Delhi High Court: Navin Chawla, J., while addressing a petition with regard to an accident caused due to the non-illuminated and unmanned police barricades held that,
“While the respondents claims and it is accepted that placing of the barricades at various places in the city is for public good, at the same time, it casts a duty on the respondent 2 to ensure that they do not become a cause for accidents.”
Petitioner 1 a student of Delhi University had suffered a road accident as informed by a police constable to Petitioner 2.
An FIR was registered against petitioner 1 by respondent 2 under Sections 279 and 337 of Penal Code, 1860 for rash and negligent driving.
Though it is disputed that petitioner 1 suffered an accident after colliding with barricades . These barricades were chained to cordon off the road/street completely.
Petitioner 1 had 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 is further asserted that as no helmet or any protective gear of any sort was found at the site of the accident, the petitioner 1 was in violation of the provisions of Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
It is thus asserted that the accident occurred due to contributory negligence of petitioner 1.
Disputing the above stated, photographs of the site were placed on record from which it could be seen that the barricades were placed at a spot that they could not be visible from afar.
Bench Analysis and Decision
Clause 6 of the Standing Order for “Procurement, Maintenance, Repairs and Operational Usage of Delhi Police Mobile Barricades? mandates that all barricades must have necessary fluorescent paint as well as blinkers so that they are visible from a long distance.
Clause 10 of the Standing Order further mandates that the barricades, under no circumstances, should be left unmanned.
Bench observed that from the photographs placed in record that place where the barricades were kept was not properly lighted. It is not shown that the barricades had adequate reflectors or blinkers so as to make them visible from a long distance. They were also unmanned.
Further the bench added that, merely because no helmet was shown to have been recovered from the site, cannot lead to a conclusion that the petitioner 1 was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident or was driving his motorcycle at a high speed or rashly.
Thus, petitioners are held entitled to claim damages for negligence and failure of respondent 2 in discharging its duty.
A total compensation of Rs 75 lacs is found just and payable to the petitioners by the respondent 2. [Dheeraj Kumar v. Union of India, WP(C) No. 10799 of 2016, decided on 18-05-2020]