The Delhi High Court awarded Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the family of a 23-year-old man, who was electrocuted when an exposed live electric wire fell on his bicycle, saying the negligence of BSES Rajdhani in maintaining electric wires is writ large.
The high court directed that the compensation amount will be the liability of the discom and Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd, with which BSES Rajdhani was claimed to be insured, jointly and severally and said it is for them to decide whose liability it is to pay the money.
"A young boy has died after coming in contact with a live electric wire that has fallen on the road. In the counter affidavit vague and evasive denial has been made. Clearly based on the above facts and the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself), it is clear that respondent No.2/BSES-RPL is guilty of negligence. The death of the deceased took place due to the negligence of respondent No.2," Justice Jayant Nath said.
The court's January 15 verdict came on a petition by Bihar resident Munni Devi, who said her son Mintu Kumar was pursuing a bachelor degree from Indira Gandhi Open University and while passing through Kalkaji on his bicycle in May 2007 he lost his life due to electrocution when an exposed live electric wire fell down upon his bicycle.
The plea claimed that this act was totally attributable to the negligence of Delhi government and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BSES RPL).
The petitioner woman said she was a housewife, suffering from acute anaemia, and her husband, a labourer, earned about Rs 48000 per annum.
The plea said they had no other source of income and were running from pillar to post in Delhi to get justice for their son.
BSES Rajdhani raised several objections to the claim of compensation, including that it had no knowledge of the incident and maintainability of the petition after 12 years.
Delhi government submitted that it had no role to play in the incident as it happened in the jurisdiction of the distribution licensee BSES RPL.
On the discom's submission, the high court said, "It is a strange submission being made by the distribution company In-charge of distribution of electricity in the area. It is inconceivable that a death has taken place due to electrocution from the distribution wires within the territory of respondent No.2 on a public street and respondent No.2 claims ignorance of such a major incident."
The judge said the plea of the discom cannot clearly be believed and this vague plea "fortifies my conclusion of the negligence of respondent No.2. The negligence of respondent No.2 in maintaining electric wires is writ large on the face of the record".
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