PATEL MAGANBHAI BAPUJIBHAI Vs. PATEL ISHWARBHAI MOTIBHAI
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
PATEL MAGANBHAI BAPUJIBHAI
PATEL ISHWARBHAI MOTIBHAI
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Majmudar, J. -
(1.) These two first appeals arise out of one and the same judgment delivered by the learned Second Joint Civil Judge (Senior Division) Nadiad on 8-12-1980 where by the original claims in special civil suit No. 272 of 1976 for damages came to be partly decreed against the original defendants 1, 2, 3 and 4 out of which original defendants Nos. 1, 2 and (sic) are the appellants in first appeal No. 637 of 1981 while the plaintiff in his turn is the appellant in cross appeal No.1189 Of 1981 wherein he claims larger damages against the concerned defendants. As the plaintiff as well as contesting parties are appellants in cross appeals, we will refer to the parties as the plaintiff and defendants in the same sequence in which they were arraigned 'before the trial court for the sake of convenience in the later part of this judgment.
(2.) In order to appreciate the main grievance of the contesting parties in the present appeals, it is necessary to note a few relevant facts leading to the present proceedings. At village Vadeli, in Borsad taluka of Kaira district is situated a Shiv Temple styled as Nityanand Mahadev, temple. In the month of Shravan, Akhand Bhajan (continuous reciting of religious prayers) was being held at the said temple under the auspices of Bhakta Mandal consisting of residents of village Vadeli. For facilitating chanting of Bhajans in the said temple, electric, connection for fixing mike and lights in the temple was felt necessary. In Shravan of S. Y. 2032, such Bhajans were held and for that purpose, light and mike arrangements were made. Electric connection was therefore taken from the nearby electric pump situated on the well of original defendants Nos. 2 and 3. The said electric connection is said to have been taken by defendant No. 4 at the instance of and as per the directions of defendant No. 1 who was the trustee of the temple as well as Sarpanch of the said village. Defendants Nos. 5 and 6 are also alleged to have given suitable directions to defendant No. 4 to install the said connection. In the process, electric connection was taken by means of an iron wire admeasuring about 1200 feet which partly consisted of insulated wire and rest of the wire was open. The said wire through which electric connection was taken up to the temple, passed over various fields, one of the fields being that of the plaintiff. The said connection remained on spot for about 15 days without any untoward incident. However, on the day of the incident, that is on 10-8-1976 at about 1030 a.m. in the morning, the plaintiff while he was working in his field got electric shock on account of the electricity escaping from the naked wire which was passing over his field. The plaintiff as a result, got electrocuted and suffered grievous injuries. It is in these circumstances that he filed the aforesaid special civil suit in the court of the 2nd Joint Civil Judge, Senior Division, Nadiad for recovering damages to the tune of Rs. 80,000/- from the concerned defendants 1 to 6. He contended that because of the negligence on the part of the concerned defendants in taking electric connection by open and naked wire from the well of defendants Nos. 2 and 3 on the one hand, to the temple on the other, the plaintiff suffered serious injuries because of the escaping of electricity through open wire which was passing over his field. As noted earlier, the learned trial Judge partly decreed the plaintiff's suit to the tune of Rs. 42,000/- with interest and cost against defendants Nos. 1 to 4 and dismissed the suit against defendants Nos. 5 and 6.
(3.) The learned trial Judge on appreciation of the aforesaid evidence, came to the conclusion that the plaintiff established his case that defendant No. 4 through defendant No. 1 had taken the electric connection from the switch board of the water pump of the well of defendants Nos. 2 and 3 by means of uncovered iron wire passing over the fields of adjoining neighbours including the field of the plaintiff up to the temple of Nityanand Mahadev and the said act of the defendants was illegal and negligent. It was further found by the learned trial Judge that plaintiff had established his case that on 10-8-1976 he got electrocuted through open wire passing over his field and he got burnt as a result of the said electrocution. It was further held by the learned trial Judge that because of the aforesaid incident, the plaintiff suffered injuries on his hands and leg and he became invalid for the rest of his life. That, he suffered mental shock on account of these injuries. Accordingly, the learned trial Judge held defendants Nos. 1 to 4 to be guilty of tortious act and were held liable to meet the claim for damages. So far as defendants Nos. 5 and 6 were concerned, they were exonerated by the learned trial Judge of the allegations levelled against them by the plaintiff. The learned trial judge, therefore, held that defendants Nos. 1 to 4 only were liable to make good the plaintiff's claim for damages, So far as the quantum of damages was concerned, the learned trial Judge took the view that prior to the incident, the plaintiff was earning Rs. 6400/-per year and on that basis, his future economic loss was computed and adding the medical expenses incurred by the plaintiff as a result of the accidental injuries and hospitalisation and treatment, the learned trial Judge ultimately computed a total amount of Rs. 42,000/- by way of damages to be payable jointly and severally by defendants Nos. 1 to 4 to the plaintiff. So far as issue of interest on the claim was concerned, it was held by the learned trial Judge that the plaintiff was entitled to interest on the awarded amount from the date of the decree till payment at the rate of 6%. He was also awarded proportionate costs. The learned trial Judge negatived the contention taken on behalf of defendants Nos. 1 to 4 that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence and that he could have saved himself from the accidental injuries by taking requisite care. As noted earlier the aforesaid decree of the trial court has resulted into the present two cross appeals.;
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