The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Police to pay a compensation of Rs 75 lakh to a youth, who is in a vegetative state after being met with an accident due to the chained barricades kept on a road here.
The high court held the victim was entitled to the claim of damages for the negligence and failure of the Delhi Police to discharge its duty.
Justice Navin Chawla noted that the barricades were neither properly lighted nor adequate reflectors or blinkers were put on them to make them visible from a long distance.
The high court awarded Rs 75 lakh compensation to petitioner Dheeraj Kumar, who was 21 years old at the time of the incident in December 2015.
The accident took place on an early December morning in West Punjabi Nagar area when Kumar and his father were returning home on a motorcycle and collided with police barricades which were chained together so as to cordon off a road/ street completely.
The victim was admitted at Safdarjung Hospital and after undergoing multiple surgeries and treatment, he was discharged in a state of unconsciousness.
The high court was informed that as per the discharge summary record, he was in a state of 'altered sensorium, eye opening to pain, not opening to commands' and since then, his condition has not changed.
The youth and his father approached the high court 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.
The high court, in its verdict, said the barricades were chained and therefore, did not allow vehicles to pass through and such chains could not have been visible to the motorist from a distance.
"They were also unmanned. Merely because no helmet was shown to have been recovered from the site, cannot lead to a conclusion that the petitioner no.1 (Kumar) was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident or was driving his motorcycle at a high speed or rashly."
"It is not disputed that no one was present at the site of the accident at the time of the accident. In any case, the petitioners (Kumar and his father) are held entitled to their claim of damages for the negligence and failure of the respondent no.2 (Delhi Police) to discharge its duty," the high court said
"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 lakhs was found to be just and payable to the petitioners by the Delhi Police," the high court said and directed the police to deposit the amount with the registrar general of the high court within four weeks.
The police, in its response, contended that the accident took place due to contributory negligence of Kumar as he was speeding and was unable to brake in time to avoid colliding with the barricades.
The police asserted that the barricades were placed in a well-illuminated area and were visible from a considerable distance and the motorist seemed to have tried to slip through the gap in between the barriers and owing to the speed at which the vehicle was travelling, he was unable to spot the chain linking the barricades.
It also claimed that as no helmet or any protective gear of any sort was found at the site of the accident, thus Kumar was in violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Kumar's counsel asserted that he was wearing a helmet/headgear at the time of the accident.