After fighting a long legal battle for around 11 years for compensation for their kids who had drowned in a pit in Manimajra, three labourer families have finally got some relief from the Punjab and Haryana high court. The high court after hearing the case since 2003 has now directed the Chandigarh administration to pay a compensation of Rs 7.5 lakh each to the parents of three deceased children. Ajay, Vijay Masih and Vijay Kumar were students of Class 8 in Government Higher Secondary School, Manimajra.
The directions came from the court headed by justice Ritu Bahri while hearing a joint petition filed by the parents. Justice Bahri also directed the UT administration to pay the parents an interest of 7.5 percent per annum on the compensation amount from the date of filing of the petition (May 2003) till the date of realisation.
The court said it was the responsibility of the Chandigarh administration to maintain the low lying area and from the official records it was clear that administration’s stand that the low-lying area was on private land was false.
Appearing for the parents, senior advocate Satya Pal Jain argued that the administration authorities had taken earth out of the place of accident that resulted in a big low-lying area which later got converted into a pond in the rainy season.
It was submitted that it was only because of the negligence of the administration authorities that the three students had died.
The petitioners had blamed the authorities for negligence for not filling a ditch dug for constructing a road in Manimajra’s Indira Colony. It was submitted that protection of life and liberty of the citizens was the duty of the government authorities and since the authorities had failed in their duty, they should pay compensation to the petitioners.