While granting compensation to the mother of a deceased, Delhi High Court observed that parents are dependent on their children at some stage of life and it would be inequitable to deny the compensation to those who lost their ward in a road accident.
“Even if parents are not dependent on their children at the time of an accident, they will certainly be dependent, both financially and emotionally, upon them at the later stage of their life, as the children were dependent upon their parents in their initial year,” Justice J R Midha Said.
The High Court made the following observation in a 2008 motor accident case where a woman lost her 23-year old son in a road accident. The court increased the compensation amount from Rs Rs 2.42 lakh to Rs 6.80 lakh.
The motor accident claims tribunal held that though the accident occurred due to rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle, the parents of the victim were not entitled to compensation for loss of dependency but only to compensation for loss of the estate.
The tribunal had also noted that the father of the deceased worked with the Delhi police as a Sub Inspector and therefore not dependent on the deceased.
However, the High Court bench stated, “It was of the view that parents of the deceased are considered in law as dependent on their children, considering that they are bound to support their parents in their old age, when the parents would be unable to maintain themselves. It would therefore be unfair as well as inequitable to deny compensation for loss of dependency to a parent, who may not be dependent on his/her child at the time of accident per se but would become dependent at him or her later age.”
The court further stated that provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act cast an obligation on the children to maintain their parents and these legislations recognise the legal rights of parents to be maintained by their children.
The High Court has issued the directions to send the copy of this judgment to the Registrar General who shall further circulate it to all the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals.