What is “Loss of Consortium” ? Hon’ble SC explains.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court on 12.04.2013 in the matter of Rajesh and Ors. v. Rajbir Singh and Ors. (2013) 9 SCC 54 expressed that: 

 

Consortium‘ is the right of the spouse to the company, care, help, comfort, guidance, society, solace, affection and sexual relations with his or her mate. (Para 20)

Once again on 18.09.2018the Hon’ble Apex Court in the matter of Magma General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Nanu Ram Alias Chuhru Ram & Ors. while increasing the awarded compensation from Rs. 14,21,000 (with interest @ 9% from the date of filing the claim petition till realization) to Rs. 14,25,600 (along with Interest @ 12% p.a. from the date of filing of the Claim petition till payment), elaborated the “Loss of Consortium”:

(Para 8.7) In legal parlance, “consortium” is a compendious term which encompasses ‘spousal consortium’,‘parental consortium’, and ‘filial consortium’.

  • Spousal consortium is generally defined as rights pertaining to the relationship of a husband­wife which allows compensation to the surviving spouse for loss of “company, society, co­operation, affection, and aid of the other in every conjugal relation. (Black’s Law Dictionary [5th ed. 1979])
  • 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.”
  • Filial consortium is the right of the parents to compensation in the case of an accidental death of a child. An accident leading to the death of a child causes great shock and agony to the parents and family of the deceased. The greatest agony for a parent is to lose their child during their lifetime. Children are valued for their love, affection, companionship and their role in the family unit.

Consortium is a special prism reflecting changing norms about the status and worth of actual relationships. Modern jurisdictions world­over have recognized that the value of a child’s consortium far exceeds the economic value of the compensation awarded in the case of the death of a child. Most jurisdictions therefore permit parents to be awarded compensation under loss of consortium on the death of a child. The amount awarded to the parents is a compensation for loss of the love, affection, care and companionship of the deceased child.

The Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial legislation aimed at providing relief to the victims or their families, in cases of genuine claims. In case where a parent has lost their minor child, or unmarried son or daughter, the parents are entitled to be awarded loss of consortium under the head of Filial Consortium.

Parental Consortium is awarded to children who lose their parents in motor vehicle accidents under the Act.

It was further pronounced that:

The amount of compensation to be awarded as consortium will be governed by the principles of awarding compensation under ‘Loss of Consortium’ as laid down in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi. (Para 8.7)

 

Copy of Judgement: Judgement 18-Sep-2018

 

-Tushar Kaushik

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