15 July 2024


National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Paradeep Port Trust v. Chunilata Mohanty and Ors.




In a master and servant relation, master is vicariously liable for acts of omission of servant and liable to pay compensation for negligence and deficiency in service

21-year old educated son of complainant, lost his life by drowning at Boat Club, owned by Appellant, Paradeep Port Trust. Appellant has tried to shift the blame on their lessee, the TIDC, saying that the entire responsibility for running the Boat Club had been entrusted upon OP-2. Vide impugned order, State Commission, after taking into account averments of parties, allowed consumer complaint and directed OPs to pay a sum of 5 lakh as compensation to complainant for gross deficiency in service alongwith 5,000/- as litigation cost. It is against this order that present appeal has been made before this Commission.

Since, TIDC was only bidder, as stated by Appellant, they handed over operation of Boat Club alongwith Open Air Restaurant to them for a period of 6 years. It was evident that, while making such arrangements, Appellant should have ensured that, all terms and conditions, and more so, those mentioned in technical bid were strictly followed. Bidder was required to make arrangements for life-boys and life jackets as safety measures. However, facts and circumstances on record indicate that no life-jackets were provided to son of complainant or his friends, when they went for boating at the said Club. Appellant has not stated anywhere whether they had made any arrangements or taken any steps to ensure safety and security of the persons using the Club.

Indeed, Paradeep Port Trust is a vast organisation, responsible for carrying out various activities concerned with port management. Such an organisation is expected to exercise more vigilance and level of responsibility to ensure that such unfortunate incidents do not happen within premises managed by them and all possible precautionary steps are taken towards that objective. Appellant cannot get away from responsibility by simply saying that, management of the Boat Club had been handed over to the TIDC. The State Commission have rightly concluded that, Appellant is vicariously liable for the acts of omission of the TIDC and hence, liable to pay compensation to the complainant for the negligence and deficiency in service. State Commission rightly stated that in view of the contract between the Paradeep Port Trust and the TIDC, there was relationship of master and servant between them. There is no illegality in impugned order passed by the State Commission, vide which they directed the OP to pay compensation of 5 lakh to the complainant alongwith 5,000/- as litigation cost.

Tags : Compensation Liability Vicarious

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