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Hotel Which Provides Swimming Pool Owes Its Guests A Duty Of Care; SC Directs KTDC To Pay Rs.62,50,000 To Family Of The Victim [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
28 March 2019 9:30 AM GMT
Hotel Which Provides Swimming Pool Owes Its Guests A Duty Of Care; SC Directs KTDC To Pay Rs.62,50,000 To Family Of The Victim [Read Judgment]
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“The duty of care arises from the fact that unless the pool is properly maintained and supervised by trained personnel, it is likely to become a potential source of hazard and danger”

A hotel which provides a swimming pool for its guests owes a duty of care, said the Supreme Court while directing the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. to pay Rs.62, 50,000, to the family of a man who died as he drowned in the swimming pool at Hotel Samudra at Kovalam. Satyendra Pratap Singh and family had come to the Hotel Samudra for a family holiday. While he was...

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A hotel which provides a swimming pool for its guests owes a duty of care, said the Supreme Court while directing the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. to pay Rs.62, 50,000, to the family of a man who died as he drowned in the swimming pool at Hotel Samudra at Kovalam.

Satyendra Pratap Singh and family had come to the Hotel Samudra for a family holiday. While he was swimming in the pool, he suddenly became unconscious and sank into the pool. A foreigner who witnessed this jumped into the pool and took him out. Though he was taken to hospital, the death occurred.

His spouse approached the consumer forum against KTDC. The NCDRC held that there was a deficiency of service on the part of the management of the hotel, observing that the lifeguard on duty had also been assigned the task of being a Bartender.

In appeal, the bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta , agreed with NCDRC findings and observed

"The duty of care arises from the fact that unless the pool is properly maintained and supervised by trained personnel, it is likely to become a potential source of hazard and danger. Every guest who enters the pool may not have the same level of proficiency as a swimmer. The management of the hotel can reasonably foresee the consequence which may arise if the pool and its facilities are not properly maintained. The observance of safety requires good physical facilities but in addition, human supervision over those who use the pool."

The court also observed that allowing or designating a life guard to perform the duties of a Bartender is a clear deviation from the duty of care.

"Mixing drinks does not augur well in preserving the safety of swimmers. The appellant could have reasonably foreseen that there could be potential harm caused by the absence of a dedicated lifeguard. The imposition of such a duty upon the appellant can be considered to be just, fair and reasonable. The failure to satisfy this duty of care would amount to a deficiency of service on the part of the hotel management."

The court also noted that the safety norms for water sports prescribed by the National Institute of Water Sports in the Ministry of Tourism of the Government of India cast an obligation upon the person or entity which provides a swimming pool in a hotel to appoint a lifeguard for the pool. The lifeguard should not be given any other duties which would distract her from the work of a lifeguard, the bench added.

Read Judgment


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