Supreme Court in the matter of Sandeep Khanuja Vs. Atul Dande; Civil Appeal no. 1329/2017 decided on 2nd Feb, 2017 held that the crucial factor which has to be taken into consideration, in a motor accident case, is to assess as to whether the permanent disability has any adverse effect on the earning capacity of the injured. Permanent disability refers to the residuary incapacity or loss of use of some part of the body, found existing at the end of the period of treatment and recuperation, after achieving the maximum bodily improvement or recovery which is likely to remain for the remainder life of the injured.
Supreme Court criticized a very myopic view taken by the MACT in taking the view that 70% permanent disability suffered by the Appellant would not impact the earning capacity of the Appellant. The MACT thought that since the Appellant is a Chartered Accountant, he is supposed to do sitting work and, therefore, his working capacity is not impaired. Such a conclusion was justified if the Appellant was in the employment where job requirement could be to do sitting/table work and receive monthly salary for the said work. An important feature and aspect which is ignored by the MACT is that the Appellant is a professional Chartered Accountant. To do this work efficiently and in order to augment his income, a Chartered Accountant is supposed to move around as well. If a Chartered Accountant is doing taxation work, he has to appear before the assessing authorities and appellate authorities under the Income Tax Act, as a Chartered Accountant is allowed to practice up to Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. Many times Chartered Accountants are supposed to visit their clients as well. In case a Chartered Accountant is primarily doing audit work, he is not only required to visit his clients but various authorities as well. There are many statutory functions under various statutes which the Chartered Accountants perform. Free movement is involved for performance of such functions. A person who is engaged and cannot freely move to attend to his duties may not be able to match the earning in comparison with the one who is healthy and bodily abled.