Rashid Paul

HC awards compensation to women disabled by electric shock from snapped power conductor

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Says it's the duty of PDD to manage, prevent and check transmission lines from falling down, which in the instant case they have failed to do…

Srinagar: In a case of explicit negligence by the Power Development Department (PDD) which resulted in permanent disability to a woman in 2011, J&K High Court has awarded Rs two lakhs in her favor “on account of pain and sufferance” caused due to the horrific accident.

Justice Sanjay Dhar while delivering the judgment in the writ petition of Mst Mala Begum of Primpora said “given the fact that the petitioner has suffered a horrific accident which has resulted in amputation of her lower limbs, it can safely be assumed that she must have undergone a lot of pain and suffering”.

The judge accordingly awarded a sum of Rs.2.00 lakhs in her favor on account of “pain and sufferance”.

Mala, a house-wife was working in her vegetable fields when a 33000 kv power transmission line fell down. She received severe burns and injuries.  She was shifted to hospital where her legs below the knees were amputated.

The bench exhibiting its generous disposition on the basis of legal calculations ordered “a sum of Rs 24.00 lakhs along with interest at 6 percent per annum, except upon the component of future earnings, from the date of filing of this petition till its realization is awarded in favor of the petitioner against the respondents (PDD)”.

It, however, declined other reliefs sought by the petitioner lady including provision of job to her son and permanency of the casual laborer job to her husband in PDD.

The lady who was 38 years old at the time of the accident pleaded that because of negligence of the PDD, she has been crippled for whole life. On the basis of this assertion she sought a compensation of Rs 50 lakhs from the government.

Her petition was resisted by the state. However, it admitted that a wooden cross of HT frame near Goripora Hamdania Colony was broken which resulted in sagging of conductor to a lower level.

On humanitarian grounds, an amount of Rs 20,000 was given to the husband of the victim for meeting the medical expenses during hospitalization of his wife, read the official response.

Justice Dhar held that the respondent department has failed in their duty to check and supervise the transmission line. “The facts projected by the respondent department in its reply clearly indicate that there was no regular supervision of the transmission line by PDD which was their statutory duty,” he said.

He advised “the authorities manning dangerous commodities like electricity current have extra duty to take all measures to prevent any mishap. High voltage electric current passing through transmission lines invariably pass above agricultural and other cultivable/uncultivable lands”.

He said if the authorities of the respondent department are allowed to wash off their hands from a case where some mishap has taken place due to the falling of a transmission line on the fields where people are working, it will have dangerous consequences and no one would allow the transmission lines to pass over their fields.

The judge said it is the bounden duty of the officers/officials of the PDD to manage, prevent and check the transmission lines from being falling down by installing necessary devices and keep regular check on the same, which in the instant case they have failed to do.

“Negligence of the officers/officials of the PDD is writ large in the instant case,” read his judgment.


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