The Karnataka High Court has held that married daughters are entitled for compensation by insurance companies on the loss of their parents in accidents. The HC said the Supreme Court has held that married sons are also entitled for compensation in such cases. ”This Court also cannot make any discrimination whether they are married sons or married daughters and hence, the very contention that married daughters of deceased are not entitled for compensation cannot be accepted,” it said. The HC single judge bench of Justice H P Sandesh heard an appeal filed by an insurance company challenging the award of compensation to married daughters of one Renuka (aged 57) who was killed in an accident on April 12, 2012 near Yamanur, Hubballi, in north Karnataka.
Renuka’s husband, three daughters and a son had sought compensation. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal had awarded a compensation of Rs 5,91,600 with six per cent annual interest to the family members.
The insurance company had challenged this in the HC contending that married daughters could not claim compensation, and also that they were not dependents. Therefore, awarding compensation under the head ‘loss of dependency’ was wrong. It was claimed by the insurer that compensation was to be awarded only under ‘loss of estate.’ The HC, however, said that dependency does not only mean financial dependency. Even if the dependency is a relevant criterion to claim compensation for loss dependency, “it does not mean financial dependency is the ‘ark of the covenant’. Dependency includes gratuitous service dependency, physical dependency, emotional dependency, and psychological dependency, which can never be equated in terms of the money, it said.
Other contentions of the insurance company including doubts about the age of the deceased, and her income were also rejected by the court. A warranty card for a sewing machine purchased by the deceased came in handy for the Tribunal to calculate her income at Rs 4,500 per month. The HC rejected the contention of the insurer that exorbitant compensation had been awarded by the Tribunal, and dismissed its appeal.