Mumbai: Swim Coach, Club Held Liable For Drowning Of 7-Year-Old In Pool, Ordered To Pay ₹9 Lakh Compensation

Mumbai: Swim Coach, Club Held Liable For Drowning Of 7-Year-Old In Pool, Ordered To Pay ₹9 Lakh Compensation

The commission, while upholding the orders passed by the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, held that knowing that the pool was deep, and that children were there to learn to swim, adequate care should have been taken by the club as well as the coach.

Pranali LotlikarUpdated: Sunday, June 16, 2024, 12:34 AM IST
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Mumbai: Swim Coach, Club Held Liable For Drowning Of 7-Year-Old In Pool, Ordered To Pay ₹9 Lakh Compensation | Representational Image

Mumbai: The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has held a swim coach responsible for negligent behaviour that led to the drowning of a seven year old in a pool in 2003.

The commission, while upholding the orders passed by the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, held that knowing that the pool was deep, and that children were there to learn to swim, adequate care should have been taken by the club as well as the coach.

The state commission, in its orders passed in 2015, had held the club as well as the coach liable for negligence and had asked them to jointly pay a compensation of Rs 9 lakh along with 9% interest from 2003 towards the child’s family.

Seven-year-old Rohan Jethva was enrolled in swimming classes in Acquatic Swimming Club in Dadar (West), where Rajaram Ghag was the coach. On April 28, 2003, the boy drowned. Geeta and Vinod Jethva, Rohan’s parents, approached the consumer commission and filed a complaint against the club and the trainer for negligent behaviour.

In his reply, Ghag claimed that Rohan’s parents had signed the membership form, which had specifically indicated that childred shall swim at the risk of parents. “No liability can be fixed on the swimming coach, as he is only a trainer, and no risk or liability falls on him in respect of any accident or drowning of the child. The swimming pool was managed through the Aquatic Swimming Club and therefore the entire liability is of the club and not of the coach,” Ghag’s reply said.

The commission, after going through evidence, held that the club’s membership form does indicate that parents applying for enrolment of children do so at their own risk.

However, the same form also stated that parents will not be permitted to stand or sit in and around the swimming pool while the training is being conducted. This recital in the rules and regulations therefore eliminated the presence of the parents from the site of the swimming pool and therefore they were not in a position to see their child or lend a protecting hand to him while undergoing training or swimming. This recital in the membership form seemed to be meaningless, in as much as the child could not be left to swim at his own risk and consequently had to be looked after by the trainer,” the commission said.

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