Published on: October 6, 2022 at 18:34 IST
The Supreme Court held that a Notification issued under the Minimum Wages Act can be only used for the determination of the income of the deceased in a motor accident claims case.
In a case where there is a positive evidence regarding the income, minimum wages notification cannot be relied upon.
Here, the Apex Court was considering an appeal filed by the claimants against the judgment of the Punjab & Haryana High Court where the compensation awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal was reduced.
The deceased person was a 25-year-old man, a contractor by profession.
Although the monthly income claimed by him was Rs.50,000/-, the Tribunal recorded Rs.25000/- as his monthly income and counted that the deceased was paying Rs.11,500/- as loan towards a tractor purchased by him from 10th March, 2014 onwards and his entire loan liability was discharged by 24th March, 2015 with payments being made even post his death.
The Tribunal also referred to the EMI being paid and that thus concluded his income to Rs.25, 000/- per month prior to his death.
The High Court concluded that mere payments of loan installments couldn’t be evidence in itself and that, the money actually represented his income or can form the basis for the assessment of the income of the deceased at RS.25,000/- per month.
Considering the notification issued by the State of Haryana, the High Court referred to the fixed Minimum Wages at the relevant time and assessed the deceased person’s income to be at Rs.7000/- per month, thus reducing the compensation.
The Supreme Court disapproved the verdict by the High Court and observed the Tribunal’s approach as reasonable.