The Delhi High Court has awarded ₹75 lakh in compensation to a person who has been rendered to vegetative state due to the accident caused by the chained barricades put up by Delhi Police.
While granting compensation to the 26 year old victim, the Single Bench of Justice Navin Chawla observed that although the barricades are placed for valid reasons of security, it did cast a duty on the Authority to ensure that they did not cause accidents due to their non-maintenance.
In December 2015, the Petitioner was riding his bike when he toppled on the street after colliding with the police barricades that were held together by chains.
As per the Discharge Summary Record, he was in a state of 'altered sensorium, eye opening to pain, not opening to commands'. Since then, the condition of the Petitioner has not changed
Therefore, the Petitioner moved the present writ petition seeking compensation towards the refund of medical expenses, loss of income/dependency, loss of prospects, continuing future needs as also for the pain and suffering suffered due to the accident.
While lodging FIR against the Petitioner under sections 279 and 337 of the IPC for rash driving, the police responded to the present petition by claiming that the accident was caused by the contributory negligence on the part of the Petitioner.
The Police further submitted that these barricades were placed in a well-illuminated area and were visible from a considerable distance.
Moreover, the Police argued, that no helmet or any protective gear of any sort was found at the site of the accident, thus the Petitioner was in violation of the provisions of Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
To counter the submissions made by the police, the Petitioner submitted certain photographs which suggest that the barricades were put up in areas which were poorly illuminated.
The Petitioner also informed the court that he was wearing the helmet at the time of the accident.
While analysing principles such as strict liability and duty of care, the court observed that:
'While the respondents claim and it is accepted that placing of the barricades at various places in the city is for public good, at the same time, it casts a duty on the respondent no.2 to ensure that they do not become a cause for accidents."
The court also observed that the barricades were neither manned nor put up in well illuminated area.
In addition to this, the court analysed Delhi Police's Standing Order for the 'Procurement, Maintenance, Repairs and Operational Usage of Delhi Police Mobile Barricades' and to highlight that the said Order does not permit chaining of barricades.
Moreover, the court observed that as per the Standing Order these barricades were supposed to have fluorescent stripes and were supposed to be manned.
Therefore, the court accepted the claim that the injury to the Petitioner was caused by the negligence on the part of the police by not following its own Standing Order.
As per the Court's direction, the amount has to be deposited by Delhi Police with the Registrar General of the High Court within a period of four weeks, failing which it shall pay interest of 9% per annum for the period of delay.
Click Here To Download Order