Mr. Saini Sharma a senior Scientist in a renowned Chemical Laboratory, Bangalore, aged 45
years, checked in Hotel Continental International, Pune on 31 December, 2013. He landed at
Pune on 31 December, 2013 and was scheduled to continue his journey to Frankfurt on 2
January, 2014 to attend a World Science Congress between 5 and 8 of January 2014 at Munich,
where he was invited to present his research paper.
In the evening of 1 January, 2014, Mr. Sharma decided to take a plunge in the swimming pool
maintained by the Hotel. He reached the poolside counter at 9.00 pm. There was no one at the
counter. He entered the doors leading to the pool, and swiftly walked to the pool, threw his
towel and personal belongings on a chair, and dived straight in. The Hotel security guard ran
after him shouting at him that the pool was closed. Mr Sharma hit his head on the bottom of the
swimming pool, and suffered grievous injuries, long hospitalization and prolonged treatment.
The following facts are revealed:
The swimming pool closed every-day at 7.00 pm. The brochures and documents about hotel
facilities kept in hotel rooms stated that the swimming pool shall close at 9.00 pm. The counter,
near the pool, that kept record of persons entering the pool and kept custody of their things,
was closed when Mr Sharma went for swimming. A board placed near the counter gave
instructions regarding usage of the pool. One such instruction stated that the pool closed at 7.00
.pm. The board was strategically placed that anyone who entered the place could see the board.
It is mandatory for five star hotels to close swimming pools after 7.00 p.m.
The door leading to the pool was wide open when Mr Sharma walked towards the pool. Mr
Sharma did not keep his personal belongings at the counter since the counter was closed, but
carried them with him and kept them on a chair near the pool. There was no one in the pool
when Mr Sharma dived in. Mr Sharma dived into the shallow side of the pool. There was only
one security guard sitting close to the pool. The security guard had closed most of the lights on
the pool, except those that would were necessary for keeping the place lighted for security
M Sharma had taken a swim on 31 December, 2013 between 6.30 to 7.00 pm. He had full
knowledge about the rules and regulations of the Hotel.
On 1 July, 2014 Mr Sharma filed a suit against Hotel Continental International for recovery of an
amount of Rs.75 lakhs, by way of damages and interest calculated @ 12% from the date of the
filing of the suit until payment and costs. While the suit was pending, Mr. Sharma died of heart
attack while undergoing treatment for the accident. His wife and 2 minor children, a girl and a
boy, were brought on record as his legal representatives. The claim was amended, and an
additional clause seeking compensation arising to dependants from his death was included.
Hotel Continental International has approached you. The following queries arise for your
1 Was Hotel Continental International
2 Whether Mr Sharma, the plaintiff, failed
to take reasonable care of himself?
3 Is Mr Sharma is guilty of contributory
negligence ? If so, to what extent and
4 Did Mr Sharma have the last
opportunity to avoid accident?
5 Whether the wife and children of Mr
Sharma could continue the suit after his
death (Refer to section 306 of the
Succession Act, judgment of the
Supreme Court of 1988 in M Veerappan
v Evelyn Sequiera, and Fatal Accidents
Act 1855) ?
6 Will the Hotel be liable for losses arising
from death of Mr Sharma?
7 What heads of loss are likely to be
awarded after death of Mr Sharma?
What is the significance of the fact and
nature of Mr Sharma’s employment?