The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the DAV trust, which manages several educational institutions across the country, to pay an interim compensation of Rs 10 crore to the families of those who died or got injured in a fire that broke out during the school’s annual function in Dabwali, Haryana, over 14 years ago.
Over 200 people died in the tragedy that took place at a private banquet where the annual function was held.
A fact-finding inquiry later found that the building plan of the venue was faulty. There were digressions from the original plan and in the actual construction there was no space for the movement of fire engine.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan asked the trust to deposit the damages if it wanted the court to hear its appeal challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment, fixing Rs 46 crore as compensation towards the victims’ families.
The trust has to deposit the interim compensation amount with the Sirsa additional civil judge within six weeks. The amount would be distributed to the relatives of 446 people, including 230 who got killed.
On the management committee’s appeal, the court also issued notice to the Dabwali Fire Tragedy Victims’ Association and sought its response on the petition.
The committee has approached the apex court against the November 9, 2009, decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, fixing a compensation of Rs 46 crore. The amount was to be shared between the DAV management committee and the Haryana government.
The HC had asked the school management to share 55 per cent of the compensation amount alongwith a owner of private banquet hall where the annual function was held. The state government accepted to undertake responsibility to pay the balance.