No need to rely on min wages notification: SC on accident claim

The Supreme Court has remarked that the notification of the Minimum Wages Act can be a guiding factor only in the case where there is no clue available to evaluate the monthly income of the deceased.

“Where positive evidence has been led, no reliance on the notification could be placed, particularly when it was nobody’s case that the deceased was a labourer as presumed by the High Court,” the top court said. A bench of justices Surya Kant and MM Sundresh said while setting aside an order of Punjab and Haryana High Court and restored the decision of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), Karnal*.

The top court said that the reason asserted by the High Court to reduce the monthly income of the deceased is totally “cryptic” and has no rationale.

The Punjab and Haryana HC relied upon the Notification issued by the State of Haryana, which fixed the minimum wage at the relevant time and assessed the income of the deceased at Rs 7,000 per month, and thus on this premise, it (the High Court) reduced the compensation amount.

“In the summary proceedings where the approach of the Tribunal’s determination must be in conformity with the object of the welfare, it was rightly held that the monthly income of the deceased could not be less than Rs 25,000,” the court said.

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