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Drain victim: HC asks MCD, DMRC to split compensation

The Delhi high court has asked Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to pay 50 per cent each of the total compensation of approximately Rs 7 seven lakh to the parents of an eight year child, who died of asphyxia caused by drowning in a storm water drain, which was meant to be enclosed by either of the two bodies.

The accident took place when the child, while playing with his friends, had fallen into the drain left open by the DMRC, after work was carried out on diverting it.

The child’s parents had approached the high court to demand justice in the case.

While DMRC said that it could not be held liable for the incident as the work of diverting the drain had been completed on 15.12.2006, well before the date of the accident, MCD on the other hand contended that it was the DMRC’s responsibility to cover the drain, as the body had never formally handed over the site to it. MCD representatives informed that the DMRC had carried out the civil works for construction of a parking lot at the site of the incident and alleged hat thus DMRC was responsible for covering the drain.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher said, ‘....I am of the opinion that a civil wrong was committed qua the petitioners’ child Lalu, on account of the negligence of DMRC and/ or MCD.’

The court observed that while nothing was brought on record to show that there was either a de jure or de facto handing over of the diverted storm water drain by DMRC to MCD and what did emanate from the record is that on the site in issue, DMRC had constructed a parking lot, which is not only covered but has also been segregated 
by a wall.

‘It is, therefore, quite evident that one of the respondents i.e., DMRC or MCD or both, could have adopted the same approach upon completion of the work at site,’ said the court.
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