8 July 2024


High Court of Delhi

Meera and Ors. Vs. MCD and Ors.




Where the negligence of the State authorities is clear from the record, appropriate compensation to the family of the victims is to be awarded

Present writ petition is filed by the Petitioners who are the legal heirs of Late Sh. Manish (aged 23 years) who lost his life on 31st August, 2014 as a result of alleged gross negligence on the part of officials of Respondent No. 1-Municipal Corporation of Delhi (Now, North Delhi Municipal Corporation), Electric Division-I, Kingsway Camp Delhi and respondent No. 2-TATA Power DDL on account of electrocution.

The case of the Petitioners is that, deceased lost his life on account of electrocution when personnel of Respondent No. 1 directed the deceased to pull the handle while installing a High Mast Light Pole which was to be electrified by Respondent No. 2. The High Mast Light Pole touched a passing unprotected wire maintained by Respondent No. 2 on account of which deceased got an electric shock and fell down on the road. He was taken to Hospital where he was declared brought dead. It is the case of the petitioners that they have suffered great pain, agony, mental torture and shock due to untimely death of their elder son aged about 23 years. They have also lost love and affection which cannot be compensated in money.

The Respondent No. 1 is seeking to shrug off the blame on the contractor saying that the contractor was responsible for compliance of the statutory terms and conditions. The facts show that, the location of the High Mast Poles was determined by Respondent No. 1. The pole in question was, as per the tender, located near the house I-2000 Jahangir Puri. The location is in close proximity of the 11 kv overhead line. This installation was without maintaining the safety clearances from the 11 kv overhead line. It was the decision of Respondent No. 1 to install the pole at that site which action was in breach of the safety norms/rules.

It was the primary responsibility and liability of Respondent No. 1 North DMC to ensure that, the installation of the High Mast Light Poles and the metallic ring frame is done as per the statutory rules and safety standards. Respondent No. 1 North DMC has been grossly negligent in fulfilling its functions. In the stated facts, Respondent No. 1 cannot be permitted to blame the contractor as is sought to be done.

The High Court in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 has no limitations or fetter on the powers except self imposed limitations. The Court has the power to award monetary compensation in appropriate cases. Where the negligence of the state/state authorities is clear from the record, appropriate compensation to the family of the victims can be awarded.

The negligence of Respondent No. 1 is clear from the facts on record. As present Court has come to the conclusion that, the death of the deceased took place due to the negligence of Respondent No. 1, the said Respondent is liable to pay necessary compensation.

With regard to the damages payable to the Petitioners, Petitioners No. 1 and 2 are the parents of the deceased. Present Court can take into account the fact that the minimum wages in 2004 for an unskilled labourer was around Rs. 10,000 per month. Keeping into account the dependency of the Petitioners on deceased, compensation of Rs. 8 lakhs is to be awarded to the Petitioners. The said payment shall be made by Respondent No. 1 North DMC within eight weeks. Upon failure to pay the aforesaid amount within eight weeks, the Petitioners shall be entitled to simple interest @ 9% p.a. for the subsequent period till the date of receipt of the compensation. Petition disposed off.

Tags : Negligence State authorities Compensation

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