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Student Becomes Bedridden Due To School's Negligence During Tour : Supreme Court Restores Rs 88.73 Lakh Compensation

Srishti Ojha
24 July 2021 12:25 PM GMT
Student Becomes Bedridden Due To Schools Negligence During Tour : Supreme Court Restores Rs 88.73 Lakh Compensation
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The school did not give timely treatment to student when she had taken ill during tour, resulting in she becoming bedridden.

While hearing an appeal against reduction of compensation by National Consumer Redressal Commission in case of a student taken ill during a school tour and was consequentially bed ridden due to School's negligence, the Supreme Court has restored the compensation amount of Rs.88,73,798 awarded to her by the State Commission.A Division Bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Subhash...

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While hearing an appeal against reduction of compensation by National Consumer Redressal Commission in case of a student taken ill during a school tour and was consequentially bed ridden due to School's negligence, the Supreme Court has restored the compensation amount of Rs.88,73,798 awarded to her by the State Commission.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Subhash Reddy issued the direction in an appeal filed by the complainant being aggrieved by the order of the National Consumer Redressal Commission reducing the compensation awarded to her from Rs.88,73,798/- to 50 lakhs.

In the present case, the State Commission and the National Commission had arrived at concurrent findings of gross negligence by the respondents opining that the teachers accompanying the complainant and the other children, were negligent in performance of their duty. However, the National Commission, while affirming the State Commission's decision opined that a compensation of Rs.50 lakhs would suffice.

While noting that that an appellate authority has the jurisdiction to reduce the compensation, Supreme Court has stated that, that jurisdiction draws its source from the power of judicial discretion to be exercised in the given facts of a case.

"The power to exercise judicial discretion is indeed wide but is inherently limited by the requirement of a judicious exercise of the discretionary jurisdiction." the Apex Court has said.

The Bench has observed that the order must reflect due application of mind to the facts of the case, followed by a brief discussion as to why the appellate authority was of the opinion that exercise of judicial discretion was called for including the discussion as to why it opined the compensation to be excessive requiring reduction.

"Judicial discretion is not arbitrary to be exercised sans reason to the prejudice of another." the Bench said.

The Bench noted that there is no discussion by the National Commission and no reasons have been spelt out for the formation of its opinion to reduce the compensation. Further it observed that without opining that the compensation awarded under any particular head was excessive, it simply opined to reduce the compensation.

"In absence of any such material, discussion or reasoning, the reduction of the compensation patently becomes arbitrary and therefore, unsustainable" the Bench said

Facts:

The complainant was a child aged 14 years at the time of the incident studying in class 9 in an educational institution in Bangalore. In December, 2006, she went on an educational tour with other students to several places in North India, accompanied by teachers of the school. She was taken ill during the tour by viral fever, diagnosed as Meningo Encephalitis.

The doctors had opined that had she been given timely medical aid and attention, she could easily have been cured. Ultimately she had to be airlifted in an air ambulance to Bangalore.

Consequentially the complainant became bed ridden inter alia affecting her memory and speech with no prospects for recovery, and stands deprived of a normal life and marriage prospects despite being of marriageable age.

The National Commission, while affirming the State Commission's decision opined that a compensation of Rs.50 lacs would suffice.

Case Details

Case: Kum. Akshatha vs Secretary BNM Education Institution & Ors

Citation : LL 2021 SC 323

Click Here To Download/Read Order





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