“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.

———————————————————————————————————————–

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)

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