IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL No.3862 OF 2013
D.M., Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. ……Appellant(s)
Swapna Nayak & Ors. ……Respondent(s)
CIVIL APPEAL Nos.3863-3864 OF 2013
Swapna Nayak & Ors. ……Appellant(s)
M/s Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. ……Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1) C.A. No. 3862 of 2013 is filed by the Oriental Insurance Company
Ltd.(for short, “the Insurance Company”) and C.A. Nos. 3863-3864 of 2013
are filed by the claimants. These appeals are filed against the common
final judgment and order dated 21.09.2012 of the High Court of Orissa at
Cuttack in M.A.C.A. No.1 of 2012 and M.A.C.A. No. 62 of 2012 whereby the
Court partly allowed M.A.C.A. No.1 of 2012 filed by the Insurance Company
and, in consequence, dismissed M.A.C.A. No.62 of 2012 filed by the
2) In order to appreciate the issue involved in these appeals, which
lies in a narrow compass, it is necessary to set out the relevant facts in
3) On 16.12.2006, one Mathurananda Nayak, a resident of U.S.A., and his
mother Jita Nayak along with two others while coming from Cuttack side
towards Aredi on NH No. 5 by a car bearing Registration No. OR-02-S-0565,
collided with a truck bearing Registration No. OR-09-E-6357 driven by its
driver which was coming from Paniloili side. As a result of the said
accident, Mathurananda Nayak, Jita Nayak along with driver of the car
sustained injuries and later succumbed to the injuries on the same day.
4) The claimants in this appeal are wife and sons of the deceased
Mathurandanda Nayak, who was aged about 36 years at the time of accident.
He was working as a Senior Information System Analyst under Traci Cagle
Human Resource Representative a Xilinx Inc-2100 Logic Drive San Jose, CA-
95124, U.S.A. and was earning $97,080,60 per annum by way of salary. He
had come to India for few days when unfortunately he met with an accident
5) The legal heirs of the deceased filed two separate claim applications
for compensation under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
(hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) before the Motor Accidents Claim
Tribunal, Cuttack (for short, “the Tribunal”) being MAC No. 25 of 2007
(filed by legal heirs of Mathurananda Nayak) and MAC No. 30 of 2007 (filed
by the legal heirs of Jita Nayak) against the owner of the vehicle and the
Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. being the insurer of the truck.
6) The owner of the insured vehicle did not appear in spite of service
and the applications were proceeded ex-parte.
7) By a common Award dated 25.10.2011 in MCA No. 25 of 2007, the
Tribunal allowed the applications. So far as M.C.A. No.25 of 2007 was
concerned, the Tribunal held that the accident was caused due to rash and
negligent driving of truck driver, that the deceased was aged 36 years,
that annual income of the deceased was Rs.43,68,624/- (in Indian currency
by applying the exchange rate of Rs.45/- per dollar). The Tribunal then
applied the multiplier of 15 and after deducting 1/3rd towards personal
expenses and adding therein some amount towards conventional heads, awarded
a total sum of Rs.4,36,95,740/- to the claimants and accordingly directed
the Insurance Company to pay the awarded sum to the claimants along with
interest at the rate of 7.5% from the date of application.
8) So far as MCA No. 30 of 2007 was concerned, the Tribunal, by applying
the multiplier of 5, awarded a sum of Rs.1,29,500/- with interest at the
rate of 7.5% p.a. for the death of Jita Nayak.
9) Challenging the said award, the Insurance Company filed MACA No.1 of
2012 before the High Court and the claimants filed MACA No.62 of 2012 for
enhancement of compensation amount awarded to them by the Tribunal.
10) By impugned common judgment dated 21.09.2012, the High Court partly
allowed the appeal filed by the Insurance Company and reduced the
compensation amount of Rs.4,36,95,740/-, which was awarded by the Tribunal,
to Rs.3,75,00,000/-. It was held that the Tribunal deducted 1/3rd towards
personal expenses of the deceased but did not deduct anything towards
income tax from the salary. The High Court, therefore, interfered with the
determination made by the Tribunal and accordingly re-worked the
compensation and reduced it to Rs.3,75,00,000/-. All other findings were
withheld. As a consequence, the claimants’ appeal for enhancement of
compensation was dismissed.
11) Challenging the said judgment of the High Court, the Insurance
Company has filed C.A. No. 3862 of 2013 seeking further reduction in the
award of compensation whereas the claimants have filed C.A. Nos. 3863-3864
of 2013 seeking enhancement in the compensation.
12) Heard Mr. Vishnu Mehra, learned counsel for the Insurance Company.
None appears for the claimants though served.
13) Mr. Vishnu Mehra, learned counsel appearing for the appellant
(Insurance Company-insurer of the offending vehicle) contended that the
High Court though was right in allowing the appeal filed by the Insurance
Company in part and was also right in reducing the quantum of compensation
awarded by the Claims Tribunal from Rs.4,36,95,740/- to Rs.3,75,00, 000/-
but according to him, the High Court should have further reduced the
compensation instead of confining it to Rs.3,75,00,000/- only.
14) Placing reliance on the decisions in Bijoy Kumar Dugar vs. Bidya
Dhar Dutta & Ors., 2006 (3) SCC 242, Reshma Kumari & Others vs. Madan
Mohan And Another, 2013 (9) SCC 65 and United India Insurance Co. Ltd &
Others vs. Patricia Jean Mahajan And Others, 2002 (6) SCC 281, learned
counsel contended that the High Court erred in applying multiplier of 15
for determining the quantum of compensation payable to the claimants.
According to him, keeping in view the law laid down in the cases cited at
the bar, the multiplier of 10 at best could be applied in place of 15.
Learned Counsel further contended that in the absence of any evidence
adduced by the claimants on the issue of future prospects of the deceased
in his life, no case is made out for award of any compensation under this
15) Having heard the learned counsel for the appellant (Insurance
Company) and on perusal of the entire record of the case, we have formed an
opinion to dismiss both the appeals and, in consequence, are inclined to
uphold the order of the High Court which, in our view, does not call for
16) On perusal of the decisions cited at the bar and further having
regard to the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case and the
concurrent findings of two courts and on material issues such as the
determination of annual income of the deceased, his age, the number of
dependents etc., we do not find any good ground to interfere in the
impugned order. In our view, such findings, apart from being concurrent,
cannot be said to be, in any way, arbitrary and nor they result in awarding
a bonanza or a windfall to the claimants so as to call for further
reduction in the compensation awarded by the High Court.
17) In other words, in our view, what has been eventually awarded to the
claimants by the High Court appears to be just and reasonable compensation
within the meaning of Section 166 of the Act and there does not appear any
good ground for further enhancement under any of the heads including under
the head of future prospects as claimed by the claimants in their appeal
and nor any case is made out for further reduction by applying the lesser
multiplier or to make further deduction in the salary component of the
deceased as claimed by the Insurance Company.
18) When we find that under one head, reasonable amount has been awarded
and under another head, nothing has been awarded though it should have been
so awarded and at the same time, we notice that eventual figure of the
award of compensation payable to the claimants appears to be just and
reasonable then in such eventuality, we do not consider it proper to
interfere in such award in our appellate jurisdiction under Article 136 of
the Constitution. In other words, if by applying the tests and guidelines,
we find that overall award of compensation is just and fair, then, in our
view, such award deserves to be upheld in claimants’ favour. We find it to
be so in the facts of this case having taken note of all relevant facts and
circumstances of the case.
19) In the light of foregoing discussion, we find no merit in the
appeals, i.e., the appeal filed by the Insurance Company seeking further
reduction in the compensation and the appeals filed by the claimants
seeking enhancement in the compensation and accordingly dismiss the appeals
and, in consequence, uphold the order of the High Court calling no
20) Let the entire amount of compensation awarded to the claimants by the
High Court be paid to the claimants by the Insurance Company within one
month from the date of receipt of this judgment after adjusting the amount
already paid. No costs.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
January 23, 2017.