Chennai, Jun 9: It was only a small consolation for an old couple, but it turned out to be the highest compensation ever awarded by the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority (TNSLSA). An amount of Rs 60 lakh was given to the aged parents of a software professional, who was killed in a road accident near Chennai last year.
A top-notch SAP consultant, the 31-year-old B V Kesav Sharma was drawing an annual salary of about Rs 48 lakhs at the time of his untimely death. After migrating to Australia in 2003, he acquired that country’s citizenship in 2007. He then moved to the US for a higher salary package.
In January last year, during a visit to India, the pious Kesav undertook a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. On January 11, 2008, while returning from the hill temple, the car in which he was travelling overturned near Villupuram due to rash and negligent driving. Kesav died on the spot.
His parents, B Bhuvaneswari (54) and B V Sharma (63), filed a motor accidents claims petition before a tribunal here, estimating the loss at Rs 3.69 crore but limiting demand at Rs 2.5 crore. The case was referred to the Lok Adalat organised by the TNSLSA under Section 19/20(I) of the Legal Services Authorities Act. Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited, which had insured Kesav, agreed to pay Rs 60 lakh as compensation after negotiation. Recording its consent after “full and frank discussions of all issues, factual and legal,” an adalat bench, headed by district judge and member-secretary of the TNSLSA T Mathivanan, awarded Rs 60 lakh to the old couple.
“It is a small consolation for the parents, but this is the record award given by the state authority,” said Mathivanan.
On June 2, the bench directed the insurance company to pay two cheques — one for Rs 40 lakh in favour of Bhuvaneswari and another for Rs 20 lakh in favour of Sharma — within four weeks. The company took only a few days to comply with the order.
On Monday, the chief justice of the Madras high court, Justice H L Gokhale and Justice Prabha Sridevan, presented the cheques to the bereaved parents. When the chief justice asked the private insurance officials as to how they agreed for such a huge settlement, they said, “The demand was just and reasonable.”