Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Job given to wife on accidental death of husband isn't pecuniary advantage under Motor Vehicle Act

Facts:


a)   Raghbir Singh (the deceased) died in road accident.


b)   Tribunal awarded compensation of Rs. 21,52,000 which was calculated on the basis of salary of deceased.

c)   The appellant (i.e., Insurance Company) argued that the compensation awarded by the Tribunal was very high as the wife of the deceased was given compassionate appointment and she was getting a salary besides the pension.

The High Court held as under:


1) In case of Vimal Kanwar v. Kishore Dan  [2013] 35 taxmann.com 545/216 Taxman 300 the Supreme Court held as under:


"Compassionate appointment" can be one of the conditions of service of an employee, if a scheme to that effect is framed by the employer. In case, the employee dies in harness, i.e., while in service leaving behind the dependents, one of the dependents may request for compassionate appointment to maintain the family of the deceased employee dies in harness. This cannot be stated to be an advantage receivable by the heirs on account of one's death and have no correlation with the amount receivable under a statute occasioned on account of accidental death. Compassionate appointment may have nexus with the death of an employee while in service but it is not necessary that it should have a correlation with the accidental death. An employee dies in harness even in normal course, due to illness and to maintain the family of the deceased one of the dependents may be entitled for compassionate appointment but that cannot be termed as "Pecuniary Advantage" that comes under the periphery of Motor Vehicles Act and any amount received on such appointment is not liable for deduction for determination of compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act.

2)   In aforesaid judgment, the Supreme Court held that Provident Fund, Pension, Insurance and similarly any cash, bank balance, shares, fixed deposits, etc. are all a "pecuniary advantage" receivable by the heirs on account of one's death but all these have no correlation with the amount receivable under a statute occasioned only on account of accidental death. Thus, such an amount will not come within the periphery of the Motor Vehicles Act to be termed as "pecuniary advantage" liable for deduction.

3)  Following the ratio of law laid down by Supreme Court in aforesaid case, the instant appeal was to be dismissed. - NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. V. LAKHWINDER KAUR [2015] 64 taxmann.com 308 (Punjab & Haryana) 
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