A Single judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla has awarded Rs 75 lakh as compensation to a person who met with an accident due to chained barricades placed by Delhi Police.
The Petitioner, Dheeraj Kumar, was about 21 years of age. One early morning in December 2015, the father of the Petitioner was informed that the Petitioner had suffered a road accident.The Petitioner, who was on a bike, had toppled because the Police barricades were chained together so as to cordon off a road/street completely.
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.
After hearing the parties, the observed that although the barricades are placed for valid reasons of security, it did cast a duty on the Authority to ensure that they did not cause accidents due to their non-maintenance.
The Petitioner was represented by Advocates Pankaj Vivek, Bidyarani, Harshit Chopra.
Centre was represented by Advocates RajendraSahu, Karan Seth.
Advocates Gautam Narayan, ShivaniVij, DacchitaShahi represented Delhi Government.
After analysing a series of case laws on the ‘duty of care’ and ‘principles of Strict Liability’, the Court stated while giving compensation,
“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 on the respondent no.2 to ensure that they do not become a cause for accidents.”
Clearly, the chains tying these barricades together could under no circumstances be visible to a motorist from far, the Court remarked.
The Court referred to the Delhi Police’s Standing Order for the ‘Procurement, Maintenance, Repairs and Operational Usage of Delhi Police Mobile Barricades’ and noted that it was mandatory for all the barricades to be painted with fluorescent paint and that they should not be left unmanned.
It was added that as per the Standing Order, the alignment of the barricades should be done in such a way to ensure that the traffic halts for checking, but at the same time, is able to negotiate through them.
Therefore, chaining of such barricades was not permissible under the Standing Order, the Court opined.
As per the Court’s direction, the amount has to be deposited by Delhi Police with the Registrar General of the High Court within a period of four weeks, failing which it shall pay interest of 9% per annum for the period of delay.