SC: If a child dies in motor accident compensation for loss of expectation in life also to be granted

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 18th June 2020, in the matter of Rajendra Singh and Others v. National Insurance Company Limited and Others held that the loss of a human life untimely at childhood can never be measured in terms of loss of earning or monetary loss alone. Grant of non­pecuniary damages for the wrong done by awarding compensation for loss of expectation in life is therefore called for.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The loss of a human life untimely at childhood can never be measured in terms of loss of earning or monetary loss alone. The emotional attachments involved to the loss of the child can have a devastating effect on the family which needs to be visualised and understood. Grant of non­pecuniary damages for the wrong done by awarding compensation for loss of expectation in life is therefore called for. (Para 12)

Undoubtedly the injury inflicted by deprivation of the life of the child is very difficult to quantify. The future also abounds with uncertainties. Therefore, the courts have used the expression “just compensation” to get over the difficulties in quantifying the figure to ensure consistency and uniformity in awarding compensation. This determination shall not depend upon financial position of the victim or the claimant but rather on the capacity and ability of the deceased to provide happiness in life to the claimants had she remained alive. The compensation is for loss of prospective happiness which the claimant would have enjoyed had the child not died at the tender age. (Para 12)

If the child was studying in a school and opportunities in life would undoubtedly abound as the years would have rolled by, compensation must also be granted with regard to future prospects. It can safely be presumed that education would have only led to better growth and maturity with better prospects and a bright future for which compensation needs to be granted under non­pecuniary damages. (Para 12)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_18-Jun-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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