Power departments cannot abdicate their responsibility to ensure that electric supply wires running through residential areas do not threaten the life of a common man, the Supreme Court has said.
The SC ordered the Haryana government to compensate an eight-year-old boy who was permanently disabled after he was electrocuted by a naked live wire lying on the roof of his house.
A bench headed by Justice V Gopala Gowda directed the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited to pay Rs 60 lakh to Panipat-based Raman, who at the age of five lost both arms and his left leg due to the electrocution in 2011.
Of the amount, Rs 30 lakh would be kept in a fixed deposit with the State Bank of Patiala, Punjab and Haryana high court branch, under the joint guardianship of the minor’s parents and the power department’s engineer-in-chief. The said amount can be withdrawn once Raman turns 21.
Restoring HC’s single bench order, SC further said the department would deposit the remaining amount in an interest bearing account with the same bank to enable the child meet his day-to-day needs. The interest accrued, around Rs 20,000 a month, would be transferred to Raman’s account. The principal amount would be transferred once he turns 21.
The SC also came down heavily on the HC’s division bench for making variations in the single judge’s order. It faulted the two-judges for reducing the interest amount from Rs 20,000 to 10,000.
The order to provide him with a monthly interest of Rs 20,000 was given after the court noted the boy required a permanent attendant. The department was held guilty of “statutory negligence” as Raman’s father proved that he had complained to the authorities regarding the naked wires.