Chennai: A 26-year-old healthy male bachelor, who was compelled to undergo celibacy because of the 100 per cent disability due to the injuries sustained by him in an accident in the city in the year 2009, has got reprieve with the Madras high court suo motu enhancing the compensation awarded to him by a single judge from Rs 5 lakh to a whopping sum of Rs 63.26 lakh.
A division bench comprising Justices N.Kirubakaran and P.Velmurugan suo motu enhanced the compensation awarded to N.Ananda Kumar while dismissing an appeal from the commissioner, corporation of Chennai, challenging an order of a single judge dated July 4, 2019, awarding a compensation of `5 lakh to the victim.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice N.Kirubakaran said, “celibacy” or “matrimony” is one’s choice. He or she can choose either “celibacy” or “matrimony” according to one’s own wish. Nobody can be compelled either to undertake celibacy or to get matrimony and if it is done, it will be violation of fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, apart from the basic human right. Here is the case where a healthy male person is constrained or compelled to undergo celibacy because of the disability due to the injuries sustained by him in the accident. Such a situation is very grave one. The victim loses marital prospects depriving of marital bliss apart from suffering serious complication of autonomic dysreflexia. The pain, suffering and mental agony being undergone by the victim can neither be estimated nor compensated. Accidents are source of violations of human rights and mainly fundamental rights of the citizens. It is the duty of every government to see that the fundamental
rights of the citizens are protected or guarded. The actions of the officials should not be the cause of violation of the basic rights of the citizens. Therefore, they should be very vigilant and not negligent in performing their sovereign functions as they are coming under the definition of State as defined under Article 12 of the Constitution of India. Negligence by the officials would cause havoc in one’s life is best evident from the facts of the present case, the humane judge added.
The appeal has been preferred by the corporation aggrieved over the compensation granted to Ananda Kumar, who sustained spinal cord injury while he was walking on the road on April 27, 2009, towards his residence on Kamarajar Salai near Vivekananda Illam along Dr Besant Salai, at about 9.30 pm, during which time an electric lamp post fell on him when the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board employees were engaged in removing the old lamp post by welding it. Because of the fall the electric lamp post on him and because of the negligence of officials of the Chennai corporation and the TNEB, he sustained injuries on his shoulder, head and spinal cord.
Shocked to see the victim, who was present in the court in a wheelchair, the bench said the victim categorically stated that he suffers a lot due to spinal cord injury sustained by him, even though he underwent spinal cord surgery.
The bench said a perusal of the order passed by the single judge would show that he had clearly recorded a finding that the accident occurred only due to the improper welding of the lamp post which was done by the corporation officials and not by the electricity board officials. The single judge came to the conclusion based on the submissions made by the counsel for the electricity board that the board had not done any work and it should have been only due to the work done by the corporation, that too improper welding of the lamp post. Any work performed in a public place, especially when people were passing through, should be done with proper precaution, after placing appropriate warning boards. It was not the case of the appellant in the counter affidavit that they took precaution by putting up warning boards informing the public about the work done at the spot. Therefore, the appellant failed to take precaution and warn the public about the ongoing work by placing sign boards. In the absence of putting up of any warning boards about the work being carried out by the officials/contractors of the corporation, it has to be safely concluded that there was negligence on the part of the corporation officials/contractors. If warning boards had been placed in the work spot, people could have avoided using that road. Removing the lamp post on busy Kamarajar Salai from Kannagi statue to Gandhi statue was very difficult and proper sign boards was a must. Corporation should have cautioned people about the work.