A person suffering permanent disability in an accident caused by a vehicle, should also be compensated for loss of future income, ruled the Supreme Court of India in a case being heard by bench comprising of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice A K Ganguly.
The SC distinguished between claim for damages and compensation and said damages were given for an injury whereas compensation stood on a slightly higher footing while hearing the case of Yadava Kumar, a painter, who suffered 30 to 40 percent disability that resulted in he not being able to continue with his profession.
While damages were given for atonement of injury caused, the intention behind compensation was to put back the injured party as far as possible in the same position as if the injury has not taken place, by way of grant of pecuniary relief, it said.
The high court had granted him a compensation of Rs 72,000 rejecting his plea to consider the future loss of income as he could no longer do painting jobs. The SC took serious view of this incompassionate approach of the HC.
Justice Ganguly, writing the judgment for the Bench, said, “In this case, the approach of the HC in totally refusing to grant any compensation for loss of future earnings is not a correct one.”
While ordering National Insurance Company to pay Kumar Rs 2 lakh, which was computed by the SC after taking into account future loss of earnings, Justice Ganguly said, “In the determination of the quantum of compensation, the court must be liberal and not niggardly in as much as in a free country, law must value life and limb on a generous scale.”
It added, “It goes without saying that in matters of determination of compensation, both the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and the courts are statutorily charged with a responsibility of fixing ‘just compensation’.