Death by negligence, who will pay?

The law says the fire department officials can be held responsible for the girl’s death. But the police are hesitant to start investigations.

In the case of a citizen’s death during a Fire Department mock drill on February 24th, the Police have filed an FIR under Section 304A of the IPC (death by negligence) and are investigating. The case was based on a complaint by the victim’s brother against fire department. Section 304A is bailable and carries maximum sentence of two years imprisonment with or without fine.

File pic: Kiran Jonnalagadda

Lawyer Mukund T S confirms that prosecution can be under Section 304A itself, as there was no intent to murder. “The incident was caused by negligence only, hence the more serious Section 304 – culpable homicide amount to murder – will not apply. Since the accused were not appointed directly by the government, them being government officials will have no bearing on the case,” he says. Mukund practises under lawyer-researcher Harish Narasappa of the non-profit civil society organisation Daksh.

The victim, C R Nalina, aged 25, had died during a mock drill held by the Fire department in her company Bombay Rayon Fashions Ltd (BRFL) in Peenya Industrial Area. Nalina had volunteered to demonstrate descending down a rope from the third floor window of BRFL office. The drill, in which about 1000 employees had participated, was to prepare employees and Fire Department officials in case of a fire.

Just as Nalina was suspended in the air, the rope that was tied to her snapped and she fell. Having suffered serious head injuries, Nalina was declared brought dead at Panacea Hospital in Basaveshwaranagar. A postmortem was done at MS Ramaiah Medical College.

Nalina, a Labour Welfare office at BRFL, used to reside in Kodigehalli, and was originally from Gouribidanur in Chikballapur. She had joined BRFL one and half years back, after completing her Masters degree in Social Work from Anupama College in Basaveshwarnagar. Her parents, Ramakrishna Reddy and Lakshmidevamma, are farmers at Gouribidanur. Chief Minister and BRFL have promised Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh compensation respectively, to the family.

The rope used on Nalina was old and made of coir, instead of nylon. The coir rope is said to be purchased four years back and was not tested before it was used in the drill. No safety net was used to cushion the fall, as required.

Ravi Kumar, Inspector at RMC Yard Police Station, who is investigating the case, says that arrests will be made soon. “We have identified the responsible officials. We cannot release further details now,” he says.

Last week Kumar had given a different version to Citizen Matters. He had said that he did not know the names of the officials and that Fire Department had to give that information. However, A R Infant, Director General of Fire Department, says that police are free to take action as per their investigation. “Police has not approached us for any information,” he says.

Kumar says that investigation will take more time as they are awaiting a report from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Madivala. “FSL report will give material evidence, such as quality of rope used etc. We are also collecting eye witness testimonies,” he says.

Ravi Kumar and DCP (North) H S Revanna say that the FSL report would take long. “There is a long list of pending cases with FSL. We cannot say when their report will come out,” says Revanna. Chargesheet will be filed once the report comes out.

Meanwhile, Fire Department is holding an internal inquiry on the incident. The report was to come out within a week of the accident. Infant says that it would be submitted in a day or two. Newspapers had reported that soon after the incident, fire department suspended four officials – Devaraju, K Narayanaswamy, Marianna and Nizar Ahmed. Infant says that further action will taken based on the report.

Soon after the incident, fire department officials had tried to avoid responsibility, saying that many fire drills have been held without safety net. BRFL employees staged a protest at the company the next day, demanding action against those responsible. Infant later admitted to serious lapses in the drill. Officials should have tested quality of the rope and arranged cushions on the ground as per procedure, he had said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Lok Sabha elections 2024: North East Delhi — Know your constituency and candidates

In the high profile contest for North East Delhi, BJP's star MP Manoj Tiwari takes on the firebrand Kanhaiya Kumar (INC). Who are the others?

Table of contentsAbout the constituencyAt a glanceMap of the constituencyFind your polling boothPast election resultsIncumbent MP : Manoj Kumar TiwariOnline presenceCriminal casesPositions heldAssets and LiabilitiesPerformance in ParliamentMPLAD funds utilisationCandidates contesting in 2024Key candidates in the newsIssues of the constituencyAlso read About the constituency Well known for its high migrant labour population from the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, North East Delhi constituency comprises the following areas: Burari, Timarpur, Karawal Nagar, Ghonda, Babarpur, Gokalpur (SC), Seemapuri (SC), Seelampur, Rohtas Nagar and Mustafabad. This constituency has the highest average population density of 36,155 persons per square km — the highest…

Similar Story

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Chandni Chowk — Know your constituency and candidates

Delhi-based businessman, Praveen Khandelwal of the BJP takes on Congress' Jai Prakash Agarwal. Know more about them and other contenders.

Table of contentsAbout the constituencyMap of the Constituency Find your polling boothIncumbent MP: Harsh Vardhan, BJPOnline PresenceCriminal CasesPositions HeldPerformance in ParliamentMPLAD fundsCandidates contesting in 2024Key Candidates in the newsIssues of the constituencyAlso read About the constituency  Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency is one of the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the Indian National Capital Territory of Delhi. This constituency came into existence in 1956. It is the smallest constituency of Lok Sabha in terms of area. Since the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies in 2008, it is made up of ten assembly constituencies, which are Adarsh Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Shakur Basti, Tri…