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{Civil Appeal Nos. 9070-9071 of 2022}

(Arising out of a Special Leave Petition (Civil) Nos. 481-482 of 2019)

CitationILR 14 Cal 64
Date of Judgement9th December, 2022
CourtSupreme Court of India
Case TypeMotor Vehicles Act, 1988
AppellantMohd. Sabeer @ Shabir Hussain
RespondentU.P. State Road Transport Corporation
BenchJustice Krishna Murari; Justice S. Ravindra Bhat
Referred“In any accident in which a person has suffered from permanent disabilities must be compensated not only for pecuniary losses but also for the non- pecuniary one” 


In the aforementioned case, the appellant, who was a 37 years old scrap dealer with a monthly income of Rs. 10,000/- only, was travelling in a bus coming from his home town at Noor Pur, Gajrola. The bus was being driven in a rash and negligent manner by the driver (Respondent No. 1), as a result of which the bus collides with a standing tempo which was parked on the left side of the road, thus causing severe injuries to the appellant and other passengers.

The appellant, as per the Disability Certificate, suffered permanent disability of 70% in his right lower limb among other injuries to his body. 

Seeking a compensation of Rs. 20,00,000/- for the loss suffered by him the Appellant approached the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Delhi II, Dwarka Court, New Delhi, wherein the Tribunal agreed that the injuries to the appellant were caused due to the negligence of the driver, and he i.e.the appellant should be awarded a compensation of Rs. 15,76,465/- along with an annual interest of 7.5%.

Being dissatisfied from the decision of MACT, the appellant filed a petition for the same before the High Court of Delhi on the grounds that MACT has failed to calculate the loss of earning, future prospect and has done wrong computation of appellants disability. To this the High Court responded by assessing the functional disability of only 35% while as per the Disability Certificate the Appellant was permanently disabled by 70% and thus modified the award and enhanced it to only Rs. 16,70,932/- with an annual interest of 9%, thus leading to the disposal of the appeal. The review petition of granting him the compensation of Rs. 20,00,000/- was again dismissed by the High Court of Delhi.

The impugned case was then brought before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.


Before the Apex Court the following issue was:

  1. What quantum of damages should be awarded to the Appellant for the loss suffered by him?


Appellant’s Argument: In the impugned case the Learned Counsel for the Appellant argued that the High Court has wrongfully assessed the loss of income due to disability to be 35% only while it is actually a way more than that because as per the Disability Certificate, he was 70% permanently disabled in his right lower limb, thus being unable to walk, drive his vehicle or to lift any heavy weight. 

The compensation which was granted to him for the repairs, maintenance and purchase of the Artificial Leg was just Rs. 5,20,000/- which is not sufficient as the Artificial Leg alone costed Rs. 2,60,000/- and it would last only for 5-6 years not only this but also it requires repair after every 6 months and the costing of which is Rs. 15,000- 20,000/-, and since the appellant is aged only 37 years, he will require the limb for the rest of his life.

In addition to all this, the amount which was estimated to compensate him for the pain and agony suffered by him and the loss due to disability and disfigurement were also inadequate.

Respondent Argument: The Learned Counsel for Respondent pointed out the fact that since there is an increment in the Income Tax Return of the appellant despite of the disability which clearly concludes that there is no loss of income to him due to this disability and the High Court was correct in not granting future prospects. Additionally, he also argued that since the work of the appellant didn’t require much movement, therefore, his disability would not affect his earning capacity.


The Apex Court was of the view that while granting compensation the courts should also consider the socio-economic condition of the claimant as it has a very major role to play. Additionally, the purpose of compensation should be to put the claimant in the position he was in prior to the accident. Thus, the courts/tribunals should be liberal while granting compensation.

The Apex Court, answered the question regarding the quantum of compensation to be awarded by analyzing the following factors: 


Citing the case of, Sandeep Khanuja V. Atul Dande and Anr. the bench opined to firstly, assess that whether the disability caused to him has any adverse effect on the earning capacity or the monthly income of the appellant. In furtherance to this the court also highlighted a para from the case of Raj Kumar Vs. Ajay Kumar & Anr., clarifying that the percentage or the extent of loss of future earnings should not be equated with the percentage or extent of permanent disability rather the Courts/Tribunal must assess the effect of permanent disability on the earning capacity in terms of percentage using the standard multiplier method.


The bench, granted an addition of 40% as future prospect to the compensation amount payable to the appellant by the insurer, saying that the High Court has in dereliction with the laws which states that in cases of permanent disability resulting from a motor accident an individual is entitled to not only for loss of earning but also for the future prospect, failed to apply the quantum of future prospect while estimating the compensation amount, merely on the reasoning that despite of the disability there is an increment in the ITR of the appellant which indicates that there was no loss of earning caused to the appellant. 


The bench was of the opinion that the amount granted by the High Court for the purchase, maintenance and repairs of the prosthetic leg was inadequate as it would last for 15 years only while the appellant is just 37 years old and has a long life to live ahead.

Since the purpose of giving compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act is to restore the individual to the position prior to the accident, the bench, therefore, granted him Rs. 7,80,000/- for the artificial leg and Rs.5,00,000/- for its repair and maintenance.


As per the bench the amount estimated for the non-pecuniary damages was not enough to cover up the pain, agony, sufferings, inconvenience of the appellant and his family. The court also mentioned a case in this respect, R.D. Hattangadi v. Pest Control (India) (P) Ltd., wherein the court held that: the amount of compensation should be ascertained by assessing both the pecuniary as well as non-pecuniary damages that the individual has suffered due to the accident. The pecuniary losses include those losses that could be calculated in monetary terms such as medical expense, loss of earning etc., unlike the pecuniary losses the non-pecuniary losses couldn’t be assessed through arithmetical calculations, these include damages for mental and physical shock, pain and suffering that the individual has already suffered or might suffer in future, damages for the loss of expectation of life etc.. 

Relying on the aforementioned decision the court estimated the amount under this head to be Rs.6,00,000.

After analyzing the aforementioned facts and circumstances the bench modified the impugned judgement of the High Court and granted a compensation of Rs.38,70,120/-under various heads along with an interest of 9% per annum from the date of making the application.




This article is written by Agrima Singh of University of Lucknow, intern at Legal Vidhiya

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