Wednesday April 17, 2024

Man seeks Rs62.6m compensation for his son’s death in open manhole

By Our Correspondent
March 29, 2024
In this representational image two persons holding notes of Pakistani currency Rupee in their hands. — AFP/File
In this representational image two persons holding notes of Pakistani currency Rupee in their hands. — AFP/File

The father of a six-year-old boy who fell to death into an open manhole has sued the Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation (KWSC) and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) over their negligence that led to the accident.

Atifuddin filed a suit before a senior civil judge (East) for the recovery of Rs62.6 million in damages from the KWSC and KMC over the death of his son, Abyanuddin, who died after falling into an uncovered manhole while playing cricket in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area on May 6, 2023.

Naming the KWSC through its chief executive officer and KMC municipal commissioner as defendants, the plaintiff stated that his son was playing cricket with his elder brother Arifuddin and other children, when his foot slipped while catching the ball, causing him to fall into an open manhole. Panicked, the children promptly sought help from residents nearby but due to the high flow of water, his son could not be rescued from the perilous depths of the manhole, he added.

He said that upon receiving the distress call, the KWSC dispatched a team to the scene but its efforts were marked by inefficiency and lack of coordination. "Despite the valiant attempts of the residents and the involvement of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation, my son remained trapped in the manhole for an agonising period," he lamented.

The plaintiff's lawyer, Usman Farooq, contended that before the tragic incident, the residents of the area had written letters to the defendants, raising concerns about the danger posed by open manholes but all their complaints fell on deaf ears.

"Despite being fully aware of the hazards of open manholes, the defendants failed to take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk, thereby breaching their duty," he said, adding that the minor had a bright future ahead as he desired to become a doctor. He maintained the child's premature death deprived his family of financial support and contributions he would have made in the future.

The counsel said the defendants were liable to pay a sum of Rs62,620,000 in damages, which was reasonable and in consonance with the principles laid down by the superior courts to compensate for the loss of consortium as well as pain, suffering and trauma the plaintiff and his family have endured under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855. The court was requested to order the defendants to pay a sum of Rs62.6 million to the plaintiff.