A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has awarded a compensation of Rs 21.78 lakh to the family of a 46-year-old man who lost his life in a road accident. The deceased, Rajan Manjarekar, was run over by a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) bus in Kurla eight years ago.
Tribunal member AS Kazi observed in an order passed on September 28 that the family of the deceased “have suffered heavy loss of income due to the sudden death.” Manjarekar’s family — wife, two children and parents — filed a compensation claim of Rs 15 lakh in November 2007, claiming that they were entirely dependent on his monthly income.
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But while awarding the compensation, the Tribunal even factored in an annual interest of 7.5 per cent. The deceased was employed as a ward assistant at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital in Sion. At around 9.15 am on September 14, 2007, Manjarekar was walking through SG Barve Road in Kurla East when he was knocked down by a speeding BEST bus. He died instantly after his head came under one of the wheels of the vehicle.
Advocate JS Salunkhe, who represented the Manjarekar family, noted in his application that the bus was “driven in speed and in a rash and negligent manner, without any horn, and dashed against the deceased.” The driver was nabbed and a case registered at Nehru Nagar police station. The police subsequently filed a chargesheet against him.
MV Kini, the law firm that represented BEST, termed the Manjarekar family’s application and claim for compensation “misconceived, untenable, unsustainable, false, frivolous and vexatious” and asked the tribunal to dismiss both.
The BEST denied that Manjarekar was employed with the BMC or that he had died due to injuries sustained in the accident. It also sought to show that he had been walking on the road, when there was a footpath right next to it, stating that, “the accident occurred due to the negligence of the deceased himself and not due to gross negligence of the driver.”
However, the tribunal held that the family was liable to be paid Rs. 20.28 lakh for loss of dependency, apart for awarding further sums for loss of love and affection and loss of estate and consortium and funeral expenses.