Families of victims of incidents such as fire and other man-made disasters can finally look forward to receiving compensation in time. To ensure this, the law ministry has proposed a new law for the creation of special tribunals in all 640 districts of the country.
The letter from the government’s legal arm to the home ministry comes after the National Advisory Council (NAC) sought a comprehensive law on the safety of victims. Neelam Krishnamurthy, who lost both her children in the Uphaar cinema fire, had written to the NAC on behalf of the victims of the tragedy, prompting the move.
The new law can be on the lines of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 where the remedy available to the aggrieved persons is expeditious and cheap, the law ministry stated.
Each tribunal that will decide compensation cases will be presided over by a district judge, with powers to regulate its own procedure. It will also ensure those responsible for such tragedies are aptly penalised by the government.
The law ministry pointed out that though the Supreme Court and high courts have liberally awarded compensations to victims of man-made disasters, a proper mechanism has been lacking so far.
“The need for explicit provisions for determining the compensation for loss of life, amenities of life, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses and future expenses is being felt for quite some time now,” it stated.