Be liberal in giving relief to victims: SC

The Supreme Court has said courts should adopt a “liberal and balanced” approach in deciding compensation claims for road accident victims.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra made the observations while allowing the appeal of Subulaxmi, a match industry worker, whose left leg got amputated after sustaining injuries in an accident involving two buses of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation in 1998.

The victim, then 30-year-old, approached the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, which awarded a sum of Rs 2 lakh as compensation to her in 2002 including the amounts for permanent disability and loss of future earning.

Being aggrieved by the order, she approached the high court which enhanced the sum to Rs 2.75 lakh but did not grant her any money for permanent disability.

She again challenged the order in the apex court, which referred to its own previous judgments where the it had held that compensation must value life: “The court has dwelled upon the fundamental concept of just compensation regard being had to the value of life and limb in our country. Needless to say, the approach in such matters has to be liberal as well as a balanced one.”

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