The family of a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) officer who was crushed to death 11-years ago in the office lift, won a case against the department with the Supreme Court asking the external intelligence agency to compensate it.
R&AW, on Monday, lost its appeal against the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s (NCDRC) order granting Vipin Handa’s kin compensation of `3.01 crore. NCDRC held RAW liable as the mishap took place inside their office.
The department was asked to pay 5% of the total amount. The Military Engineering Services, maintaining the lift, was asked to pay 25% and OTIS, the manufacturer, was directed to pay the rest of the amount. Additionally, all three were ordered to pay interest at the rate of 9% since March 2003, when Handa died.
A bench headed by justice JS Kehar refused to intervene with the NCDRC order. “This case pertains to the life of a young officer. He could have been promoted as cabinet secretary or at an equivalent post later in his career,” NCDRC held. When he died, he worked as a director with R&AW.
Before SC, R&AW challenged NCDRC’s jurisdiction to deliver the judgment. It said a government department cannot be a service provider vis-à-vis an employee who used the facility. R&AW also claimed that it had repeatedly written to OTIS complaining against the operation and maintenance of the lift.