5 cr for Aussie crippled by fall in Delhi hotel pool
(times of india, mumbai edition dated 04-02-2011, @ page no. 01)
New Delhi: In one of the highest damages awarded to an individual by an Indian court, the Delhi high court on Monday granted nearly Rs 5 crore as compensation to an Australian swimmer who became paralyzed from the waist down after slipping in the swimming pool of an ITDC hotel in the capital 33 years ago.
Susan Leigh Beer was 18 when she slipped on the algae-lined floor of the swimming pool at Akbar Hotel after she jumped into its shallow end. The accident gave her a massive gash in the head, and crippled her for life. Responding to the court order from her home in Australia, Susan told TOI, “It’s been a frustrating, difficult and long struggle for us all. Let us pray this will be the end of this nightmare.”
Holding the Indian Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, which managed the hotel, guilty of negligence, Justice B D Ahmed said Beer was entitled to Rs 1,82,00,000 with simple interest at the rate of 6% per annum from January 22, 1982 till the date of the decree, and future simple interest at the rate of 10% a year till its realization—a sum of roughly Rs 5 crore.
ITDC’s plea of victim’s negligence rejected
New Delhi: Thirty-three years ago, 18-year-old Susan Leigh Beer, a member of the Queensland polo team, had come to India on holiday with her parents and brother. During that trip, a jump into a pool at an ITDC hotel in Delhi left her paralyzed after she slipped on its dirty floor. On Thursday, the Delhi HC awarded Beer roughly Rs 5 crore in damages. “It is clear that it was on account of the defendant’s (ITDC) negligence that the floor of the swimming pool was slippery due to which the plaintiff suffered injuries,” the bench said. It took into account that Susan became quadriplegic after receiving head and spinal cord injuries. Her case was pursued by the Australian legal aid services which hired senior advocate Madan Bhatia and Anup Kumar Sinha to argue their case in Delhi.
HOW IT WAS CALCULATED :
The court calculated Rs 50 lakh towards damages for physical pain, mental and psychological anguish and loss of education, and Rs 1.27 crore on account of damages for loss of earnings for the rest of her life. It rejected ITDC’s plea that she suffered injuries due to her own negligence. “She merely jumped into the pool in the shallow end as she may have done on hundreds of occasions, being a person more than accustomed to swimming and one who had spent hundreds of hours in and around swimming pools,” it said. TNN