|HC holds Assam Valley School responsible for student’s death in 2011|
GUWAHATI, June 30 - The Gauhati High Court, in a recent judgment, has ruled that there was negligence in the duty of care by the Assam Valley School and its employees, which had caused the ‘unfortunate and preventable’ death of one of its students Ranveer Das in 2011. Ranveer Das had died on June 20, 2011 upon being electrocuted while practising an electric guitar in the school premises.
The High Court in the said judgment while awarding compensation to the tune of Rs 30 lakh ruled that the duty of due care of the school authorities includes the preparedness of the said authorities to face a situation of emergency against the hazard which are common in nature and Assam Valley School, which is located 27 km away from the nearest town, was not equipped with an infirmary to take care of electrical accidents.
The Court had stated that when a child is accepted by the school authorities as its student, they assure the parents of the students enrolled, the school authorities’ duty of care which, among others, includes their responsibility to anticipate and identify the source of grave risk surrounding the students while imparting education to them.
It was stated that the assurance of the said duty of care made by the school authorities also binds its employees and the school would be vicariously liable if any breach of that assurance is made by its employees.
The case arose out of an incident wherein Late Ranveer Das, a meritorious student and a young musician was killed upon being electrocuted, while practising his electric guitar along with his friends in the music cell of Assam Valley School on 20.06.2011.
An enquiry was conducted by the Additional District Magistrate, Sonitpur who submitted a report indicating gross negligence on the part of the school authorities.
Both, Dr Debajit Das and Sharadi Das, the parents of the late Ranveer Das, thereafter, filed a suit being title suit No. 16/2011 before the District Court at Tezpur claiming damages on account of gross negligence. The District Court though held that there was negligence but dismissed the suit on technical grounds. The parents thereafter appealed before the High Court.