‘Fictional income too low’: Karnataka HC increase relief in 9-year-old fatal crash

The Karnataka High Court has increased compensation to be paid to the family of a 17-year-old boy killed in a road accident nine years ago.

The notional income taken into account to determine compensation must be rational and reasonable, Judge Anant Ramanath Hegde said.

The teenager died in 2013 after a KSRTC bus collided with a car he was traveling in.

On January 31, 2015, a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Bengaluru awarded the family compensation of Rs 5.4 lakh without any interest. The court considered Rs 30,000 as the victim’s theoretical income per year. The victim’s parents and brother, however, went to the High Court to seek higher compensation from the KSRTC.

After knowing the supreme material and judicial decisions, Judge Hegde observed that the determination of Rs 30,000 per year as notional income is too low. The bench said the court must take into account the cost of living, inflation, erosion of the value of the rupee and consequent revision of wages when determining the compensation payable under section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.

“When deciding cases relating to compensation due, courts and tribunals must be aware of changing circumstances. If compensation is assessed by taking into account figures irrelevant at the time of the accident, the compensation determined will not reflect the fair compensation due to the victim.

Although fictitious income must be taken into account in determining compensation, the fictitious income to be obtained must be rational and sensible. If not, the very purpose of awarding compensation is defeated. The compensation awarded by taking manifestly insufficient fictitious income cannot be called compensation in its truest sense,” said Judge Hegde.

The court amended the court order and awarded compensation of Rs 11 lakh with 6% interest after deducting the amount already paid.

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