SC Dismisses Challenge Against Delhi HC Decision Holding That Widow’s Right To Compensation For Husband’s Death Will Not Abate After Re-Marriage

first_imgTop StoriesSC Dismisses Challenge Against Delhi HC Decision Holding That Widow’s Right To Compensation For Husband’s Death Will Not Abate After Re-Marriage Mehal Jain9 April 2021 10:40 PMShare This – xThe SC dismissed the SLP ‘in peculiar circumstances of the case’The Supreme Court has affirmed a Delhi High Court decision that a widow’s right to claim compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act for the death of her husband in a motor vehicle accident will not abate on her re-marriage.By dismissing the SLP against the Delhi High Court decision, the Supreme Court has affirmed that the right of a widow to claim compensation on account of death of her…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court has affirmed a Delhi High Court decision that a widow’s right to claim compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act for the death of her husband in a motor vehicle accident will not abate on her re-marriage.By dismissing the SLP against the Delhi High Court decision, the Supreme Court has affirmed that the right of a widow to claim compensation on account of death of her husband due to motor vehicle accident will not abate on remarriage and that she was entitled to equal share as the parents of the deceased for ‘loss of dependency’. The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran was hearing an SLP, at the instance of the widow’s in-laws, challenging the December 2019 judgment of the Delhi High Court in which it was held that re-marriage of a widow has nothing to do with her right and claim for compensation, for the loss which accrued to her on account of the unnatural demise of her husband.Senior Counsel Siddharth Dave, for the petitioners/in-laws, argued that the High Court order is bad in law and needs to be set aside on the grounds that a widow is not entitled for compensation after remarriage.He submitted that in accordance with the judgment of the top court titled “Anju Mukhi & Anr. vs. Satish K. Bhatia & Ors. [2010 (15) SCC 630], the respondent/widow cannot be treated as a dependent of the deceased after re-marriage. In the said case, it was observed that the main purpose of the Motor Vehicles Act is to award compensation for loss of income on the death of a person. “On remarriage there is no longer a loss of income. Now the dependency has shifted on to the new husband. Therefore, we are in agreement with the High Court that after remarriage a widow would not be entitled to any compensation”, it was ruled in that case.For the respondent/widow, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankarnarayan, briefed by Advocate Siddhant Sharma, advanced that a second marriage does not abate a widow’s claim to compensation for the ‘loss of dependency’. It was also argued that the views taken by various High Courts in similar matters ought to be given due weight while deciding the issue. Reliance was placed on a 2020 judgment of the Kerala High Court holding that while computing compensation for dependency of a widow, upon the death of her husband, under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, her remarriage shall not be a decisive factor; that the loss of dependency consequent to the death of the husband does not cease merely because she has remarried or become self-reliant. Mr. Sankaranarayanan pointed out that before the High Court, the Petitioners had indicated their no-objection to the widow being given an equal share, and that the present SLP was a belated and a motivated one.Finally, the Apex Court dismissed the SLP, observing, “In the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, we are not inclined to interfere in this matter”In the instant case, the MACT had awarded Rs. 1,68,39,642/- along with interest in favour of the deceased’s claimants, i.e., his widow and his parents. However, the widow had been apportioned only Rs. 3,91,054.47/-. The Delhi High Court noted that the Tribunal had not compensated the wife for “loss of love and affection” and “loss of consortium”. “There is no persuasive reason stated in the impugned order for the starkly disproportionate apportionment against the widow,” Justice Najmi Waziri had remarked.The High Court had directed that the widow was entitled to equal, i.e., 1/3rd share of the awarded amount of Rs. 1,68,39,642/-. Thus, she was granted Rs. 56,13,214/- compensation, on the following reasoning, “The calculation of loss of dependency was on the basis of her dependency on her deceased husband; her loss is equal to the loss of dependency suffered by her parents-in-law. Her decision to re-marry was entirely her personal choice, over which nobody can have any say. Her right to claim compensation crystallized upon her husband’s life being tragically snatched away in the motor accident. Therefore, simply because she has now re-married, her claim does not abate or lessen. Who can judge whether the second marriage was not a compromise because of her personal circumstances and whether it would have the same value emotionally and psychologically as the first marriage. Her entitlement fructified when the dependency was calculated. Therefore as an aggrieved widow, she would be entitled to a share of compensation apropos ‘loss of dependency’ of equal amount to her parents-in-law, who had lost their son”The Petition has been filed b y AOR Sayid Marzook Bafaki. Senior Advocate Sidharth Dave is assisted by Advocate Mushtaq SalimClick here to download the OrderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more