New Delhi, Apr 10 (ILNS) Upholding a Delhi High Court order, the Supreme Court recently said that the right of a widow to claim compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act on account of death of her husband due to a motor vehicle accident will not abate on re-marriage.
While dismissing the Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the Delhi High Court order, the Bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Vineet Saran ruled that the widow was entitled to equal share as the parents of the deceased for the ‘loss of dependency’.
The Bench was hearing an SLP, filed by the widow’s in-laws, challenging the December, 2019 Judgement of the Delhi High Court, which 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 Siddhartha Dave appeared for the petitioners/in-laws, while Senior Advocate Gopal Sankarnarayan represented the respondent/widow.
The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) had awarded Rs 1,68,39,642, along with interest, in favour of the deceased’s claimants – 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 the “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. 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 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,” Justice Najmi Waziri had remarked. ILNS/SNG/RJ