Responsibility of Employer for Safety of Employees in India (Court Judgment)

She was not provided with any medical treatment till 8.15 am as the doctors waited for the police to arrive and register a case first. She was seen by a gynecologist and then sent to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital at about 11.30 a.m. As a result of the injuries and delay in treatment, she was permanently blinded in her right eye.

In November 2006, the court had found Shanti Mukund hospital guilty of negligence in not taking immediate action to provide treatment and ordered it to pay Rs 5.5 lakhs in compensation.

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The court had also ordered Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital to pay her Rs 2 lakhs for failing to provide “proper treatment” to her.

While GTB hospital had paid up the penalty, Shanti Mukund hospital gave her only Rs 3 lakhs and went to the court with the contention that it was not liable to pay damages as “neither the victim was an employee nor was the person who committed the offence directly on their pay roll.”

The division bench headed by Chief Justice MK Sharma refused to consider the plea of the appellant. Blaming the hospital for the negligence, the court pointed out that the incident took place at 6.30 am but the victim was not attended to till 8.15 pm.”

They waited for the police to come and register the case—the patient was provided gynecological treatment by a junior doctor.

Her eyes were not examined at the hospital and no treatment was given in that regard on the pretext that a resident doctor of the OPD was unavailable. She was sent about 11.30 am to GTB hospital, observed the court.

The responsibility will have to be borne by the hospital concerned as they are bound to provide proper care and attention to the safety of not only the patients but also of attendants and nurses working there, although engaged privately.

The court made it clear that the hospital “cannot get away” from taking responsibility for the “brutal act of violating a professional nurse while on duty,”on its premises. The hospital was ordered to deposit the pending amount within a fortnight.