The New India Assurance Company Limited v. Smt. Somwati and Ors.
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3093 OF 2020
Decided on 07.09.2020
Bench: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy, JJ.
Facts: The appeals have been filed by the three insurance companies’ viz. New India Assurance Company Limited, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd. and The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. against the judgements of the High Courts arising out of the award by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal with regard to the compensation awarded in favour of the claimants under the heads of “loss of consortium” and “loss of love and affection”. In this appeal, the grant of compensation under two heads has been challenged and the award of consortium to parents and children has also been challenged.
Contention of the appellants:
Contention of the respondents:
The appellants contended that the Constitution bench of this court has laid down in National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi & Ors., 2017 that there are only three conventional heads namely (i) loss of estate (ii) loss of consortium (iii) funeral expenses for which compensation can be awarded and the total amount under conventional heads is 70,000 and it could not exceed this amount. They also contended, that the constitution bench has only referred to spousal consortium and no other consortium and that the amount granted under the head of “loss of love and affection” is without jurisdiction. It was further contended that the amount granted under the head “consortium” cannot be more than Rs.40, 000 and such amount of consortium is payable only to the wife and not to children and parents.
The respondents contended that the awards to each of the claimants under the head “consortium” is in accordance with the law and the awards under the head “consortium” cannot be given a narrow interpretation. Therefore, the amount under the head “consortium” has rightly been given to children and parents along with the wife.
Issue: Whether the compensation under the claim for award of compensation under Section 166 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 can be awarded for both “loss of consortium” and “loss of love and affection”?
Held: The Court held that the ‘loss of love and affection’ is comprehended in ‘loss of consortium’, hence there is no justification to award compensation towards ‘loss of love and affection’ as a separate head. The Constitution bench of this court in Pranay Sethi case has also not included compensation towards ‘loss of love and affection’ under any conventional head, and this is further reiterated by three judge bench of this court in United India Insurance Company Ltd v. Satinder Kaur alias Satvinder Kaur, 2020.
Therefore, no compensation can be awarded under the separate head ‘loss of love and affection.’
ISSUE: Whether only the wife is entitled for consortium or the consortium can be awarded to children and parents also?
HELD: The consortium is not limited to spousal consortium and it also includes parental consortium as well as filial consortium. The Court also held that the judgement of Pranay Sethi cannot be read to mean that it lays down the proposition that the consortium is payable only to the wife. The court noted that the three judge bench in United India Insurance Company Ltd. v. Satinder Kaur alias Satvinder Kaur (2020) has categorically laid down that apart from spousal consortium, parental and filial consortium is payable.