HC says Parents of Road Accident Victim entitled to Compensation

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Parents are dependent on their children at some stage of life & it would be inequitable to deny compensation to those who lost their ward in a road accident, the High Court of Delhi has said.

Justice JR Midha said even if parents aren’t dependent on their children at the time of an accident, they will certainly be dependent, both financially & emotionally, upon them at the later stage of their life, as the children were dependent upon their parents in their initial years.

The HC’s observations came while awarding compensation for loss of dependency to a woman, who lost her 23-year-old son in a road accident in 2008, & enhanced the award amount from ₹2.42 lakh to ₹6.80 lakh.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal had held that though the accident occurred due to rash & negligent driving of the offending vehicle, the parents of the victim were not entitled to compensation for loss of dependency but only to compensation for loss of the estate.

It had held that the victim’s father was working with the Delhi Police as a Sub-Inspector & was, therefore, not dependent upon the deceased.

It had also said that his mother cannot be said to be dependent upon the victim as her husband was employed with the Delhi Police.

However, the HC said it was of the view that parents of the deceased are considered in law as dependent on their children, considering that they are bound to support their parents in their old age when the parents would be unable to maintain themselves.

The Court, which said the law imposes a responsibility on the children to maintain their parents, added that “it would therefore be unfair as well as inequitable to deny compensation for loss of dependency to a parent, who may not be dependent on his/her child at the time of accident per se but would become dependent at him or her later age”.

It further said that provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act & Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act cast an obligation on the children to maintain their parents & these legislations recognise the legal rights of parents to be maintained by their children.

The HC directed that a copy of this judgement be sent to the Registrar General who shall circulate it to all Motor Accident Claims Tribunals to note that the principles relating to the loss to the estate in Keith Rowe judgement & Dinesh Adhlak Judgement are not applicable to the claim of the parents in respect of the death of their child, claim of children in respect of death of their parents & claim of a spouse in respect of death of his/her spouse in a motor accident.

It said the copy of this judgement be also sent to Delhi Judicial Academy to sensitise the claims tribunals about the principles laid down by this Court in this verdict. 

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