Quashing FIR; Bhajan Lal Sharma Vs. State (Govt of Nct) [Delhi High Court, 01-08-2016]

Penal Code, 1860 – Ss. 288, 337 & 304A – Criminal P.C. 1973 – Section 482 – Quashing of FIR – Collapse of a Building.

Held:- Quashing the FIR in question at this stage would certainly send a very wrong signal not only to the petitioner, but the whole society at large and particularly to other builders, contractors and other agencies engaged in undertaking construction work, that even if they are grossly negligent in taking preventive measures so as to prevent predictable accidents – which may lead to serious injury and even loss of life, they could get away by paying some compensation to the heirs of the injured/ deceased – In fact, such like contractors/ builders/ agencies may find it more economical to risk the lives of their workforce, and in the eventuality of an accident occurring, to pay compensation, than to undertake all safety measures which, if taken, would prevent such accidents in the first place – quashing of criminal proceedings in the present case would create and set an unhealthy precedent, and send wrong signals to the society at large – for all the aforesaid reasons, the present petition is dismissed.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE VIPIN SANGHI

Judgment delivered on: 01.08.2016

W.P.(CRL) 1280/2016 and Crl. M.A. No.6706/2016

BHAJAN LAL SHARMA ….. Petitioner Through: Mr. Sandeep Sethi, Senior Advocate along with Mr. Anurag Jain, Advocate. versus STATE (GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI) & ORS ….. Respondents Through: Mr. Avi Singh, ASC and Ms. Megha Bahl & Mr. Ananya Mohan, Advocates along with SI Janak Singh, PS-New Friends Colony, for the State.

J U D G M E N T

VIPIN SANGHI, J.

1. The present writ petition has been preferred by the petitioner to seek the quashing of FIR No. 619/2015 dated 25.12.2015 registered at PS New Friends Colony under Sections 288/337/304A IPC and the proceedings arising therefrom.

2. The case of the petitioner is that petitioner is a building contractor. He was engaged to carry out construction work on Plot No. D-1093, New Friends Colony, New Delhi. The aforesaid FIR came to be registered in pursuance of DD No. 8A dated 25.12.2015 recorded at Police Station New Friends Colony regarding collapse of a building at New Friends Colony, resulting in people getting buried under the debris.

3. The case of the prosecution is that after reaching the spot, on investigation by the police it was revealed that during excavation of basement in a dangerous manner, debris and soil fell on the labourers. On search in the debris, one of the labourer Badri Prasad, son of Keram, aged 65 years, was removed. He was removed to the hospital. He was declared brought dead by the hospital. Several other labourers i.e. respondent Nos. 5 to 9 herein were also injured in the accident, and were taken to AIIMS for treatment. Investigations revealed that the construction of basement was being carried out without any safety measures. The crime team reported the commission of an offence under Sections 288/337/304A IPC. The deceased Badri Prasad is survived by respondent No.2-his wife, and respondent Nos. 3 and 4-his sons.

4. The present petition is premised on a settlement arrived at between the petitioner on the one hand, and respondent Nos. 2 to 9 on the other hand, before the Deputy Labour Commissioner, South District, Government of NCT of Delhi. The petitioner has paid a sum of Rs. 4,50,000/- as compensation and Rs. 20,600/- as ambulance charges, totaling Rs. 4,70,600/-, against receipt dated 26.12.2015 to the LRs of the deceased Badri Prasad, namely, respondent Nos. 2 to 4. Respondent Nos. 5 to 9 made a statement before the Deputy Labour Commissioner that they had not received any injury and that they do not want any compensation from the petitioner. Respondent Nos. 2 to 9 also filed their affidavits before the Labour Court in the aforesaid terms. The petitioner submits that respondent Nos. 2 to 9 do not want any further action in the matter, and that the said respondents have no objection if the said FIR and the proceedings arising there from are quashed, as no useful purpose would be served in continuing with the same.

5. Along with the petition, the affidavits of respondent Nos. 2 to 9 have also been filed, stating that an amicable settlement of all disputes has been reached with petitioner No. 1 without any pressure or coercion, and that each of the said respondent has no objection if the FIR and the proceedings arising there from are quashed.