The liability of municipal corporation was decided by the apex Court in a very recent judgment in the case of Vadodara Muncipal corporation vs. Purshottam V. Murjani and others. In the said case, the Sursagar lake which was under the control and management of the corporation was given on lease to Ripple Aqua Sports club for managing the affairs of the boating club. On 11.8.93, against the capacity of 20 persons, 38 persons were allowed to ride in the boat which resulted in the death of 22 passengers.
The victims had approached the state commission which ruled in their favour. The order of the state commission was also confirmed by the national commission. Before the Supreme Court, the corporation had contended that the corporation was not a service provider and had no privity of contract with the victims. It was only facilitating the plying of the boat and the liability was of the contractor. The corporation had not direct control over the contractor or its employees.
The Supreme Court held that the specify activity was covered by the statutory duty of the corporation. Mere appointment of a contract or contractors did not absolve the corporation of its liability to supervise the boating activities particularly when there are express stipulations in the contract entered with the contractor. The corporation was not only discharging its statutory duties but also was acting as service provider to the passengers through its agent. The corporation had a duty of care, when activity of plying boat is inherently dangerous and there is clear forseeability of such occurrence unless precautions are taken like providing life saving jackets. The Court further held that in private law remedies, just and fair claims of citizens against public bodies have to be upheld and compensation awarded in tor.
The Supreme Court upheld the liability of the corporation under the consumer protect act.