A bereaved family from UP’s Moradabad has moved the Allahabad High Court seeking compensation for the death of their son, Apar Shukla, who was mauled to death by a stray bull.
It was asserted in the petition that it is their fundamental right to properly maintained roads.
The Petitioners claimed that was caused because of deadly, negligently uncovered pot-hole(s), dangerous stray animal(s), freely roaming, in residential area, and power-cut of street-lighting on the main-road, resulting in complete darkness.
The family has now sought compensation of Rs. 1,00,00,000/- (1 Crore) from the concerned Municipal Corporation, apart from appropriate directions for proper maintained roads.
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The petition was filed through Advocates Shashwat Anand, Ankur Azad and Rajesh Inamdar, on the night of September 1, 2020, while returning home on a two-wheeler vehicle, Apar encountered a deep pot-hole in the middle-left of the main road, which was obscured and almost invisible on account of the power-cut at that time.
The pot-hole was not easily visible and the deceased only noticed it when he reached the spot and almost fell into the pot-hole. In a desperate attempt to prevent himself from falling in, the deceased swerved his two-wheeler.
Unfortunately, he collided head on with the sharp horns of a bull. The bull was also not visible due to the stark darkness. Apar was taken to the hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Contentions in the Petition
The Petitioners have averred that taking care of and maintaining all of the abovementioned aspects is a statutory and constitutional duty of the Municipal Corporation.
The petitioners claimed that this is a case of gross negligence on the part of the Municipal Corporation and it was noted that the right to have properly maintained roads is a part of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
If the violation of this right causes any loss, the citizens have the right to demand compensation from the concerned authority. Existence of such a right creates an obligation on the all the authorities that come under the definition of “State” which has been laid down in Article 12 of the Constitution of India.
The second argument raised by the Petitioners is that there was a dereliction of duty to take care on part of the municipal authorities.
The petition cited Section 114 of Chapter V and Sections 227 (1) and 310 of Chapter XII of the Uttar Pradesh Municipal Corporations Act,1959. By citing these particular provisions, the Petitioners have pointed out that the Respondents are obligated to maintain and improve the conditions of the roads and eliminate any menacing obstructions, including stray animals.
The Petitioners also invoked the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, considering the gruesome, ill-fated death of the deceased and the obligations that rested upon the authorities.