'Event organisers responsible if celebratory firing causes mishap'
New Delhi: Organisers of events like weddings where celebratory firing takes place would also be held responsible for any mishap that may occur due to discharge of firearms, the Delhi High Court has said.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the person organising the event has to ensure that his or her guests do not discharge firearms and ought to inform the police if celebratory firing takes place.
The court said that if the government has not formulated guidelines on the issue, then till such norms come, "we need to fix responsibility on the person who organised the event".
"Something should be done by the person organising the event. If you are conducting a ceremony where celebratory firing takes place, you will be held responsible. You cannot say that you did not ask them (guests) to bring the guns," the court said.
It was hearing a plea moved by the father of a teenage girl, who died as a result of celebratory firing during a wedding near her house in April 2016. He has sought Rs 50 lakh compensation from the groom's family for the death of his daughter.
An equal amount of compensation has been sought by him jointly from the Centre, Delhi government and the police.
The groom and his family have claimed that they were unaware about any celebratory firing by the guests in the wedding procession and that they had no control over use of firearms by others. The court did not accept the contention.
"You (groom and his father) held the event and celebratory firing took place there. These two facts are sufficient to hold you also responsible," the court said.
It also asked the Centre, Delhi government and the police to examine the issue of who would be responsible for compensation in such incidents and listed the matter for further hearing on January 16, 2019.
According to the petition of Shyam Sunder Kaushal, his daughter died due to alleged "carelessness and negligence" of the groom and his family in checking the activity of one of their guests who had fired his gun in the air, leading to the tragic incident.
He has said in his plea that his daughter was standing in the second floor balcony of their house watching the marriage procession go by, when one of the guests fired his gun in the air and the bullet hit her. She succumbed to her injuries at a hospital three days later on April 19, 2016, the plea said.
The petitioner has urged the court to impose strict liability and consequently, make the people, who are organisers of such events and who fail to control such instances of celebratory firing by their guests, to pay the compensation in such cases. By refusing to stop their guest from brandishing his firearm in public and causing threat to the life of others, the organiser of the event is failing to discharge his duty properly and is guilty of gross negligence, the petition has claimed.