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Dismal Physical State Apart, He Is Also A Psychological Wreck: Delhi HC Awards 20 Lacs Compensation To Man Who Became Bed-Ridden After Falling From An Electric Pole

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
26 Aug 2021 4:17 AM GMT
Dismal Physical State Apart, He Is Also A Psychological Wreck: Delhi HC Awards 20 Lacs Compensation To Man Who Became Bed-Ridden After Falling From An Electric Pole
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The Delhi High Court has awarded a compensation of ₹20 lakh to a man who became bed-ridden after he fell from an electric pole in 2014 while performing his job as an electrician at M/s BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL). Apart from the monetary relief, Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani went on to direct the State of Uttar Pradesh to continue treating the 28-year old as a person with...

The Delhi High Court has awarded a compensation of ₹20 lakh to a man who became bed-ridden after he fell from an electric pole in 2014 while performing his job as an electrician at M/s BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL).

Apart from the monetary relief, Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani went on to direct the State of Uttar Pradesh to continue treating the 28-year old as a person with 100% permanent disability and provide to him:

1. Disability pension
2. Lifelong free bus and railway passes
3. Free physiotherapy and occupational therapy, till as long as it is considered necessary in the professional opinion of the concerned doctors.
4. All other forms of relief, assistance, help and aid in accordance with his entitlements, under government schemes, rules and notifications, as may be applicable to him from time-to-time.

It further directed that a shop be opened in the victim's name in his native village in Uttar Pradesh out of the compensation he received, would be run by the victim's father or by any other responsible member of his immediate family, for and in his name.

Background of the case:

The instant petition was filed by the petitioner, Kehar Singh, on behalf of his son, Bharat Singh, who was the victim of an accident at the age of about 21 years which has left him 100% permanently disabled.

While performing certain work for M/s Bryn Construction Company (Bryn), which is a sole proprietorship concern engaged inter-alia in carrying-out assigned repair and maintenance works for BRPL in relation to the latter's electricity distribution networks, that Bharat suffered an accident, which has led to the filing of the present petition.

In 2014, Bharat, while working as an electrician with Bryn, was tasked with rectifying a fault in an electricity pole that was causing fluctuation in the electricity supply at a farmhouse in Bijwasan, New Delhi, suffered a fall while performing the task since the electricity pole that he had climbed on, snapped and fell.

The Court through its order had provided some immediate relief, rehabilitation, care and welfare for Bharat, from time-to-time, with due co-operation of the parties.

Court's findings:

While hearing the matter, the court dealt with issues on maintainability, inter-se dispute on liability, contributory negligence, strict liability, computation of compensation, etc.

With regard to maintainability, it was noted that there was an unbroken line of judicial precedents from which it was clear that there was no bar or prohibition on this court entertaining and deciding the present claim in its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution by way of public law remedy available to the petitioner.

It was noted that there was no doubt, that Bharat was working for Bryn and was tasked with certain maintenance work to be performed on an electricity pole owned by BRPL; which pole, as it turned-out, was not strong enough to take Bharat's weight or was not rooted securely in the ground, and thereby fell, as a result of which Bharat sustained serious injuries.

It was also evident that Bharat was not provided any safety gear before he was directed to climb the pole to undertake the task. Thus, the present case was squarely covered by the principle of res ipsa loquitur, whereby no detailed evidence, much less a trial, was required to establish ex-facie negligence on the part of BRPL and Bryn.

It was further recorded that so far as the inter-se disputes between BRPL and Bryn, or even the apportionment of liability between those two parties was concerned, that would not distract the court from awarding "just and fair compensation" to the victim.

Merely because there are more than one respondents attempting to foist blame or liability on each other, that would not defeat the just claim of the petitioner's son. In such circumstances in fact, both respondents would be held jointly and severally liable, giving them liberty to recover the whole or any part of compensation paid, from one another.

The Court had also interacted with Bharat in-person in open court with a view to seeing his actual condition first-hand.

Bharat's dismal physical state apart, it was also evident to this court that Bharat was a psychological wreck, not least because in the course of interaction with this court, he broke down on several occasions.

The Court was also made aware of the severe challenges that Bharat faced in his day-to-day living. He was unable to perform any of his daily chores on his own and required to be physically supported for all daily routines, from the time he wakes-up till the time he goes to bed, since he was completely unable to stand-up or walk or even sit in a chair without support and assistance.

As per medical opinion, Bharat's psychological state, his level of mental depression and anxiety fell in the "abnormal range".

In light of these observations, the court held that it was well and fully empowered in exercise of its extraordinary powers under Article 226 of the Constitution to award in favour of Bharat monetary and non-monetary relief, with all its limitations and restrictions, to enable Bharat to survive the rest of his natural life with a semblance of dignity and self-worth.

Click here to Download the Judgment.


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