NEW DELHI: In a stern warning to hotels and resorts, the Supreme Court on Thursday awarded a compensation of Rs 62.5 lakh to the family of a man who died after drowning in a swimming pool and said that a hotel having a pool is duty-bound to ensure the safety of its guests. The case pertains to one Satyendra Pratap Singh who was 35 years of age and had suddenly drowned in the swimming pool at Hotel Samudra in Kovalam, Kerala in March 2006.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also slapped an additional interest of 9% on the hotel. The National Consumer Commission had held that there was a deficiency of service by the hotel’s management, primarily because the lifeguard on duty was doubling up as a bartender. The hotel was managed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.
Agreeing with the commission’s views, the top court was categorical that a hotel cannot shirk its responsibility. “Since a swimming pool was available for use by the guests, there was a close and proximate relationship between the management involving the maintenance of safe conditions in the pool and guests using the pool.”
“A hotel which provides a swimming pool for its guests owes a duty of care. The duty of care arises from the fact that unless the pool is properly maintained and supervised, it is likely to become a potential source of hazard and danger. Every guest who enters the pool may not have the same level of proficiency,” it said.