Thursday, July 21, 2011

HC tells The Rajkot Municipal Corporation to pay . 3.2L to man disabled by bicycle fall

Ahmedabad: The Rajkot Municipal Corporation will have to pay about Rs 3.2 lakh to Umesh Ranchhodbhai Patel (36) for a fall he had from a bicycle when he was 16. The RMC has been directed by the Gujarat high court to compensate Patel, who was disabled by the fall.
Patel was riding his bicycle on July 23, 1991, when he fell into a 30-foot ditch created by work on a drainage pipeline. His leg and ribs were fractured; worse, doctors told his parents that he would be permanently disabled. His father filed a suit seeking compensation, arguing that the RMC and other authorities were bound to pay for the negligence of the contractor.
Thirteen years later, a civil court in Rajkot ordered the RMC to pay Rs 1.45 lakh with 6% interest for treatment expenses, mental agony and permanent disability. The payment was ordered on the grounds that any mishap, or untoward incident, was covered by the contractor’s insurance. The corporation had entered into an agreement with the Gujarat Water Supplies and Sewage Board for executing the work of underground drainage, and the contractor had taken an insurance policy of the Oriental Insurance Co Ltd to cover all risks.
Reluctant to pay, the RMC, the board and the contractor approached the appellate court, and the litigation stretched for another seven years. The fast-track court upheld the civil court’s order in March 2010. But the authorities filed a second appeal in the high court. Patel’s counsel, Kishor Paul, submitted that the findings of both the courts were concurrent as it had been established that the accident had taken place due to carelessness of the authorities.
Justice H N Devani dismissed the appeal, which means that the authorities will have to pay compensation to the victim with 6% interest from the date of incident — that will amount to Rs 3.19 lakh. However, the high court observed that the appellate court’s order held all authorities jointly liable for payment, and the parties would have to approach the court concerned to have any grievance redressed.

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