NEW INDIA ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED vs. SOMWATI
Case Number: Civil appeal NO. 3093 of 2020 arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 23478 of 2019
Judges Name: Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan J, R Subhash Reddy J
Order dated: 07.09.2020
Facts of the case:
These appeals raising common questions of law have been heard together and are being decided by this common judgment.
- All these appeals have been filed by three Insurance Companies, i.e., New India Assurance Company Limited, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd. and The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. questioning the judgments of the High Courts arising out of the award by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) with regard to the compensation awarded in favour of the claimants under two heads, i.e., “Loss of Consortium” and “loss of love and affection.”
- Ram Jiyawan, the husband of Smt. Somwati died in a Motor Vehicle accident on 06.12.2001 leaving behind his widow Smt. Somwati and seven minor children. Claim petition No.7 of 2002 was filed under Section 166 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, claiming compensation of Rs.15,25,000/-. The MACT by award dated 22.03.2003 allowed a claim of Rs. 1,67,000/- with 9% interest. An appeal was filed by Smt. Somwati Devi and others in the High Court being F.A.F.O.No.1894 of 2003.
- The High Court allowed the appeal of the claimants and awarded a compensation of Rs.12,54,000/-. Against the judgment of the High Court dated 25.02.2019, this appeal has been filed by the Insurance Company. The grant of compensation under two heads has been challenged in this appeal, i.e., item No. (vi) and (viii), which are to the following effect: – “(vi)Loss of love and affection= Rs.4,00,000/-(Rs. 50,000/- to each of the eight claimants). (viii) Loss of Parental Consortium to claimant/appellant nos.2 to 8= Rs.2,80,000/-(Rs. 40,000/- to each of the claimants).”
- This Court while issuing notice on 24.04.2019 passed following order: – “O R D E R Delay condoned. Issue notice returnable in four weeks limited to the issue whether both consortium and loss of love and affection could have been awarded by the High Court in this case. Dasti service, in addition, is permitted. Until further orders, there shall be stay of 2 payment of the compensation amount payable to the claimants towards clause (vi) of the impugned judgment which reads as under: “Loss of love and affection=Rs. 4,00,000/- (Rs. 50,000/- to each of the eight claimants)”
- In pursuance of notice issued by this Court, the respondents have appeared and filed reply as well as written submissions.
- In this appeal, the grant of compensation under two heads has been challenged and the award of consortium to parents and children has also been challenged.
Whether the compensation under the claim for award of compensation under Section 166 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 can be awarded for both “loss of consortium” and “loss of love and affection”? whether only the wife is entitled for consortium can be awarded under the separate head “loss of love and affection”.
Supreme Court held:
- The supreme court held that the “loss of love and affection” is contemplated in loss of consortium, hence there is no justification to award compensation towards ‘loss of love and affection’ as a separate head. The Constitution bench of this court in Pranay Sethi case also not included compensation towards ‘loss of love and affection’ under any conventional head, and this is further reiterated by three judge bench of this court in United India insurance Company ltd. vs Satinder Kaur Alias Satvinder Kaur, 2010. Therefore, no compensation can be awarded under the separate head ‘loss of love and affection’.
- It further held that the consortium is not limited to spousal consortium and it also includes parental consortium as well as filial consortium. The Court held that the judgement of Pranay Sethi cannot be read to mean that it lays down the proposition that the consortium is payable only to the wife. The court noted that the three judge bench in United India Insurance Company Ltd. vs Satinder Kaur alias Satvinder kaur (2020) has categorically laid down that apart from spousal consortium, parental and filial consortium is payable.