B.T.Krishnappa v. D.M., United Insurance CO.Ltd & ANR. (2010) INSC 1180 (30 April 2010)

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Appellant: B.T.Krishnappa Respondent: The Divisional Manager, United Insurance Company Ltd. and another. Bench: G.S. Singhvi, Asok Kumar Ganguly Date: 30 April, 2010 Facts of the case This Appeal impugns the order of the High Court of Karnataka in Miscellaneous First Appeal No. 259 of 2008 dated 20.07.2009, whereby the High Court enhanced the compensation granted by the tribunal to the appellant only to the extent of Rs.34,000/- without disclosing adequate reasons. This Court finds that the High Court did not properly consider the case for enhancement. Thus after condonation of delay, this Court passed an order dated 05.02.2010 as follows: "....Heard learned counsel for the petitioner and perused the records. We are prima facie of the view that the impugned judgment of the High Court deserves to be set aside and the matter remitted to it for fresh disposal of the Miscellaneous First Appeal filed by the petitioner because the High Court has failed to consider the issues relevant for deciding the cases involving claim for compensation. Issue Notice to the Respondents........" Pursuant thereto show because notices were issued to the respondents on 17.2.2010 and service was complete. The material facts are that appellant was working as a mason and was aged 50 years at the time of accident. On the fateful day of 08.01.2006, at about 4.30 pm, the appellant was crossing the road near Deepa Nursing Home, K.R. Puram, when a motorcycle, with the registered number plate KA-05- EW-1108 hit him. The motorcycle was being driven by the second respondent (to be known as `R2' hereinafter) at the time of the accident. As a result of the accident, the appellant sustained bone fractures as well as head and other injuries all over the body. He was taken to the Deepa Nursing Home, Bangalore where he received first aid. He was then shifted to Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, Bangalore (to be known as `Hospital' hereinafter) the same day where he was admitted and received treatment as an inpatient till 21.01.2006. He continued with the follow up treatments for about six months after his discharge. The first Respondent Insurance Company, (to be known as `R1' hereinafter) was also impleaded as a party as the motorcycle was insured with it. By the award of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (to be known as `Tribunal' hereinafter), the appellant was awarded a compensation of Rs.1,55,000/- with interest @ 7.5%. R1 was made liable to pay the compensation to the appellant. On appeal, the High Court however enhanced the compensation by only Rs.34,000/- awarding a total of Rs.1,89,000/- with interest @ 6% per annum. On a reading of the High Court order, it is clear that High Court did not consider the appellant's case properly. It accepted the Tribunal's assessment of the body disability at 20% and observed that the Tribunal has paid compensation under the heads "loss of amenities and enjoyment of life and loss of earnings during laid up period" on the lower side. However, it awarded an additional compensation only for future medical expenditures and did not deal with the aspect of future loss of earnings at all, which we feel was not a correct approach. Judgement- The High Court should have considered that appellant, being a mason, these injuries would cause considerable problem in moving his knee and ankle. PW2, in the disability certificate clearly stated: "Due to the above mentioned disabilities, he cannot walk like a normal person, cannot sit crossed leg, cannot squat, cannot lift any weight, cannot climb the stairs without support. ...I am of the opinion that the...disability is 48% of the (right) lower limb and 48% disability to the whole body. In view of this disability, the petitioner cannot do mason work and cannot do any other manual work also". Long expectation of life is connected with earning capacity. If earning capacity is reduced, which is the case in the present situation that impacts life expectancy as well. Thus, we feel that the appeal needs to be remanded to the High Court so that it can consider the matter afresh. The High Court, we expect, will consider the case of enhancement of compensation to the appellant in its proper perspective and keeping in mind the factual aspects of the case and in the light of the views expressed by this Court in several judgments. Hence, I rest case my here.