Delhi HC awards Rs 75 lakh compensation to youth who met with accident due to police barricades

New Delhi [India], May 20 (ANI): The Delhi High Court has awarded Rs 75 lakh as compensation to a youth who is presently in a vegetative state after he met with an accident due to chained barricades placed by Delhi Police.

The order was passed by a single judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla.

At the time of the accident, the petitioner, Dheeraj Kumar, was about 21 years of age.

In December 2015, the father of the petitioner was informed that his son had suffered a road accident. The petitioner, who was on a bike, had toppled because the police barricades were chained together to cordon off a road/street completely.

After undergoing multiple surgeries and treatment, the petitioner was discharged from the hospital, in a state of unconsciousness. As per the discharge summary record, he was in a state of 'altered sensorium, eye-opening to pain, not opening to commands'. Since then, the condition of the petitioner has not changed.

The petitioner thus moved a writ petition seeking compensation towards the refund of medical expenses, loss of income/ dependency, loss of prospects, continuing future needs as also for the pain and suffering suffered due to the accident. He was represented by advocates Pankaj Vivek, Bidyarani, Harshit Chopra, Anuraag Chauhan and Paresh S Sharma.

Meanwhile, after the incident, the Delhi Police registered an FIR against the petitioner under Sections 279 and 337 Indian Penal Code for rash and negligent driving. In response to the petition, Delhi Police asserted that the accident was due to contributory negligence of the petitioner. It was argued that the accident took place because the petitioner was speeding and was unable to brake in time to avoid colliding with the barricades.

It was further asserted that as no helmet or any protective gear of any sort was found at the site of the accident, thus the Petitioner was in violation of the provisions of Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

To dispute the assertions, the petitioner placed on record photographs of the site to show that the barricades were placed at a spot which was not well illuminated and therefore, could not be visible from afar. It was further asserted that the Petitioner was wearing a helmet/headgear at the time of the accident.

After hearing the parties, court analysed a series of case laws on the 'duty of care' and 'principles of strict liability', the Delhi High Court stated, "While the respondents claims and it is accepted that placing of the barricades at various places in the city is for public good, at the same time, it casts a duty to ensure that they do not become a cause for accidents."

The court concluded that the petitioner was entitled to damages for the negligence and failure of Delhi Police to discharge its duty that is provided in the standing order.

Keeping in view all the facts and circumstances of the case and the law relating to award of compensation, a total compensation of Rs 75 lakh was found to be just and payable to the petitioners by Delhi Police. (ANI)