The school authorities owed a duty to the parents of the child to take proper care and give due attention to the child, the bench said.
The Kerala High Court has observed that the school authorities, while accepting a ward in their boarding house, are required to take all adequate and prudent steps in relation to the welfare of the child, as they stand in loco parentis in so far as the child is concerned, though may be to a limited extent.
A division bench comprising Justice V Chitambaresh and Justice Sathish Ninan upheld the finding of the trial court that there was negligence on the part of the school authorities, which led to death of a 12-year-old boy, who had succumbed to jaundice while he was staying in the boarding house. The bench, however, set aside the decree against the doctor who was also found to be negligent by the trial court.
“The child was away from the parents and was under the care and custody of the school authorities. When the child was sick and was on medical treatment and the health condition was to be monitored as directed by the doctor who was treating the child, it could be nothing but negligence on the part of the school authorities to have omitted to take care of the child and look into his health and interests,” the bench said.
The court also said there was nothing short of negligence on the part of the school authorities which led to the aggravation of the sickness to such a high degree. “The school authorities owed a duty to the parents of the child to take proper care and give due attention to the child. Though there may not be a written express contract whereby the school authorities undertake to take care of the child, there is an implied contract which binds the school authorities compelling them to do so when a ward is admitted to the school hostel,” the bench further observed.
Read the Judgment here.