Motor Vehicle Compensation could also be Granted to Children & Parents

Motor Vehicle Compensation could also be Granted to Children & Parents

Motor Vehicle Compensation could also be Granted to Children & Parents

The Supreme Court of India in a recent ruling has observed that in the Motor Accident Compensation Claims, that the children and family would also be authorized for compensation under “Loss of consortium” in claims of Motor Accident under the Act.

The ruling came as a result of an appeal filed by three insurance companies by the learned Bench comprising of three judges including Justices Ashok Bhushan and Subhash Reddy. 

The matter in question was that of put forward by one of the appellant insurance company re. New India Assurance Company Ltd challenging the judgment of the High Court arising out of the award passed by the Motor Vehicle Claims Tribunal Act (MACT) with regard to the compensation in support of the plaintiffs under two specific categories i.e.

i.     Under “Loss of Consortium” for spousal relationships only? or

ii.    “Loss of love and affection" for the spouse as well as family?

With regard to “Consortium,” the issue raised was whether it is only the wife who is entitled to for compensation under the consortium or the consortium is eligible to be awarded to children and parents also under the Act. The appellant’s contention was that the amount granted under the head “Loss of love and affection” is absolute without jurisdiction and further the amount granted under the head “Consortium” cannot be more than Rs.40000/- in effect. Additionally, the only wife is authorized to receive the amount of compensation paid as a consortium that is payable to the wife which is entitled to each of the Claimant i.e. wife, children, and parents.

The appellants further referred to the Constitutional Bench judgment in National Insurance Company Ltd. V.s. Pranay Sethi case and contended that it has only referred to the spousal consortium and no other consortium was referred to in the judgment of Pranay Sethi, thus, there is no proper explanation for allowing the parental consortium and filial consortium. 

However, The Court observed that a three-judge bench in reference to United India Insurance Company Ltd. vs. Satinder Kaur alias Satvinder Kaur, has categorically laid down that apart from the spousal consortium, the parental and filial consortium is also valid and maintainable, apart from the spousal consortium, the parental and filial consortium is payable stating that “it is unacceptable that the submission of the learned counsel for the appellant that the amount of consortium awarded to each of claimants is not sustainable”.

However, the Apex court also accepted with the appellant’s argument that “there is no proper justification for the award of compensation under separately under the head “loss of affection” as the same was covered under the head “Loss of Consortium”.

Referring to the recent judgment in United India Insurance Company Ltd. Versus Satinder Kaur and others, the Court was of the opinion that 

The inclusive interpretation given to the expression “consortium” is wide enough to cover parental consortium as well as a filial consortium. Thus, the “loss of love and affection” is comprehended under the head “loss of consortium”, hence there no justification to award compensation towards “Loss of love and affection” as a separate head.

What is meant by “Loss of Consortium” and what types of consortium are recognized under the Motor Vehicle Claims Act?

The Supreme Court of India defined consortium in ref to case National Insurance Company vs. Pranay Sethi (2017) 16 SCC 680- In legal parlance, “consortium” is an explanatory term which embraces other aspects of a consortium including the ‘spousal consortium’, ‘parental consortium’, and ‘filial consortium’. Rights related to consortium may include companionship, comfort, love & affection, care, affection, solace, etc. which comes as a loss for the family. 

The Apex Court has elucidated the three principles of consortium as under-

(i) Spousal consortium is generally defined as rights relating to the relationship of a husband with his wife which allows compensation to the surviving spouse for loss of “companionship, company, love, affection, and each other’s assistance as in every normal marital relationship.”

(ii) Parental consortium is granted to the child upon the premature death of a parent, for loss of “parental aid, protection, affection, society, discipline, guidance and training.

(iii) Filial consortium is the right of the parents to compensation in the case of accidental death of a child as an accident leading to the death of a child is a matter of great shock and agony to the parents of the deceased, as the greatest agony for a parent is to lose their child during their lifetime.  

In the view of the Supreme Court of India, Consortium is like that of a special prism which reflects the changing norms about the status and worth of actual relationships. Therefore, jurisdictions all over the world have recognized the value of a child’s consortium is far valuable than the economic value of the compensation awarded for the loss of a child for parents. Thus, the amount awarded to the parents is a way to compensate for the loss for the love, affection, care and companionship of the deceased child.

Nevertheless, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has time and again opined that the Motor Vehicles Act is valuable legislation bearing the objective of providing monetary relief to the victims or their families in cases related to genuine claims for the loss of parents who have lost their minor child or unmarried son or daughter are eligible to be compensated for the “Loss of consortium” under the category of Filial Consortium.

On the other hand, the children who have lost their parents in an accident under the Act are authorized to get “Parental Consortium” for their loss. Finally, the compensation amount shall be awarded by the Court, shall be administered by the principles of awarding compensation under ‘Loss of Consortium’ as laid down by the Constitution Bench.


eStartIndia Team

Leave a Comment

Previous Comments

Related Blogs