compensation for loss of dependancy and benefit is fixed at Rs.9,60,000/-. Adding Rs.10,000/- awarded by the Tribunal as compensation for loss of love and affection, the total amount of compensation to which the respondents 1 to 3 are entitled is fixed at Rs.9,70,000/-.
10. In the result, this Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is allowed in part and the compensation awarded by the Tribunal is reduced to Rs.9,70,000/- from Rs.10,90,000/-. Subject to the above said modification, the award of the Tribunal shall stand confirmed in all other respects. Consequently the connected miscellaneous petition is closed. No costs.
The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal
(Principal District Judge),
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