IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
ORDERS. Saghir Ahmad, J.
1. Challa Chinnappa Reddy and his son Challa Ramkrishna Reddy were involved in Criminal Case No. 18/1997 of Owk Police Station in Baganapalle Taluk of Kurnool District. They were arrested on 25th of April, 1977 and on being remanded to judicial custody on 26th of April, 1977, they were lodged in Cell No. 7 of Sub-jail, Koilkuntla. In the night between 5th and 6th of May, 1977, at about 3.30 A.M., some persons entered the premises of Sub-jail and hurled bombs into Cell No. 7 as a result of which Challa Chinnappa Reddy sustained grievous injuries and died subsequently in Government hospital, Kurnool. His son Challa Ramakrishna Reddy who was also lodged in Cell No. 7, however, escaped with some injuries.
2. Challa Ramakrishna Reddy and his four other brothers as also his mother filed a suit against the State of Andhra Pradesh claiming a sum of Rs. 10 lacs as damages on account of the negligence of the defendant which had resulted in the death of Challa Chinnappa Reddy.
3. The suit was contested by the State of Andhra Pradesh on two principal grounds, namely, that the suit was barred by limitation and that no damages could be awarded in respect of sovereign functions as the establishment and maintenance of jail was part of the sovereign functions of the State and, therefore, even if there was any negligence on the part of the Officers of the State, the State would not be liable in damages as it was immune from any legal action in respect of its sovereign acts. Both the contentions were accepted by the trial court and the suit was dismissed. On appeal, the suit was decreed by the High Court for a sum of Rs. 1,44,000/-with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date of the suit till realisation. It is this judgment which is challenged in this appeal.
4. Ms. K. Amreshwari, learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the State of Andhra Pradesh has contende
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