The United India Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Shalumol, 2021

MACA No. 1768 of 2021


The Motor Vehicle Act of 1988’s provisions regarding compensation were addressed in this case law. It will emphasize how crucial love and affection are among family members in preserving faith in judicial rulings.

The evidence in this case law demonstrates that a family member’s link with the deceased person permits access to compensation.

The facts of the case

Sreedevi received Rs. 18,000 a month as payment for her Anganwadi service. She was the family’s lone wage earner. Respondents: Thankamma, the mother of the late Sreedevi; Shalumol and Malumol, the daughters of the late Arvindakshan; and Narayanan Kuttappan, the father of the late Sreedevi.

When Sreedevi returned home from work on June 9, 2018, she was involved in a car accident at the age of 49. As a result, the Shalumol and Malumol families, who were the appellant’s respondents in the appeal, approached the Tribunal to seek compensation in the amount of Rs. 20,000,000. They did this by stating that the vehicle was insured under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 due to the driver’s and owner’s negligence, and the vehicle was insured with the appellant.

The panel heard the first case. In front of the tribunal, the respondent driver/owner claimed that the appellant was responsible for insuring his car and that the insurer owed him money. According to the appellant, Sreedevi’s age, salary, and occupation raised questions about the insurance coverage and whether or not it would compensate the driver or owner.

The appellant contended that Sreedevi’s irresponsibility caused the accident and that the respondents were neither her dependents nor legal representatives. The respondent’s evidence was considered by the court, which granted the claim petition and declared the respondent to be Sreedevi’s dependent and legal representative. The court decided that the respondents could make an interest-bearing claim of Rs. 17,32,680 from the appellant.


A): As dependents of the deceased, are parents and married daughters eligible to receive compensation under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988?

B): Is it possible for a dependent and legal guardian to make a claim for compensation under the 1988 Motor Vehicles Act?

The contention raised by the parties

The appellant, or insurer, filed an appeal against the tribunal ruling because they were dissatisfied with the verdict. Smt. Latha Susan Cherian, as learned amicus curiae, and Smt. Many. T., as learned counsel for the respondent/petitioner, made a plea on behalf of the appellant through their respective skilled attorneys, Smt. Deepa George.

Smt. Deepa George contended that Sreedevi’s parents and married daughters were not dependents on any of the respondents and that Sreedevi’s unmarried daughter, who was the sole other respondent, should be taken into account as a dependant. Only after deducting the personal share of the compensation for the deceased’s living expenses—as stated in earlier decisions by the Honorable Supreme Court—may the tribunal take into account the deceased’s loss of dependence on the second respondent.

In response to the arguments, Smt. Many. T said that Sreedevi’s septuagenarian parents—who are between the ages of 70 and 79 and have two daughters—began living with her after Sreedevi lost her husband. All of the respondents relied on Sreedevi because she was the family’s only source of income. It is undeniable that the first respondent’s recent marriage has resulted in a loss of dependency. Furthermore, the statement emphasized that the tribunal award was not illegal.


 Based on prior rulings and recent case law pertaining to the facts of the case, the court referred to Exhibits A-1 through A-6 as supporting documentation, with reference to A-4, a family relationship certificate that attests to the respondent’s dependent status, when debating whether or not to award compensation to respondents who include married daughters and parents. 

C.S. Dias, J., held that a married daughter and parents of the deceased woman are legal representatives under the MV Act and hence, are entitled to claim compensation as a dependant of the deceased. The Bench remarked, “Even if dependency is a relevant criterion to claim compensation for loss of dependency, it does not mean financial dependency is the ‘ark of the covenant’. Dependency includes gratuitous service dependency, physical dependency, emotional dependency, psychological dependency, and so on and so forth, which can never be equated in terms of money.”…

Furthermore, Exhibit A-6 highlights that Sreedevi receives a monthly stipend of Rs. 10,031 from the appellant in her capacity as an Anganwadi worker. The Tribunal’s award was deemed lawful by the court; the appeal that was rejected on the grounds that the respondents’ compensation was unlawful was permitted, however, the compensation was modified in a 30:50:10:10 ratio. the court of law.

In conclusion

Even though a married daughter has the right to claim and her parents can claim compensation as long as they need it for support in their old age, in the aforementioned case, the judgment is based on the love and affection between families, which takes precedence over the status of legal representative and dependency.

This case strengthens the trust among people even after they lost their family members. Depending on their emotional ties to the departed member, they may be eligible to receive compensation. 

Adv. Khanak Sharma(D\1710\2023)

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