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Monday April 22, 2024

Court dismisses KE’s appeal against damages awarded to injured citizen

By Yousuf Katpar
February 29, 2024
View of the KE headquarters in Karachi. — Facebook/K-Electric
View of the KE headquarters in Karachi. — Facebook/K-Electric

A court has dismissed a civil appeal filed by K-Electric against an order for the payment of Rs9.2 million in damages to a citizen over multiple injuries he suffered after its pole-mounted transformer (PMT) fell down and spilled burning oil on him in Orangi Town in November 2018.

The city’s sole power distributor challenged a senior civil judge’s April 8, 2023 judgement, which decreed a suit of Syed Muhammad Asim Imam, who sought damages amounting to Rs14.5 million over the power company’s alleged negligence that led to the tragic incident.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (West) Syed Zaheer Ahmed Naqvi announced his order on the appeal after hearing arguments from both sides.

“The instant civil appeal being bereft of merits is dismissed with no order as to costs,” ruled the judge. He observed that the findings of the trial court were based on proper appreciation of evidence and material available on record and law applicable thereto, which needed no interference by this court.

The judge said that the appellant was under obligation to show why and how the accident took place and that accident was inevitable and did not occur on account of negligence, but it miserably failed to produce sufficient oral and documentary evidence or its own record to substantiate the proper and regular maintenance of its installation particularly of the area where the incident allegedly occurred. “It is settled principle that once the accident is admitted, the presumption of negligence arises,” he added.

The counsel for the appellant argued that the trial court failed to take into account the material, factual and legal aspects of the case and to appreciate and evaluate the evidence placed on record as well as the judgements of superior courts, thus resulting in gross miscarriage of justice.

He argued that the trial didn’t appreciate the fact that the alleged victim failed to prove that he suffered the injury due to any negligence on part of the company.

On the other hand, Advocate Usman Farooq, the counsel for the victim, stated that the judgement and decree passed by the civil judge were well reasoned and legal, and required no interference. He contended that the appellant had filed this appeal with unclean hands on the basis of weightless ground, pleading with the judge to dismissed the appeal for lacking merits.

On April 8, 2023, Senior Civil Judge (West) Razaque Hussain had ruled that the victim was entitled to get Rs9,090,000 in damages from the company with 15 per cent mark-up per annum from the date of the judgment till the realisation of the amount for its negligence that caused him financial and physical loss as well as mental agony. He said the plaintiff was also entitled to receive Rs191,000 as the cost incurred on the filing of the suit. K-Electric was told to deposit the amount with the nazir of the court within a period of 30 days.