New Delhi: Twelve years after a 19-year-old medical student was crushed under the wheels of a truck in Ahmedabad, the Supreme Court has awarded compensation of Rs.27,25,000 with an annual interest of 9 percent holding that deceased was a diligent and outstanding student and ascertaining his future income at Rs.25,000 per month.
Awarding the compensation, an apex court bench of Justice V.Gopala Gowda and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said: "The deceased was a diligent and outstanding student of medicine who could have pursued his M.D. after his graduation and reached greater heights."
Pointing to the academic brilliance of the deceased medic, the court in its recent judgment said: "Today, medical practice is one of the most sought after and rewarding professions. With the tremendous increase in demand for medical professionals, their salaries are also on the rise. Therefore, we have no doubt in ascertaining the future income of the deceased at Rs.25,000 p.m. i.e. Rs.3,00,000 p.a."
The deceased student, Raj Ashvinbhai, succumbed to injuries after a truck crushed his two wheeler July 12, 2002.
The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals had awarded compensation of Rs.18,59,200 which was scaled down to Rs. 11,39,200 by the Gujarat High Court. In both the cases, it was coupled with nine percent interest per annum from the date when parents of the deceased had filed application for accident claim.
Enhancing the compensation, the court erred both the Tribunal and the High court in not following the principles laid down by the apex court for determining the "loss of love and affection" to the parents of the deceased medic by awarding a mere sum of Rs. 15,000.
The apex court enhanced it to Rs.100,000.
Similarly, the apex court hiked the funeral expanses from Rs.5,000 awarded by the Tribunal and maintained by the High court to Rs.25,000.
The court also set aside the the contributory negligence in the accident set at 20 percent on the deceased medic holding that from the evidence produced on record, the two-wheeler of the deceased was dragged up to a stretch of about 20-25 feet on the road after the collision with the offending truck.
"We do not see any direct evidence that shows negligence on the part of the deceased that led to the accident," the court said setting aside the 20 percent contributory negligence.
The Tribunal had in fact calculated the compensation at Rs.223,24,000 but after deducting 20 percent contributory negligence (assumption of negligence of deceased medic in the occurrence of accident) the final compensation came to Rs.18,59,200.
Similarly, the High court by a different parameter determined the compensation at Rs.14,04,000 and after deducting 20 percent contributory negligence the final compensation awarded by the High court came to Rs.01,39, 00.