Sunday, 19 April 2015

"unnatural death" u/s 174 Cr.P.C-"accidental death"compensation.

 Although no rash or negligent act is noticed on the part of  the
respondents, the  fact  remains  that  the  deceased-Ammini  was  doing  the
household work for the  respondents   No.1  &  2  and  working  as  per  the
instructions of the respondents at the relevant time.  As the death  of  the
deceased was caused on account of the operation of the washing machine,  the
respondents No.1 & 2, who engaged Ammini for the said  work  are  liable  to
compensate the deceased.   It is to be noted that the  object  of  providing
compensation in this case is to help the family of the deceased.     Learned
counsel   for  the   State   of   Kerala   has   produced   a   letter   No.
16770/J2/2015/Home dated 20.03.2015 from Home (J) Department  of  Government
of Kerala for our perusal, as per which the State Government has decided  to
sanction an amount of Rs.1,00,000/- to the appellant from  Chief  Minister's
Distress Relief Fund.  The deceased  belonged  to  a  lower  strata  of  the
society, in the interest of justice,  in  exercise  of  our  extra  ordinary
jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution  of  India,  we  deem  it
appropriate to direct the respondents No.1 & 2 also to pay  compensation  to
the appellant.

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                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                   CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  582        OF 2015
                (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 1632/2014)


RAJAN                                                      ...Appellant

                                   Versus

JOSEPH & ORS.                                    ..Respondents

                               J U D G M E N T
R. BANUMATHI, J.

Leave granted.
2.          This appeal by way of special  appeal  arises  out  of  judgment
dated 20.3.2013, passed by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in Crl.  M.
C. No.1325 of 2007, allowing the  application  filed  u/s  482  Cr.P.C.  and
quashing the proceeding initiated against the respondents in C.C. No.994  of
2006  u/s  304A  IPC,  pending  before  Judicial  First  Class   Magistrate,
Kodungallur,  Thrissur District, Kerala.
3.          Brief facts which led to  the  filing  of  this  appeal  are  as
under:- The appellant herein is the husband  of  the  deceased-Ammini,   who
was working as a maid  for  more  than  five  years  in  the  house  of  the
respondents No.1 & 2.  Ammini  died  on  15.4.2005  due  to  electric  shock
allegedly sustained by her while working on washing machine in the house  of
the respondents No. 1 & 2.   Initially,  the  case  was  registered  by  the
Mathilakam  Police  as  "unnatural  death"  u/s  174   Cr.P.C,   but   after
investigation 'refer report' was filed,  stating  that  it  was  "accidental
death".  The appellant filed a private complaint before  the  JMFC  and  the
Magistrate took cognizance of the case u/s 304A IPC and  issued  summons  to
the respondents. The respondents approached  the  High  Court,  praying  for
quashing the case pending before JMFC.   High Court allowed the  application
thereby  quashing  the  proceedings  initiated  against  respondents   under
Section 304A IPC.   In this appeal, appellant  assails  the  correctness  of
the said order.
4.          We have heard the learned counsels for  the  appellant  and  the
respondents.
5.          The appellant alleged that due to rash and negligent act of  the
respondents No.1 & 2, deceased-Ammini died.  It is undisputed that  deceased
was working as a maid for the last five years in the house  of  respondents.
On 15.4.2005, the deceased  died  due  to  electric  shock  in  the  washing
machine while working in the house of the respondents No. 1 & 2.   To  prove
the charge under Section 304A IPC, it is necessary to  establish  the  guilt
of respondents No.1 & 2 i.e. the accused, acted in  a  negligent  manner  in
not taking reasonable care of their washing machine and caused the death  of
deceased-Ammini due to electric shock.
6.          After due enquiry, the Electric Inspector has given  his  report
dated 23.02.2006, in which he has reported that  there  is  a  single  phase
current connection in the house of  the  respondents  No.1  &  2.    He  has
further reported that although body of the washing machine was eleven  years
old but when the insulation value was taken, it was found that there  is  no
possibility of  current  leakage  in  the  washing  machine.   It  was  also
reported that by mistake deceased might have tried to turn on  and  off  the
switch with wet hands and at that time she  might  have  come  into  contact
with the live portion behind the plug and died due to  electric  shock.   As
seen from the certificate issued  from  Modern  Hospital,  Kodungallur,  the
respondents immediately rushed to the hospital  to  save  the  life  of  the
deceased and she was declared dead  by  the  Doctor-CW3.    Considering  the
materials on record, we concur with the views expressed by  the  High  Court
that no offence under Section 304A IPC is made out  and  in  our  view,  the
High Court has rightly quashed the proceedings initiated before JMFC.
7.          Although no rash or negligent act is noticed on the part of  the
respondents, the  fact  remains  that  the  deceased-Ammini  was  doing  the
household work for the  respondents   No.1  &  2  and  working  as  per  the
instructions of the respondents at the relevant time.  As the death  of  the
deceased was caused on account of the operation of the washing machine,  the
respondents No.1 & 2, who engaged Ammini for the said  work  are  liable  to
compensate the deceased.   It is to be noted that the  object  of  providing
compensation in this case is to help the family of the deceased.     Learned
counsel   for  the   State   of   Kerala   has   produced   a   letter   No.
16770/J2/2015/Home dated 20.03.2015 from Home (J) Department  of  Government
of Kerala for our perusal, as per which the State Government has decided  to
sanction an amount of Rs.1,00,000/- to the appellant from  Chief  Minister's
Distress Relief Fund.  The deceased  belonged  to  a  lower  strata  of  the
society, in the interest of justice,  in  exercise  of  our  extra  ordinary
jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution  of  India,  we  deem  it
appropriate to direct the respondents No.1 & 2 also to pay  compensation  to
the appellant.
8.          As decided by the State Government, the  third  respondent-State
of Kerala shall  pay  an  amount  of  Rs.1,00,000/-  from  Chief  Minister's
Distress Relief Fund to the appellant.  Additionally,   the respondents  No.
1 & 2 shall pay a compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- to the  appellant  within  a
period of four weeks from today.   With the above direction, this appeal  is
disposed of.


                          ......................J.
                                 (T.S. Thakur)


                                                    ......................J.
                                                          (Kurian Joseph)


                                                    ......................J.
                                                          (R. Banumathi)
New Delhi,
April  8, 2015

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