While disposing of an appeal filed by legal heirs of a deceased couple in a Motor Accident Compensation Claim case, the Supreme Court observed that Advocates could not do away with legal rights or enter into arrangements contrary to law.
In the instant case, the MACT awarded 40.71 lakhs for both the deceased to their legal heirs/claimants. However, the Hon’ble High Court reversed the addition of future prospects. Aggrieved, the claimants filed an appeal in the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Counsel for the insurance company contended that the High Court’s decision was a consent order. The claimants’ Counsel agreed to a lower computation under the head of loss of dependency, which cannot be challenged in an appeal.
In the case, the Delhi High Court had observed that Counsel for the claimant agreed that the loss of dependency might be recomputed based on minimum wage payable to Haryana workers as applicable on 12.04.2014( date of accident). The Counsel also agreed that to give up future prospects as there was no proof of the deceased Poonam’s regular employment noted the Court.
However, the Supreme Court held that any concession made by either Counsel would not be binding on the parties as it is a settled law that lawyers cannot throwaway legal rights or enter into agreements/arrangements that are contrary to law.
After going through the facts of the case, the Bench clarified that legal liabilities and claims crystallize at the accident. Any changes post the accident will not affect court proceedings. The Bench observed that at the time of the accident, there were four dependents. Just because one of the dependents possessed away during the proceedings would not entitle the insurance company to reduce the compensation amount.
Accordingly, the appeal was allowed, and the Court increased the compensation amount to Rs 33.22 lakh.
Title: Kirti vs Oriental Insurance Company Ltd
Case No.:CIVIL APPEAL NOS.1920 of 2021
Date of Order:05.01.2021
Coram: Hon’ble Justice NV Ramana, Hon’ble Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Hon’ble Justice Surya Kant