MADHINABHAI HIMATBHAI Vs. GUJARAT ELECTRICITY BOARD BARODA
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Gujarat Electricity Board Baroda
Referred Judgements :-
BUCKLAND V. GUILDFOR GAS LIGH AND COKE CO.
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A.P.RAVANI, S.L.TALATI -
(1.)These two appeals are directed against the common judgment rendered by the Civil Judge (S. D.) Broach in Special Civil Suit No. 55 of 1974 and Special Civil Suit No. 56 of 1974 on 30-10-1975. The facts which gave rise to these two appeals may be stated as under :-
On 24-10-1973 on the foot track between village Rundha and Kabirgaon two young boys Chandrasinh and Dalsukhbhai expired because while passing on that foot track they came in contact with an electric live wire. The parents of Chandrasinh filed Special Civil Suit No. 55 1974 against the respondent Gujarat Electricity Board and claimed a sum of Rs. 50 0 compensation. The widow of Dalsukhbhai and minor children of Dalsukhbhai and the parents of Dalsukhbhai filed Special Civil Suit No. 56 of 1974 and they claimed a sum of Rs. 67340.00. Both the suits were heard together and the evidence was recorded in Special Civil Suit No. 55 of 1974 and ultimately the learned Civil Judge (S. D.) Broach dismissed both the suits. The dismissal of these suits is challenged by filing these two appeals.
(2.). The learned advocate Shri Desai took us through the relevant evidence and also the important part of the judgment. The learned Civil Judge while discussing the evidence gave importance to some of the contradictions which appeared in the evidence of the witnesses and he totally neglected the evidence led on behalf of the plaintiffs and came to the conclusion that negligence of the respondent Gujarat Electricity Board was not established. Having gone through the evidence it clearly appears to us that an erroneous approach was made to the entire evidence. There was ample evidence on record by which one can come to the conclusion that the electric live wire was on the foot track and admittedly Dalsukhbhai and Chandrasinh did pass through that foot track as they were proceeding towards Kabirgaon. On that very day Police Patel of Chikhli made a report to the Taluka Development officer. In that report which is Exh. 35 it is clearly stated that the labourers of village Rundha were going to Kabirgaon for labour work and at that time near Tokri Khari electric live wire was lying broken and two persons by name Dalsukhbhai and Chandrasinh expired on the spot because of the electric current. The Taluka Development Officer also made a report to the District Development Officer which was produced at Exh. 27. In that report it was stated that he having received the information had gone on the spot and he had found the electric wire lying on the road near Tokri Khari. It is also stated that Chandrasinh and Dalsukhbhai while passing on that road tried to put aside that wire because it was obstructing the way and they immediately expired on the spot because electric current was passing from that wire. He recommended to the District Development Officer that the panchayat should atleast pay a sum of Rs. 250.00 to the members of the family of each one of the deceased. Similar recommendation was made to the District Development Officer by Taluka Development Officer Valia which is produced at Exh. 28. Thereafter there is panchnama Exh. 35 which is prepared on the same day i.e. on 24-10-1973. In that panchnama it is clearly slated that on the place of the incident electric wire which was broken was lying there. At that place there were two khokra trees and the electric wire had broken on the trees and thereafter it had come down on the road. In panchnama Exh. 53 which is prepared on the next day and which is signed by four persons it is stated that the electric wire was lying on the road. Thereafter there is a report of the Engineer of the respondent which is produced at Exh. 60 in which also it is stated that the top face conductor was broken near the pole. It is also stated that the conductor had become weak. Thereafter in the report there is an inference and by the inference it is stated that the incumbent must have tried to touch the conductor while crossing this part and hence the accident would have occurred. Now that therefore from the documentary evidence on record it was clear that while Dalsukhbhai and Chandrasinh were proceeding towards Kabirgao from village Rundha they were walking on the foot track and they expired because of an electric wire which was lying on that foot track. We may here mention that in the written statement it was suggested by way of defence that the electric wire might have broken because of the wind and may be on the tree and the boys must have climbed the tree and therefore the incident must have occurred. We may here mention that it was early morning and there is evidence on record which goes to show that they were going for labour work and they had to reach in time at a place where they were expected to work. Further the trees were not fruit trees and one would not be tempted to climb the tree which had no fruit. Under these circumstances the suggestion is such which cannot be accepted and there is ample evidence also on record by which one can come to an independent conclusion that this incident occurred while two boys were walking on the foot track and they had not even touched the tree.
(3.). Witness Amarsing Exh. 44 who is the father of deceased Chandrasinh in his evidence clearly stated that the incident occurred in the early morning and so soon as he heard about the incident he went on the spot and he saw that his son was lying on the road and there was one electric wire adjacent near to his son. He also stated that at a distance of one hand away from his son be saw Dalsukhbhai Madhia lying on the road. Both persons were lying dead. He being the villager went to the extent of saying that when he saw the electric wire he saw the current passing from the wire. That may or may not be true and in cross examination the only question asked in regard to this aspect was that he had not touched electric wire which was lying. The fact that the two persons were lying dead and the fact that the electric wire was lying on that particular place could not be disputed.
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