Motor Accident Claims; Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Shashi Sharma [Supreme Court of India, 23-09-2016]

Haryana Compassionate Assistance to the dependents of the Deceased Government Employee Rules, 2006 – Rule 5 (1) – The amount receivable by the dependants / claimants towards the head of pay and allowances in the form of ex-gratia financial assistance, cannot be paid for the second time to the claimants.

Haryana Compassionate Assistance to the dependents of the Deceased Government Employees Rules, 2006 –Rule 5 (2) – Other benefits extended to the dependents of the deceased Government employee including family pension, Life Insurance, Provident Fund etc., that must remain unaffected and cannot be allowed to be deducted, which, any way would be paid to the dependents of the deceased Government employee.

Employee


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

(Ranjan Gogoi) (Prafulla C.Pant) (A.M.Khanwilkar) JJ.

23rd September, 2016

CIVIL APPEAL No. 9654 /2016 (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 14312/2013)

Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd. …….Appellant

Vs.

Shashi Sharma & Ors. …….Respondents

WITH C.A. No. 9655 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 14377 of 2012, C.A. No. 9657 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 14379 of 2012, C.A. No. 9659 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 26344 of 2012, C.A.No. 9661 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 11343 of 2014, C.A. No. 9663-9664 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 14995-14996 of 2014, C.A.No. 9666 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 15320 of 2014, C.A.No. 9669 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 15343 of 2014, C.A.No. 9671 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 18308 of 2014, C.A.No. 9677 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 18574 of 2014, C.A.No. 9674 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 19924 of 2014, C.A.No. 9673 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 1539 of 2015, C.A.No. 9672 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 28423 of 2014, C.A.No. 9675 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 28201 of 2016 @ CC No. 21664 of 2014, C.A.No. 9670 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 29208 of 2014, C.A. No. 9667-9668 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 25185-25186 of 2015, C.A.No. 9665 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 19592 of 2012, C.A.No. 9662 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 35412 of 2013, C.A. No. 9660 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 15870 of 2014,C.A.No. 9658 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 1934 of 2016, C.A.No. 9656 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 36135 of 2015, C.A.No. 9676 of 2016 @ SLP(C) No. 28202 of 2016 @ CC No. 2735 of 2016.

J U D G M E N T

A.M. KHANWILKAR, J.

Delay condoned.

2. Leave granted.

3. These matters have been placed before a three Judges’ Bench in terms of order dated 7th October, 2015. This order has not formulated any specific question to be answered by the larger Bench.

4. The leading appeal challenges the judgment of the Single Judge of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh dated February 13, 2013 in FAO No.503/2012. That appeal was filed by the respondents (in appeal arising from SLP (Civil) No.14312/2013) against the Award of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Jind, in MACT Case No.136 dated 3rd November 2011. The said respondents had filed a claim petition after the death of Dr. Ashwini Sharma caused due to a motor accident on 24th October 2010 in front of Main gate of General Hospital at Jind. He succumbed to the injuries sustained in that accident. The Tribunal partly allowed the claim petition. A sum of Rs.4,50,000/- was awarded as compensation to the claimants being the dependants of deceased Dr. Ashwini Sharma; with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition till realization. The Tribunal directed the appellant-Insurance Company to pay the compensation amount as determined in the award to the claimants. The claimants, being aggrieved by the quantum of compensation fixed by the Tribunal and in particular deduction of compensation amount received by them from other source, preferred appeal before the High Court. The High Court, relying on the decision of Division Bench of the same High Court dated December 21, 2012, in the case of Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Purnima & Others, F.A.O No.1322 Of 2010 acceded to the contention of the claimants that the amount receivable by the dependents of the deceased under the

Haryana Compassionate Assistance to the dependents of the Deceased Government Employees Rules, 2006

(hereinafter referred to “Rules of 2006”) cannot be deducted from the quantum of compensation fixed by the Tribunal. On that finding, the High Court allowed the appeal of the respondents in the following terms:

“In view of the above, a sum of Rs.89,24,604/- (Rs.1,00,957/- – 15% thereof being Rs. 15,143 = Rs.85,814/- – 1/3rd thereof being Rs.28,605/- = Rs.57,209 x 12 =Rs.6,86,508/- x 13 = 89,24,604) towards loss of dependency, Rs.15,000/-towards loss of consortium of the 1st appellant, Rs.15,000/- towards loss of estate, Rs.10,000/- towards funeral expenses and Rs.5,000/- towards transportation expenses, in aggregate a sum of Rs.89,60,604/- with interest @ 7.5% for the enhanced portion of the compensation from the date of petition till the date of realization is awarded. The rate of interest applied and the mode of apportionment done by the Tribunal stands confirmed.”

5. The High Court has adopted the same reasoning to disallow deduction of compensation amount received by the claimants as per Rules of 2006 in the respective companion cases listed for analogous hearing. The sole contention advanced by the appellants – Insurance Companies, in these appeals, is that, the High Court has erred in law in disallowing the deduction of amount received by the concerned claimants under the Rules of 2006, from the quantum of compensation amount payable to the claimants under the Act of 1988.

6. As the High Court has relied on the decision of the Division Bench of the same High Court in Purnima’s case (supra), it is apposite to first advert to that decision. That decision was rendered on a reference made to a larger Bench, on a question which has been canvassed by the appellants – Insurance Companies even in the present appeals, in view of the conflicting decisions of Single Judges of the same High Court in the case of