Jammu Tawi, April 18
In a petition filed by Rachna Devi seeking compensation for the tortious liability as on the fateful day of May 25, 2001 when the petitioner was going to attend the call of nature at about six in the morning, she came in contact with live electric service wire, which was hanging down to the ground level and as a result of severe electric shock, she suffered serious physical injuries at her thigh, chest and left arm. She was saved by her father, although her father too suffered some minor injuries in saving her from being electrocuted. It is averred that she was taken to Government District Hospital, Kathua on the same day and looking to the condition of petitioner, the doctors attending her had no option but to amputate her left arm from the middle.
Justice Tashi Rabstan of J&K High Court Jammu observed that accident-in-question is stated to have taken place on 25.05.2001. The present writ petition came to be filed by the petitioner-victim on 29.08.2006. Respondents filed the objections on 14th October, 2006. Today is 18th April, 2017. Almost sixteen years are going to lapse from the date of accident-in-question, however, still the respondents have not initiated any meaningful step to enquire the matter thoroughly so as to know the actual cause of accident, because there is nothing on the file which could demonstrate that the respondents have ever conducted thorough inquiry as averred in paragraph-ii of preliminary objections, rather in order to escape from their liability, they have blamed the petitioner and her father having contributory negligence in dealing with the situation.
Justice Tashi Rabstan further observed that there cannot be any dispute on the count that the maintenance of electric supply is under the control of the respondents, therefore, they are equally bound to ensure that the life of citizens are not put in jeopardy. While discharging the sovereign functions, a duty is cast on the State to take such steps as are required for the safety of the people and, on their failure, they cannot escape the obligation to compensate a victim on the ground of immunity claimed.
With these observations Justice Tashi Rabstan allowed the petition and directed the respondents to pay a sum of rupees three lacs with 6% interest from the date of filing of the petition till its final realization. Let the whole amount be deposited with the Registrar (Judicial) of this Court within a period of eight weeks from today. —JNF
Jammu Tawi, April 18