Pappu Deo Yadav v. Naresh Kumar And Ors.
CIVIL APPEAL No. 2567 OF 2020 decided on September 17,2020
Bench: L. Nageshwar Rao, Krishna Murari, S. Ravindra Bhatt, JJ.
The claimant approached the Supreme Court questioning the decision of High Court. The claimant while travelling in a bus met with an accident. The claimant at the time of accident was 20 years old and was working as a typist in the Tiz Hazari Court. He suffered permanent disability i.e. loss of his right hand (which was amputated). The extent of disability was assessed to be 89%. The tribunal and the High Court re-assessed the disability to be only 45%. Aggrieved by the assessment and amount of compensation awarded, the claimant approached the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court considered the following issues:
1. Whether in cases of permanent disablement incurred as a result of a motor accident, the claimant can seek, apart from compensation for future loss of income, amounts for future prospects too?
2. What was the extent of disability?
The claimant urged that the High Court misread and created a distinct category of cases where addition in income towards “future prospects” can only be given in case of death, and not for injury, which cannot be the intention of this court as no such observation is made.
The counsel on behalf of the insurer who contested the appeal urged this court not to interfere with the impugned judgment, and stated that the assessment of compensation was made by the High Court in conformity with this Court’s decisions. It was highlighted that permanent disability of loss of one arm, cannot lead to loss of earning capacity of up to 90% and consequently, the assessment of compensation on the head of loss of earning capacity was correctly fixed at 45%.
With regards to issue (1), the court held that the High Court was not correct in excluding the possibility of compensation for future prospects in accident cases involving serious injuries resulting in permanent disablement. The Supreme Court observed that compensation for loss of future prospects can be awarded in cases of permanent disablement incurred as a result of a motor accident. Disagreeing with the view of High Court, the court remarked that High Court should not interpret the precedents narrowly because it denies altogether the possibility of the living victim progressing further in life in accident cases.
With regards to issue (2), the court observed that, ““Courts should not adopt a stereotypical or myopic approach, but instead, view the matter taking into account the realities of life, both in the assessment of the extent of disabilities, and compensation under various heads.” Since the claimant was working as a typist, loss of one arm severely affected his income earning capacity. Thus, the court taking into consideration the aforementioned reasoning and present circumstances, held the disability of the claimant at 65%.
Thus, the court partly allowed the appeal of the claimant and ordered increased compensation.
Important Precedents in Motor Vehicle Compensation Cases
National Insurance Company Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi & Ors. (2017) 16 SCC 860
Jagdish v. Mohan & Ors (2018) 4 SCC 571
ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Ajay Kumar Mohanty, (2018) 3 SCC 686.