8 Jan 2023 2:33 PM GMT
The Orissa High Court has recently ordered two lakhs’ rupees compensation to the wife and son of a man who died after coming in contact with a live electric wire in 2001. While allowing the writ petition, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Biswanath Rath reprimanded the electricity department and said: “The representation claiming compensation was filed in 2001. It is not...
The Orissa High Court has recently ordered two lakhs’ rupees compensation to the wife and son of a man who died after coming in contact with a live electric wire in 2001. While allowing the writ petition, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Biswanath Rath reprimanded the electricity department and said:
“The representation claiming compensation was filed in 2001. It is not expected that the Department shut down its eyes even after filing of Writ Petition forget if to take steps for minimal enquiry on a representation being filed at least to have a fact finding report. The Writ Petition was even filed in 2010.”
On 10.6.2001, the deceased-victim came in contact with a live electric line, which was in hanging position at very a lower level, while cutting bamboo kanis and branches to repair his thatched house. He died instantly. An FIR was lodged and the police took up investigation. After completion of inquest process, the dead body was sent to the District Hospital, Jajpur for post-mortem. The report attributed the cause of death to asphyxia which occurred as a result of coming in contact with live electric wire.
It was submitted that the deceased was a strong, stout and middle-aged man and was earning about Rs. 4000/- per month from his agricultural land, shared cultivation, seasonal business and through breeding domestic animals like cows and goats. His wife and son approached the department several times for appropriate compensation. However, after failing to obtain any relief, they were constrained to file the instant writ petition in 2010.
Mr. P.K. Mohanty, senior counsel for the electricity department contended that it has not been established that the deceased has died after coming in contact with live electric wire belonging to the department. Therefore, he argued, no compensation can be granted to the petitioners.
The Court noted that the inquest report as well as the post-mortem report reveal that the death occurred due to electric shock after the victim came in contact with live electric wire. Further it found that a representation was also filed by the petitioners requesting for grant of appropriate compensation on 12.7.2001. Interestingly, the respondents did not deny any of the averments made by the petitioners including submission of the above representation.
The Court further observed that even assuming there is any requirement for adjudication of the issue by a Civil Court, the same cannot be directed at this point of time as 20 long years have already elapsed in the meantime.
The Bench found that in a similar situation, the Court had granted relief to an applicant in OJC No. 15558/1997, by judgment dated 14.11.2014. Further, it held that the case of the petitioners also gets support from another recent decision of the High Court in Bhagaban Rout & Anr. v. Executive Engineer, CESCO, Salipur, 2023(I) OLR 188, which was decided after relying on a number of judgments of the Apex Court. Therein, the Court had granted appropriate compensation.
Having regard for the aforesaid, the Court concluded:
“In the process, taking into consideration the age of the deceased, the position of both the Claimants, Petitioner No.1 losing her husband at the age of 37 years and keeping in view the age of her son being 15 years at the time of death of the deceased though there is no proof of income of the deceased except a bald statement that the deceased was earning Rs.4000/- at the relevant point of time, this Court directs, at least a sum of Rs.2,00,000/- (rupees two lakh) be paid to the Claimants to mitigate the loss on account of suffering for all these years on account of the death of the deceased, the sole Earner.”
Case Title: Soli @ Sulachana Jena & Anr. v. Chief Executive Officer, NESCO (Electrical), Balasore & Anr.
Case No.: W.P.(C) No. 23491 of 2010
Judgment Dated: 3rd January 2023
Coram: Biswanath Rath, J.
Counsel for the Petitioners: Mr. D.C. Swain, Advocate
Counsel for the Respondents: Mr. P.K. Mohanty, Senior Advocate
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Ori) 3
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