Staff reporter

MCD, DDA indicted for their failure to perform their statutory and public duties

To pay over Rs 23 lakh to the fathers of the three victims

Would also pay interest at the rate of 6 % pa till the date of payment

NEW DELHI: Holding the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Development Authority liable for the death of three children at their respective facilities due to their poor maintenance, the Delhi High Court has directed the two public agencies to give monetary compensation to the families of the deceased for their failure to perform their statutory and public duties.

The fathers of the three children-- a vegetable vendor, a tailor and a daily wager -- had moved the High Court seeking pecuniary compensation from the two public agencies, submitting that their children had died at their respective facilities -- a lavatory maintained by the civic body and a park and a ghat on the bank of the Yamuna under DDA care.

Eleven-year-old Ram Kishore, son of the vegetable vendor, died on the spot when the wall of a lavatory where he had gone to relieve himself fell on him; the 15-year-old son of the tailor drowned in the river where he had gone to take a dip due to the “slippery” ghat; while the seven-year-old son of the daily wage-earner died when a heavy iron grill of a park maintained by the DDA fell on him when he along with his friends had gone there to play.

When the Court sought a reply from the civic body and the Authority to the petitions, it filed an affidavit when the judgment was reserved, trying to shift the liability to the DDA saying the lavatory was built by it.

In the drowning case, the DDA took the plea that no one was responsible for the unfortunate incident and that the police had also give a clean chit to its officials, while in the matter of the collapse of the iron grill on the boy, it submitted that the gate might have fallen because of its weakened condition due to the constant pressure put on it by residents of a village close to the park as they were opposed to the installation of the iron gate.

However, the Court rejected their arguments, holding that they had failed to perform their statutory and public duties and save the lives of the victims. The Court directed the municipal body to pay a compensation of Rs. 5.12 lakh to the father of deceased Ram Kishore. It asked the DDA to pay a compensation of Rs. 5.83 lakh to the tailor and Rs. 12.78 lakh to the daily wage earner. The DDA and the local body would also pay interest on the compensation amounts at the rate of 6 per cent per annum till the date of payment, the Court held.