In a historical verdict, the Bombay high court has held the Hinganghat Municipal Council responsible for death of a 32-year-old, who died due to jaundice caused because of consuming contaminated water, and directed the civic body to pay compensation of Rs. 4.4 lakh to the man’s legal heirs.
“The Municipal Council had failed in the performance of its duty of providing uncontaminated and potable water to the citizen in Hinganghat town,” the division bench of justice AH Joshi and justice AV Bakre said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Pandharinath Sahare, 60, and his wife Lilabai, 52, seeking compensation of Rs. 10 lakh from the municipal council for purportedly causing the death of their 32-year-old son, Sanjay. The daily wage-labourer had died in February 2003 due to jaundice, during an outbreak in three wards in town.
“Breakage and leakages are known incidents, but, the failure to notice and repair is utter failure in duty,” the judges noted, adding, “The leakages cannot in any manner be regarded as matters beyond cognisance by prudent human abilities.”
The court observed that in failing to notice the leakages and access by suction of contaminated water in the water pipelines, the municipal council had failed in discharging its duties with due diligence.