Today News Online Service
New Delhi, April 10
A widow’s right to claim compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act for “loss of love and affection” and “loss of consortium” caused by the death of her husband in an accident doesn’t abate on her re-marriage, the Supreme Court (SC) has ruled.
The widow was entitled to equal share as the parents of the deceased for “loss of dependency”, a Bench headed by Justice LN Rao held.
Her decision to remarry is entirely her personal choice, over which nobody can have any say. Her right to claim compensation crystallised upon her husband’s life being tragically snatched away in the motor accident and simply because she has now remarried, her claim does not abate or lessen, the top court said in its April 6 order.
“Her entitlement fructified when the dependency was calculated. Therefore, as an aggrieved widow, she would be entitled to a share of compensation apropos ‘loss of dependency’ of equal amount to her parents-in-law, who had lost their son,” it said. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal had awarded Rs 1,68,39,642 along with interest to the widow, and parents of the deceased. But the widow, who had re-married, was ordered to be given only Rs 3,91,054 by the tribunal.
Noting that the tribunal had not compensated her for “loss of love and affection” and “loss of consortium”, the Delhi High Court had said the widow was entitled to equal, i.e. one-third share (Rs 56,13,214) of the total Rs 1,68,39,642 awarded to the dependents of the deceased.
“There is no persuasive reason stated in the impugned order for the starkly disproportionate apportionment against the widow,” the high court had said.