Supreme Court has reduced the amount of compensation awarded to a teenager by the Himachal Pradesh High Court by 35 lakhs. The boy was fully paralysed after getting electrocuted by a high tension live wire.
The said incident occurred on March 18, 2012 when eight-year-old Rohit Kumar went to the fields with his mother to collect “Saag”. Rohit received severe burn injuries and became unconscious. He was taken to a hospital in Kangra district where both his arms were amputated. He was a 100% paralysed.
Rohit filed a writ petition in the High Court through his mother, claiming a compensation of Rs.50 lakh. Court then allowed the petition and in an order dated January 9, 2015 awarded a compensation of Rs.1.25 crore under different heads to the boy.
A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur observed that the high tension wire was hanging at a low level and was a potential danger and threat to public life at large. HC said- “The petitioner has been reduced to a vegetable form by the sheer negligence on the part of the Board and its functionaries. He has discontinued his studies. He cannot look after himself. He needs attendant and nursing throughout his life. He comes from a scheduled tribe family and that too from a very remote area of the State of Himachal Pradesh. We can take judicial notice of the fact that the help of the family would not be available to him throughout his life. He cannot marry with this condition He has to be provided with sufficient compensation for his entire future life.”
HC then observed that since the boy was a brilliant student, he would have earned at least 30-40,000 per month, after completing his education. Also, it would have been “easier for him to get job from the Scheduled Tribe quota.”
After relying on several judgements from the apex court as well as other high courts, Himachal HC computed the petitioner’s future income to come to Rs.90 lakhs. However, a further award of Rs.10 lakh towards loss of companionship, life amenities/pleasures, and happiness, Rs.10 lakh for pain and suffering, mental distress, trauma and discomfort and inconvenience, Rs.10 lakh towards attendant/nursing expenses for his life and Rs.5 lakh for future medical expenses was granted. The total grant of compensation was Rs.1.25 crores. Himachal Pradesh government appealed against this order in the Supreme Court.
The bench of Justices J Chamleshwar and AM Sapre of the apex court held that apart from the 90 lakhs computed by the High Court, the rest of the computation was on “a very higher side and is not supported by any evidence.” Hence the grant of compensation under the four heads was not legally sustainable.
The bench finally held- “The award of Rs.90 lakh together with interest payable at the rate of 6% p.a., in our view, would fetch sufficient regular monthly income to the respondent by way of interest alone, if the awarded sum is deposited in the Bank and would thus take care of respondent’s upbringing and other needs for the rest of his life.”
Read the Judgment here.
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