whether the High Court was right in applying multiplier 14 for determining compensation amount in a motor accident claim case in reference to the age of parents of the deceased whilst relying on the decision of this Court in Ashvinbhai Jayantilal Modi Vs. Ramkaran Ramchandra Sharma and Anr.1 = the appellants are justified in insisting for applying multiplier 18.- In Sarla Verma (supra), at paragraph­19 a twoJudge Bench dealt with this aspect in Step 2. To quote: “19.xxxx xxxxxx xxxx Step 2 (ascertaining the multiplier) Having regard to the age of the deceased and period of active career, the appropriate multiplier should be selected. This does not mean ascertaining the number of years he would have lived or worked out for the accident having regard to several imponderables in life and economic factors, a table of multipliers with reference to be age has been identified by this Court. The multiplier should be chosen from the said table with reference to the age of the deceased.”

1

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO.7176 OF 2015

Sube Singh and Anr. …. Appellants

Versus

Shyam Singh (Dead) and Ors. ….Respondents

J U D G M E N T

A.M. Khanwilkar, J.

1. The sole question to be answered in this appeal is:

whether the High Court was right in applying multiplier 14 for

determining compensation amount in a motor accident claim

case in reference to the age of parents of the deceased whilst

relying on the decision of this Court in Ashvinbhai

Jayantilal Modi Vs. Ramkaran Ramchandra Sharma and

Anr.1

?

2. Briefly stated, in a motor accident which occurred on

22.09.2009, Ajit Singh, who was at the relevant time 23 years

of age died. His parents, who were in the age group of 40 to 45

1 2015 (2) SCC 180

2

years, filed a petition claiming compensation. The Motor

Accident Claims Tribunal held that the established income of

the deceased was around Rs.4,200/­ per month and after

deduction of 50% as the deceased was unmarried, calculated

the same as Rs.2,100/­ per month. Thereafter, it applied

multiplier 15, taking the age of the “parents of the deceased”

into consideration. This was challenged by the appellants by

way of an appeal before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana

at Chandigarh, being FAO No.330 of 2012 (O&M) which was

partly allowed in relation to other heads of compensation. As

regards multiplier applied for determination of loss of future

income, the High Court held that multiplier 14 will be

applicable. For that, the High Court relied on the decision of

this Court of (Two Judge Bench) in Ashvinbhai Jayantilal

Modi (supra). Resultantly, the appellants have filed the

present appeal, questioning the correctness of the conclusion

so reached by the High Court.

3. According to the appellants, the correct multiplier to be

applied in the facts of the present case is 18, as the deceased

3

was only 23 years of age on the date of accident. To buttress

this submission, reliance is placed on the decision in Sarla

Verma (Smt.) and Others Vs. Delhi Transport Corporation

And Anr.2

. Reliance is also placed on the recent judgment of

this Court (Three Judge Bench) in the case of Munna Lal

Jain and Anr. Vs. Vipin Kumar Sharma and Ors.3

, which

has restated the legal position that multiplier should depend

on the age of the deceased and not on the age of the

dependents.

4. On the basis of the finding recorded by the Tribunal and

affirmed by the High Court, it is evident that the deceased was

23 years of age on the date of accident i.e. 22.09.2009. He was

unmarried and his parents who filed the petition for

compensation were in the age group of 40 to 45 years. The

High Court, relying on the decision in the case of Ashvinbhai

Jayantilal Modi (supra), held that multiplier 14 will be

applicable in the present case, keeping in mind the age of the

2 2009 (6) SCC 121

3 2015 (6) SCC 347

4

parents of the deceased. The legal position, however, is no

more res integra. In the case of Munna Lal Jain (supra)

decided by a three Judge Bench of this Court, it is held that

multiplier should depend on the age of the deceased and not

on the age of the dependants. We may usefully refer to the

exposition in paragraph Nos. 11 and 12 of the reported

decision, which read thus:

“11. The remaining question is only on multiplier. The

High Court following Santosh Devi (supra), has taken 13

as the multiplier. Whether the multiplier should depend

on the age of the dependents or that of the deceased, has

been hanging fire for sometime; but that has been given a

quietus by another three Judge Bench decision in

Reshma Kumar (supra). It was held that the multiplier is

to be used with reference to the age of the deceased. One

reason appears to be that there is certainty with regard

to the age of the deceased but as far as that of

dependents is concerned, there will always be room for

dispute as to whether the age of the eldest or youngest or

even the average etc. is to be taken. To quote

“36.In Sarla Verma, this Court has

endeavoured to simplify the otherwise

complex exercise of assessment of loss of

dependency and determination of

compensation in a claim made under Section

166. It has been rightly stated in Sarla Verma

that the claimants in case of death claim for

the purposes of compensation must establish

(a) age of the deceased. (b) income of the

deceased; and (c) the number of dependents.

To arrive at the loss of dependency, the

5

Tribunal must consider (i)

additions/deductions to be made for arriving

at the income; (ii) the deductions to be made

towards the personal living expenses of the

deceased; and (iii) the multiplier to be applied

with reference to the age of the deceased. We

do not think it is necessary for us to revisit

the law on the point as we are in full

agreement with the view in Sarla Verma.”

12. In Sarla Verma (supra), at paragraph­19 a twoJudge

Bench dealt with this aspect in Step 2. To quote:

“19.xxxx xxxxxx xxxx

Step 2 (ascertaining the multiplier)

Having regard to the age of the deceased and

period of active career, the appropriate

multiplier should be selected. This does not

mean ascertaining the number of years he

would have lived or worked out for the

accident having regard to several

imponderables in life and economic factors, a

table of multipliers with reference to be age

has been identified by this Court. The

multiplier should be chosen from the said

table with reference to the age of the

deceased.”

Considering the aforementioned principle expounded in Sarla

Verma (supra), which has been affirmed by the Constitution

Bench of this Court in National Insurance Company Ltd. Vs.

Pranay Sethi and Ors.4

, the appellants are justified in

insisting for applying multiplier 18.

4 AIR 2017 SC 5157

6

5. A priori, we direct the respondents to pay compensation by

applying 18 multiplier, instead of 14 applied by the High Court.

In other words, considering the amount of annual contribution

to the deceased’s family determined at Rs.37,800/­ and applying

multiplier 18, the compensation would work out to

Rs.6,80,400/­ (Rupees six lakh eighty thousand four hundred

only), instead of Rs. 5,29,200/­ determined by the High Court.

The amount of compensation under other heads determined by

the High Court in paragraph 5 of the impugned judgment would

remain undisturbed. The rate of interest is, however, modified to

9% (nine percent) per annum instead of 6% per annum granted

by the Tribunal and High Court. The order passed by the High

Court stands modified to the aforementioned extent.

6. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed in the aforementioned

terms with no order as to costs.

.………………………….CJI.

(Dipak Misra)

…………………………..….J.

(A.M. Khanwilkar)

…………………………..….J.

(Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud)

New Delhi;

February 09, 2018.