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‘Fix compensation after considering service period’

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: In a landmark judgment, the Karnataka High Court on Friday held that if there was convincing evidence in a motor vehicle accident case that the victim, if in employment, had a long service period, it would be improper for lower courts to only take his income at the point of his death for assessing loss of dependency (compensation).

A Division Bench comprising Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Keshavanarayana said lower courts, particularly Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), must assess the service period of the victim and also consider his promotion and pay revision before assessing compensation.

The judgment will be a boon to the kin of those killed in road accidents. The Bench passed this order on an appeal by Hemavathy (22), wife of Lokesh, a police constable, who died on August 10, 2002, when a motorcycle he was riding was hit by a jeep on Hosur Road here. The MACT had awarded a compensation of Rs. 5.85 lakh to Ms. Hemavathy. She had filed an appeal against this order in the High Court.

Enhancing the compensation to Rs. 13 lakh, the Bench noted that Lokesh was 28 years old at the time of his death and that he had more than 30 years of service left. It said the MACT had erred in only taking his salary at the point of his death to calculate the compensation amount.

It said Lokesh would have got at least two promotions if he had completed his service tenure. He would have also benefited from pay revisions and salary hikes.

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