The Supreme Court has awarded Rs 7.64 crore compensation to the next of kin of a man who was killed in a crash-landing of Air India Express Flight 812 from Dubai in Mangalore on May 22, 2010. The accident killed 158 out of 166 passengers on board.
The family of the 45-year-old Mahendra Kodkany, which include his wife, daughter and son, were earlier granted Rs 7.35 crore as compensation by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). This compensation will now get enhanced after adding 9 per cent interest per annum (on the amount yet to be paid), to be paid by Air India.
Kodkany was the regional director for the Middle East for a UAE-based company. The aircraft overshot the runway and went down a hillside and burst into flames.
A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi said: “The total amount payable on account of the aforesaid heads works out to Rs 7,64,29,437. Interest at the rate of nine per cent per annum shall be paid on the same basis as has been awarded by the NCDRC. The balance, if any, that remains due and payable to the complainants, after giving due credit for the amount which has already been paid, shall be paid within a period of two months.”
The apex court noted that in a claim for compensation arising out of the death of an employee, the income has to be assessed on the basis of the entitlement of the employee. The top court said: “We are unable to accept the reasons which weighed with the NCDRC in making a deduction of AED (UAE currency) 30,000 from the total CTC. Similarly, and for the same reason, we are unable to accept the submission of Air India that the transport allowance should be excluded. The bifurcation of the salary into diverse heads may be made by the employer for a variety of reasons.”
The top court observed that the deceased was evidently, a confirmed employee of his employer. “We have come to the conclusion that thirty per cent should be allowed on account of future prospects”, added the court.
The top court noted that if the amount which has been paid by Air India is in excess of the payable under the present judgement, “we direct under Article 142 of the Constitution (discretionary powers) that the excess shall not be recoverable from the claimants,” said the court.