Making municipal services pay for negligence

One of the biggest issues we face in our cities as to today is the problem with regard to our sorry state of municipal services. The level of services varies from city to city, but some of the biggest problems that people currently face are examples of sorry state of sewage and cleanliness, poor condition of roads and streets, inadequate sanitation and garbage collection, poor upkeep of our current infra-structure. These problems can be attributed to bad governance, bad leadership, corruption and sheer laziness. Many times, citizens suffer because of this, and because of lack of responsibility, are unable to do much about this poor condition of municipal services. However, the courts are always a way to get justice, even if it takes a decade to do this:

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has directed the Chennai Corporation to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the parents of a child, who drowned in a storm water drain negligently left open by sanitation workers. Pointing out that the 18-month-old Venugopal died over 10 years ago, Justice Chandru decried the Chennai Corporation for having failed to submit its reply to the court in a timely manner.
He directed the civic body to pay the compensation amount to the child’s parents within four weeks, and warned that any failure in this regard would be viewed seriously by the court. “Insofar as the death of Venugopal, the Chennai Corporation is squarely responsible. Because of their negligence in not keeping the storm water drainage in closed condition, such an incident had happened. The minor Venugopal cannot be expected to know the danger of the stormwater drainage kept in an open condition,” he said.

In this case, the drain was kept open while cleaning was happening. This is negligence, since as the court pointed out, it is not expected that children will have the same sense of danger. Keeping a drain open like this was hence very dangerous.

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