Munna Lal Jain Vs. Vipin Kumar Sharma: Landmark Supreme Court Judgement on Compensation Calculation in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases

In a significant legal development, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgement in the case of Munna Lal Jain Vs. Vipin Kumar Sharma, addressing crucial aspects of compensation calculation in motor vehicle accident cases. The judgement provides key insights into the nuances of determining compensation for victims and their dependents. This judgement is set to have far-reaching implications in the realm of personal injury law and insurance claims.


  • PW-2 provided a certificate marked as Ex.P-1/8 indicating the victim was thrown off a motor cycle when hit by a car
  • The victim, aged about 23 years, died on 7.09.2008 due to injuries from a road traffic accident on 5.09.2008
  • The accident was caused by the rash and negligent driving of the car
  • High Court confirmed the finding but noted contributory negligence on the victim’s part due to 3 persons on the motor cycle, leading to a 10% reduction in compensation
  • The appeal was based on two grounds: contributory negligence and establishment of deceased’s employment and income.
  • High Court held deceased guilty of contributory negligence for riding a motor cycle with two other persons when hit by a car.
  • Tribunal awarded compensation of Rs.11,66,800, which was appealed by the Insurance Company under Section 173 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
  • High Court confirmed Rs.1,00,000 towards loss of love and affection but enhanced funeral expenses and loss of Estate to Rs.25,000 each.
  • High Court deducted 10% towards contributory negligence, leading to compensation reduced to Rs.4,14,000 from Rs.4,60,000.
  • Salary of the deceased was assessed based on minimum wages for unskilled workers, with a monthly income of Rs.3,683.
  • High Court applied a multiplier of 14 instead of 18 for calculating compensation, as per the ratio in UPSRTC Vs. Trilok Chandra case.
  • High Court interfered with the Tribunal’s award on contributory negligence, income assessment, and multiplier application.

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  • The High Court should have upheld the oral testimony of PW-2 if it remained unchallenged.
  • The High Court erred in applying a multiplier of 14 instead of the appropriate multiplier based on age.
  • Contributory negligence cannot be assumed solely based on the number of persons on a vehicle.
  • The High Court’s interference with the Tribunal’s findings on the deceased’s income was unjustified.
  • The High Court should have given weight to the employer’s testimony and salary certificate of the deceased.
  • The accident was caused by the car hitting the motorcycle from behind, as confirmed by both the Tribunal and the High Court.
  • Different multipliers are used in such cases, Sarla Verma presents a comprehensive approach to resolve the variations in choosing multipliers.
  • The High Court’s insistence on additional records like salary vouchers was unwarranted if oral testimony and employer’s certificate were available.
  • Age discrepancies among dependents can lead to disputes in determining compensation.
  • Section 128 of the Motor Vehicles Act restricts the number of passengers on a two-wheeled motor cycle.
  • Multiplier to be used with reference to the age of the deceased.
  • Debate on whether the multiplier should depend on the age of the dependents or that of the deceased settled in favor of the latter.
  • Ratio laid down in General Manager, Kerala SRTC Vs Susamma Thomas and approved in UPSRTC Vs. Trilok Chandra.
  • Choice of the multiplier with reference to the age of the deceased alone approved in Sarla Verma & Ors. Vs. Delhi Transport Corporation & Anr.
  • Acceptance of this choice in subsequent decisions like Reshmi Kumari & Ors. Vs. Madan Mohan & Anr. and Munna Lal Jain Vs. Vipin Kumar Sharma.
  • High Court’s error in holding the victim guilty of contributory negligence
  • High Court’s mistake in rejecting the evidence of PW-2 regarding the deceased’s employment and monthly income
  • High Court’s incorrect application of a multiplier of 14 instead of 18
  • Appeal allowed, impugned order of the High Court set aside
  • Award of the Tribunal restored
  • No costs are ordered
  • Munna Lal Jain case binding in this scenario

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Case Number: C.A. No.-000079-000079 / 2020

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