The Himachal Pradesh high court on Monday framed three points for the final disposal of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) relating to the Thalout tragedy, where 24 engineering students were washed away in the Beas river.
A division bench comprising of chief justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and justice Tarlok Chauhan framed three points as to what steps should be taken to prevent such incidents in future in the state. A case is listed for final disposal on December 9.
The three points are: whether the investigation is rightly concluded, whether the parents of the victims can lay a motion before the trial Court under Section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code and whether a final award can be made by the high court in a writ petition.
The bench passed these orders on a petition taken up suo moto by the court taking cognizance of the news reports on the tragic incident.
In the Thalout tragedy 24 B Tech students of VNR Vignana Jyoti Institute of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, and a co-tour operator were washed away near Thalout in Mandi district on June 8.
The court had ordered a compensation of `5 lakh each to the parents of the 24 engineering students. It also directed that the Larji Project authorities and management of the college would bear the cost of compensation in 50:50 ratios (Rs2.5 lakh each for each student).
The court had also ordered the officials on duty at the Larji Project dam at the time of incident be arrayed as respondents and also had impleaded Himachal State Load Discharge Centre and Northern Region Load Discharge Centre as party.
Earlier, the state had filed status report in the high court, stating that, “The cause of the incident appears to be sudden increased discharge of water from the Larji barrage.” It told that the water level at the barrage was at full reservoir level (969.50 metres) even prior to the opening of spill way gates. At 18.15 hours on June 8, the operating staff at Larji barrage opened radial gate number 5 to 50cm, thereby, releasing 50 cumecs of water.