On 18.03.2012 at about 3.30 p.m., the respondent-Naval Kumar alias Rohit Kumar, who was 8 years old at the time of incident, accompanied his mother to the fields to collect “Saag” where he got electrocuted with a high tension live wire (11 KV) commonly known as Lahru-Chowari Line. He received grievous burn and other injuries and became unconscious. On the same day, FIR was registered at the instance of the mother of the respondent.= In our considered view, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case such as respondent’s family background, his age (8 years), nature of permanent disability suffered by the respondent, his performance in studies, the determination of monthly/yearly income made by the High Court, expenses incurred and all the relevant factors, which are usually taken into account in awarding compensation to the victim, the respondent is held entitled for a total lump sum compensation of Rs.90,00,000/- (Rs. Ninety lacs) together with interest payable at the rate of 6% p.a. in place of Rs.1,25,00,000/- awarded by the High Court. 18) The award of Rs.90,00,000/- together with interest payable at the rate of 6% p.a., in our view, would fetch sufficient regular monthly income to the respondent by way of interest alone, if the awarded sum is deposited in the Bank and would thus take care of respondent’s upbringing and other needs for the rest of his life. The award of compensation determined by us is just and reasonable compensation payable to the respondent. 19) In view of foregoing discussion, the appeal succeeds and is allowed in part. The impugned order is modified to the extent indicated above by reducing the compensation awarded by the High Court. 20) In other words, the compensation awarded by the High Court is, accordingly, reduced from Rs.1,25,000,00/- to Rs.90,00,000/- with interest payable at the rate of 6% p.a. from the date of filing of the writ petition.

NON-REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL No.  1339 OF 2017

(ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) No.9471/2015)

State of Himachal Pradesh

& Ors.                                  ….Appellant(s)

VERSUS

Naval Kumar alias

Rohit Kumar                       …Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

1)    Leave granted.

2)    This appeal is filed  against  the  final  judgment  and  order  dated

09.01.2015 passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla  in  Civil

Writ Petition No. 475 of 2013  whereby  the  High  Court  allowed  the  writ

petition filed by the respondent herein  and  awarded  the  compensation  of

Rs.1,25,00,000/- under different heads for the  injuries  sustained  by  the

respondent due to negligence of the State.

3)    We herein set out  the  facts,  in  brief,  to  appreciate  the  issue

involved in this appeal.

4)    On 18.03.2012 at about 3.30 p.m.,  the  respondent-Naval  Kumar  alias

Rohit Kumar, who was 8 years old at the time of incident,   accompanied  his

mother to the fields to collect “Saag” where  he  got  electrocuted  with  a

high tension live wire (11 KV) commonly known  as  Lahru-Chowari  Line.   He

received grievous burn and other injuries and became  unconscious.   On  the

same day,  FIR  was  registered  at  the  instance  of  the  mother  of  the

respondent.

5)    The respondent was initially taken to  Referal  Hospital  Chowari  for

treatment.  Thereafter he  was  referred  to  Dr.  Rajendra  Prasad  Medical

Hospital, Tanda, District Kangra, Himachal  Pradesh.   He  was  operated  on

25.03.2012 and his both  arms  were  amputated.   He  was  admitted  in  Dr.

Rajendra Prasad Medical Hospital, Tanda  w.e.f.  18.03.2012  to  03.05.2012.

The  respondent  suffered   100%   disability.    During   the   course   of

hospitalization,  the  family  of  the  respondent  had  to  incur  expenses

exceeding  Rs.2,00,000/-  including  medicines,  taxi   charges,   attendant

charges, special diet charges etc.  The respondent has  now  become  totally

dependent upon family members even for day-to-day activities for his  entire

life.  The respondent was throughout brilliant student in  his  studies  and

had to discontinue his studies after this unfortunate incident.

6)    The respondent, through his mother and natural guardian, namely,  Smt.

Lata Devi, filed writ petition being W.P. No. 475 of 2013 in the High  Court

against the appellants herein  claiming  a  compensation  of  Rs.50,00,000/-

under various heads and also stated that they  have  incurred  Rs.2,00,000/-

for medical expenses.  The respondent  also prayed for a  direction  to  the

authorities to install and maintain all the electricity  wires,  conductors,

apparatus etc. strictly in  accordance  with  the  Electricity  Act,  Rules,

Regulations etc. so that no such untoward incident would take place  in  the

future.

7)    The High Court, by impugned judgment  dated  09.01.2015,  allowed  the

writ petition filed by the respondent herein and awarded a  compensation  of

Rs.1,25,00,000/- under different heads to the respondent.

8)    Against the said judgment, the appellants have filed  this  appeal  by

way of special leave before this Court.

9)    Heard Mr. J.S. Attri, learned senior counsel for  the  appellants  and

Mr. Nishant Ramakanrao Katneshwarkar, learned counsel for the respondent.

10)   Learned counsel for the appellant-State of H.P.  while  assailing  the

legality and correctness of the impugned order urged  that  the  High  Court

erred in awarding Rs.1,25,00,000/-  to the  respondent-claimant  by  way  of

compensation  for  the  disabilities  caused  on  account  of  electrocution

suffered by the  respondent.  It  was  his  submission  that  the  award  of

compensation by the High Court is on  much  higher  side  with  no  material

evidence on record in support thereof and further it  is  essentially  based

on assumptions and presumptions, which is not legally sustainable in law.

11)    Learned  counsel  also   contended   that   though   the   respondent

unfortunately lost  his  both  the  arms  thereby  suffered  100%  permanent

disability for his whole life at  such  young  age,  yet  having  regard  to

several relevant factors governing the issue, the  compensation  awarded  by

the High Court appears to be on higher side and, hence, it  deserves  to  be

reduced so as to make it a reasonable one.

12)   In reply, learned counsel for the respondent  supported  the  impugned

order and contended that it does not call for  any  interference.  According

to learned counsel, it is based on  proper  reasoning  and  being  just  and

reasonable, therefore, does not call for any interference.

13)   Having heard the learned counsel for the parties  and  on  perusal  of

the record of the case, we find some force in the submissions urged  by  the

learned counsel for the appellant- State and,  hence,  we  are  inclined  to

interfere  in  the  impugned  order  and,   in   consequence,   reduce   the

compensation awarded by the High Court to the extent indicated infra.

14)   The short question that arises for consideration  in  this  appeal  is

whether the High Court, in the facts and  circumstances  of  the  case,  was

justified  in  awarding  Rs.1,25,00,000/-  to  the  respondent  by  way   of

compensation for the injuries sustained by the  respondent  in  an  accident

which occurred on 18.03.2012?

15)   The High Court held and, in our view, rightly  that  the  incident  in

question occurred due to negligence of the State  and  its  authorities  and

hence the State was vicariously liable to compensate the respondent for  the

losses sustained by the respondent.  It may be  mentioned  that  the  State

rightly did not challenge this finding and hence we need  not  go  into  its

correctness.  The High Court further held and, in  our  view,  rightly  that

having regard to  the  family  background  of  the  respondent  and  further

respondent’s excellent performance as a brilliant  student  in  studies,  he

would have easily earned Rs.30,000/- per month in his life. We find no  good

ground to interfere in this finding of  fact,  which,  in  our  opinion,  is

based on proper material on record.

16)   The High Court, however, further awarded Rs.10,00,000/-  towards  loss

of companionship, life amenities/pleasures,  and  happiness,  Rs.10,00,000/-

for  pain  and  suffering,  mental  distress,  trauma  and  discomfort   and

inconvenience,  Rs.10,00,000/-  towards  attendant/nursing   expenses,   and

lastly, Rs.5,00,000/-  for  securing  artificial/robotic  limbs  and  future

medical expenses.  In our considered view, the award of  compensation  under

these 4 heads appears to be on very higher side and is not supported by  any

evidence.  It is, in our view, based  on  assumptions  and  presumptions  to

which we do not concur. In our view, entitlement under these  heads  is  one

thing and the quantum of grant of compensation under these heads is  another

thing. In this case, as  rightly  urged  by  the  learned  counsel  for  the

appellant-State that lump sum award of compensation under these heads is  on

higher side and is not supported by any evidence.   It  is,  therefore,  not

legally sustainable.

17)   In our considered  view,  taking  into  consideration  the  facts  and

circumstances of the case such as respondent’s family  background,  his  age

(8 years), nature of permanent disability suffered by  the  respondent,  his

performance in studies, the determination of monthly/yearly income  made  by

the High Court, expenses incurred and all the relevant  factors,  which  are

usually taken into account in  awarding  compensation  to  the  victim,  the

respondent  is  held  entitled  for  a  total  lump  sum   compensation   of

Rs.90,00,000/- (Rs. Ninety lacs) together with interest payable at the  rate

of 6% p.a. in place of Rs.1,25,00,000/- awarded by the High Court.

18)   The award of Rs.90,00,000/- together  with  interest  payable  at  the

rate of 6% p.a., in our view, would fetch sufficient regular monthly  income

to the respondent by way of interest alone, if the awarded sum is  deposited

in the Bank and would thus take care of respondent’s  upbringing  and  other

needs for the rest of his life. The award of compensation determined  by  us

is just and reasonable compensation payable to the respondent.

19)   In view of foregoing discussion, the appeal succeeds  and  is  allowed

in part. The impugned order is modified to the  extent  indicated  above  by

reducing the compensation awarded by the High Court.

20)    In other words, the  compensation  awarded  by  the  High  Court  is,

accordingly,  reduced  from  Rs.1,25,000,00/-    to   Rs.90,00,000/-    with

interest payable at the rate of 6% p.a. from the date of filing of the  writ

petition.

21)   Let the  appellant-State  deposit  the  entire  amount,  as  has  been

awarded by this Court, within 3 months from the date of receipt of the  copy

of this judgment in the High Court or pay  to  the  respondent  through  his

parents after proper verification.

……………………………………..J.

[J. CHELAMESWAR]

……………………………………….J.

[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE] New Delhi;

February 02, 2017

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