Table of Content:-
- Background of the case
- Issues Raised
- Submissions of the Parties
- Judgment Analysis
- Case Laws:-
- Nagappa v. Gurudayal Singh & Others, [(2003) 2 SCC 274]
- Sapna V. United India Insurance Co. Ltd ANR [(2008) 7 SCC 613]
- Mallikarjun v. Divisional Manager, National Insurance Company Limited & Another [(2014) 14 SCC 396]
- Kajal V. Jagdish Chand & Ors. [(2020) 4 SCC 413]
HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co. Ltd. vs Mukesh Kumar & Ors. [Civil Appeal No. 4577/ 2021]
Background of the case
On 25th August 2017, respondent no. 1 had met with an accident as the result of which his right lower limb was permanently disabled. He was 19 years of age when he met with an accident. The Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) had assessed the compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs for his loss of amenities, life, and disfigurement. The compensation amount would also include his treatment for his prosthetic limb.
While the case referred in appeal the learned High Court passed the impugned order which reads as follow:
“With consent, the impugned award dated 22.01.2020 passed by the learned MACT in Petition No.129/2018, is modified to the extent that the claimant/R-1 shall be supplied a prosthetic limb of good quality which is suitable and comfortable to him. It shall carry a lifetime warranty. Should it be required to be replaced/ repaired at any stage, the insurance company will do so. The insurer will enquire from the victim, at least twice a year, as to the working condition of the prosthetic limb, through his e-mail address and telephone number, as well as through his counsel’s e-mail address and telephone number. The details are as under:-
|Claimant’s/ R 1’s Mobile No
Claimant’s/ R 1’s Email Address
|Counsel’s Mobile No.
|Counsel’s Email Address
In case of any difficulty apropos the prosthetic limb, the claimant may intimate the insurer through e-mail addresses and/ or telephone numbers of three officers of the insurer, as supplied to him. These details shall be provided to the claimant within 2 weeks from today.
It will be open to the claimant to communicate the quotation or estimate for a suitable prosthetic limb to the insurance company at the e-mail addresses and telephone numbers provided by the learned counsel for the insurer. The impugned order is modified to this extent.”
Whether directions can be passed by the court while determining compensation under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 in a manner of the direction in perpetuity for continued maintenance of a prosthetic limb for the injured claimant?
Statutory Provisions Involved
- Motor Accident Act, 1988
- Public interest Litigation
Submissions of the Parties
The Contentions of the appellants
- It was submitted that the consent was given for the modification of the impugned order and not for the prosthetic limb to carry a life for prosthetic limb warranty.
- Further, it was added that as per the impugned directions if any repair or replacement has been done in such case the expense for the same would be bear by the insurance company.
- Furthermore, it was the duty of the insurer to inquire from the victim about the prosthetic limb twice a year via the email address or the mobile phone no. as specified therein.
- The counsel relied upon two judgments Nagappa v. Gurudayal Singh & Others, [(2003) 2 SCC 274]and Sapna V. United India Insurance Co. Ltd ANR [(2008) 7 SCC 613], and had contended that after the compensation has been granted then there is no provision for passing further award once the final order has been passed and the future eventualities must be taken into consideration.
- Further, the reliance has been put Mallikarjun v. Divisional Manager, National Insurance Company Limited & Another [(2014) 14 SCC 396]which deals with children suffering on account of the motor accident.
The contentions of the respondents
- It was submitted that there should be a provision regarding to paying a lump sum amount in respect of maintenance and replacement of the prosthetic limb.
The court considers the impugned directions of the High Court for examination. The court put the stay on impugned directions issued by the High Court on 15th February 2021. The court further observed that “Future medical expenses required to be incurred can be determined only on the basis of fair guesswork after taking into account increase in the cost of medical treatment.” The court stated that the process of determination of compensation cannot be done while the mandamus had been continued. In fact, the determination of compensation must be done in one go.
Further, the court by accepting the submission of the respondent set aside the paragraph 7, 8, and of the said impugned directions. The court further relied upon the decision of the Kajal V. Jagdish Chand & Ors. [(2020) 4 SCC 413] that in relation to the extreme injuries to the mental and physical health of the victim.
The court further noticed that after the impugned order passed by the court dated 8th December 2020 the matter was pending since then by issuing a notice to GNCTD to examine whether there is any government policy in respect of a permanently disabled person whose parents are not economically stable.
The court set aside the paragraph 8 to 10 of the impugned order. Further, the court held that the court relied upon the government policy framed in that regard is out of their jurisdiction while determining the amount of the compensation under motor accident claim proceedings under the motor vehicle accident act, 1988 but on a large canvas, it can be taken under public interest litigation.
The court allowed the civil appeal on the account of the parties to bear their own costs.