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~By Kunal Rao

Delhi HC has dismissed the plea filed by top management of Hyatt Regency Hotel seeking to quashing of criminal negligence case against them arising out from the case of a young CEO (Gaurav Rishi) who suffered life threatening injuries after falling off the sixth floor of the hotel in 2013.

Justice Anu Malhotra dismissed the pleas filed by Managing Director (Shiv Kumar Jatia), General Manager (Aseem Kapur) and Assistant front office Manager (Karan Lal) on account of gross negligence. Court said that all petitioners had grossly failed in their statutory duty of care towards the victim by failing to ensure his safety by providing access to an unsafe, under construction and unauthorized area, which was not only illegal but also under construction and therefore was required to be blocked as per charter of duties, and further after the fall of the victim, there was an inordinate delay in providing medical attention to the victim by intimating the medical staff about the incident or provide prompt medical assistance with no medical staff available, doctors first informed only after 20 minutes who reached after 40 minutes and victim was too gasping in a pool of blood for 52 minutes after his fall and that the proper life support ambulance was called only after 1 Hr 12 minutes and no information provided by hotel to police/PCR.

Court further said failure to inform the police led to serious consequences as police just stationed outside the Hotel Gate, who could have immediately moved the victim to the AIIMS, which is in the Hotel’s neighbourhood, as it is vital in view of the settled law with regard to the importance of 1st hour after the accident termed as “Golden Hour” by Supreme Court judgment in case Save Life Foundation V Union of India.

The single-judge bench said that the pleas were not maintainable on the premise that further investigation is in progress as the victim was not in a “condition to make a statement”.

“The plea cannot be termed as maintainable on the premise that further investigation is in progress, which further investigation apparently qua the examination of the injured as least is now not in progress till an unforeseen date as the victim is not in a condition to make a statement,” the court said.

The victim Gaurav Rishi went to Haytt Regency Hotel on October 16, 2013 to meet his friends at the Club Lounge in the hotel. According to the FIR he was on the 6th floor and went out to under construction terrace on the same floor for smoking when he fell down to the 4th floor balcony. Medical reports had said he was not inebriated at the time of fall.

Following the incident, the victim went in coma and is still in that state. The family claimed that the mishap was a result of the negligence of the hotel administration and also due to the delay in the first aid.

The Police had registered FIR following the incident under section 308 (abetment to culpable homicide) but later the police filed a charge-sheet under sections 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) read with section 32 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 4 of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act 2003.

The accused under the case moved to Delhi HC seeking quashing of the FIR and charge-sheet against them. But the court dismissed their pleas on the ground of gross negligence on their part as they had given access to the victim for smoke to an undesignated area.  Now all accused persons have to appear before the trial court whenever they called for trial under the case.

—India Legal Bureau

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