The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in United India Insurance Co. Ltd. versus Satinder Kaur @ Satwinder Kaur &Ors. ; with Satinder Kaur @ Satwinder Kaur & Ors. Vs. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. , has in unequivocal terms laid down that there is no justification to award compensation towards loss of love and affection and loss of consortium separately, as the latter includes the former.
The three-judge bench of Hon’ble Justice(s) Indu Malhotra, SA Nazeer and Aniruddha Bose was deciding the issue of determination of compensation in a motor vehicle accident case while adjudicating appeals filed, both by the insurance company and the claimant. The bench reiterated the judicial dicta qua assessment of compensation in the fatal case and held that age, the number of dependents left by the deceased and the income of the deceased at the time of death is required to be considered whilst determining the compensation.
The bench further observed that in order to ensure uniformity and consistency whilst awarding the compensation, the steps stated hereunder are required to be followed:
1. Ascertaining the multiplicand;
2. Ascertaining the multiplier;
3. Actual calculation
Furthermore, the bench placed reliance on the judgment passed by the Constitution Bench in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi & Ors. and emphasized that the Constitution Bench has recognized only three conventional heads for awarding the compensation i.e. loss of estate, loss of consortium and funeral expenses. The Hon’ble Court also laid reliance on Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Nanu Ram & Ors. , in which the Supreme Court has interpreted “consortium” to be a compendious term that encompasses spousal, parental and filial consortium. Loss of love and affection is comprehended in loss of consortium and compensation under the separate heading is unjustified.
The Hon’ble bench, while disposing of the appeals, upon analysis of facts, awarded a compensation of Rs. 19,82,563 to the claimant wife whose husband has passed away in an accident in the year 1998. The Motors Vehicles Act, 1988 is beneficial legislation broadly based on the principle of restitutio in integrum.