Stating that there is “nothing in law” to presume that the president and secretary of a housing society are liable for maintenance of electric poles, a Delhi court on June 1 acquitted them of charges under IPC 304A (causing death by negligence) after a 14-year-old was electrocuted by an electric pole. The incident took place in 2006 in a housing society in east Delhi.
The Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet in 2010 and mentioned that the death was caused due to rash and negligent act of the two accused persons — the president and the secretary — as they failed to properly maintain the electric pole.
Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Kumar Singh said that in order to prove the charges, the prosecution was required to establish that the two persons were liable for maintenance of electric poles and knew about the electrical defect, and that they failed to take necessary care despite such knowledge or did not give consideration to such defect.
Eight years later, when the trial ended, the court said the entire evidence produced by the prosecution does not support the claim that the president and the secretary were personally liable. “No written document, creating such obligation on the accused persons, has been established by the prosecution. There is nothing in law that requires a presumption to be raised that the president and secretary of any housing society will be personally liable for maintenance of electric poles. Vague claims of some witnesses that they were so liable cannot be accepted in the absence of concrete material establishing such liability,” the court said.
The court also noted that the prosecution did not establish on record if any grievance regarding the defect was made to the two accused. “There is no documentary proof clearly establishing such grievance of any resident of the society,” the court said.