The Supreme Court has observed that there is no justification to award compensation towards loss of love and affection as a separate head, in addition to awarding compensation for loss of consortium.
The bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer, Indu Malhotra and Aniruddha Bose observed that loss of love and affection is comprehended in loss of consortium, which is a legitimate conventional head.
The court was considering an appeals filed against a High Court judgment by both the insurance company and the claimant. The Claimant’s husband had passed away in a motor vehicle accident in 1998.
The bench, in its judgment, reiterated the relevant principles for assessment of compensation in cases of accident death. The judgment mainly refers to the guidelines issued in Sarla Verma & Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation & Anr, regarding ascertaining the multiplicand, ascertaining the multiplier and actual collection. The Court noted that, the relevant criteria to be taken into consideration for assessing compensation in the case of death, are : (i) the age of the deceased at the time of his death; (ii) the number of dependants left behind by the deceased; and (iii) the income of the deceased at the time of his death.
In this context, the bench observed that it is necessary to provide uniformity with respect to the grant of consortium, and loss of love and affection. It said:
“Several Tribunals and High Courts have been awarding compensation for both loss of consortium and loss of love and affection. The Constitution Bench in Pranay Sethi (supra), has recognized only three conventional heads under which compensation can be awarded viz. loss of estate, loss of consortium and funeral expenses. In Magma General (supra), this Court gave a comprehensive interpretation to consortium to include spousal consortium, parental consortium, as well as filial consortium. Loss of love and affection is comprehended in loss of consortium. The Tribunals and High Courts are directed to award compensation for loss of consortium, which is a legitimate conventional head. There is no justification to award compensation towards loss of love and affection as a separate head.”
The bench, considering the facts of the case, disposed the appeal and awarded a compensation of Rs. 19,82,563 to the claimant.