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Compensate Parents for Loss of Child in Accidents: SC Lays Down Concept of 'Filial Consortium'

A bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Indu Malhotra noted that there has not been any principles enunciated by the Supreme Court on the issue of filial consortium so far.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:September 18, 2018, 7:10 PM IST
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Compensate Parents for Loss of Child in Accidents: SC Lays Down Concept of 'Filial Consortium'
Illustration of Supreme Court. (Network18 Creatives)
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New Delhi: The greatest agony for a parent is to lose their child during their lifetime, said the Supreme Court on Tuesday as it laid down the concept of 'filial consortium' for awarding compensation to the parents in case of accidental death of a child.

A bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Indu Malhotra noted that there has not been any principles enunciated by the Supreme Court on the issue of filial consortium so far, but it is time the courts in the country take this aspect into account while giving compensation in accident cases.

"In case where a parent has lost their minor child, or unmarried son or daughter, the parents are entitled to be awarded loss of consortium under the head of Filial Consortium," held the judgment, authored by Justice Malhotra.

The bench said that consortium is a special prism reflecting changing norms about the status and worth of actual relationships.

"Modern jurisdictions world over have recognized that the value of a child’s consortium far exceeds the economic value of the compensation awarded in the case of the death of a child. Most jurisdictions therefore permit parents to be awarded compensation under loss of consortium on the death of a child," highlighted the court, pointing out there is no clarity on this aspect as far as Indian courts are concerned.

"The amount awarded to the parents is a compensation for loss of love, affection, care and companionship of the deceased child... An accident leading to the death of a child causes great shock and agony to the parents. Children are valued for their love, affection, companionship and their role in the family unit," emphasised the top court.

It added that The Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial legislation aimed at providing relief to the victims or their families, and hence, filial consortium should be granted by courts in all genuine cases in line with the Constitution bench ruling in Pranay Sethi's case wherein spousal and parental consortium had been specified as a valid head for granting compensation.

The court granted Rs 40,000 each to the father and sister of the deceased in the case wherein it explained the concept of filial consortium. In this case, a 24-year-old youth had lost his life in 2013 after his motorbike was hit by a car in a village in Haryana.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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