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Punjab & Haryana HC Grants ₹95 Lakh Compensation To Minor Who Got Electrocuted From Live Wire Lying On Street, Resulting In Amputation Of Arms

Drishti Yadav
4 Jun 2022 6:30 AM GMT
Punjab and haryana high court, Electricity Crisis, UT Chandigarh, strike, employee, hardship, Suo-Moto Cognizance, Presence, Chief Engineer, Justice Ajay Tewari and Justice Pankaj Jain,
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Photo : Andrey Metelev on Unsplash

The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently directed the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam to pay compensation of Rs. 95 lakh to the petitioner, a minor girl who got electrocuted from a broken electric pole lying on the street with live electric wires attached to it, resulting in amputation of both arms.

The bench comprising Justice Jaishree Thakur held that the facts of the case in hand lead to application of principle of "strict liability" and that in an incident of this nature, inference can be drawn that there has been an element of carelessness on the part of the Electricity Board in maintaining the supply line.

"In case of an incident involving electricity line, burden is essentially on the Electricity Board to plead and prove that it was not their fault and the snapping of the live wire can be described to be an act of negligence. When an incident of this nature is involved, inference can surely be drawn that there has been an element of carelessness on the part of the Electricity Board in maintaining the supply line. The facts of the case in hand lead to application of principle of strict liability."

Court placed reliance on the case of M.P. Electricity Board Vs. Shail Kumari 2002 (1) CCC 685(SC), wherein the Supreme Court held that the responsibility to supply electric energy in the particular locality was statutorily conferred on the Board. Therefore, if the transmitted energy causes injury or death to a person, who gets unknowingly trapped into it, the primary liability to compensate, lies on the supplier of the electric energy.

Court further placed reliance on, the Supreme Court's judgement in Union of India v. Prabhakaran Vijaya Kumar and others (2008) 9 SCC 527, wherein it was held that Strict liability focuses on the nature of the defendants' activity rather than, the way in which it is carried on.

After relying on various judgements, court held that the respondent-Nigam is liable to pay compensation to the petitioner in the instant case.

Therefore, in view of the well settled law, this Court has no hesitation in holding that the respondent-Nigam is liable to pay compensation to the petitioner in the instant case.

With regard to the question of quantum of compensation, court relied on the judgement of Naval Kumar alias Rohit Kumar vs. State of H.P. & others, and held that this Court deems it appropriate to award a compensation of Rs.95 lakhs with interest payable @7% per annum from the date of filing of the writ petition.

Keeping in view the principles laid down for awarding compensation in Naval Kumar's case (supra) and the fact that the case in hand is similar to that of Naval Kumar, this Court deems it appropriate to award a compensation of Rs.95 lakhs to the petitioner with interest payable @7% per annum from the date of filing of the writ petition.

Court further added that the amount stands enhanced considering the fact that 5 years have elapsed since the amount was awarded by the Supreme Court in Naval Kumar's case taking into account the cost of inflation, stated to be almost 15% as on date.

The amount stands enhanced considering the fact that 5 years have elapsed since the amount was awarded by the Supreme Court in almost similar circumstances and taking into account the cost of inflation, stated to be almost 15% as on date.

Therefore, the court allowed the writ petition in above terms.

Case Title: Ishiqa @ Yashika Vs State of Haryana and others

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 133

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