Madras High Court has directed Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) to pay a compensation of Rs three lakh to a farmer, whose Class IV son was electrocuted, after touching a live wire lying on the ground.
Dismissing TNEB's contention that the nine-year old's death "was nothing but an act of God," Justice K K Sasidharan said,
"The Board has not taken precautionary measures to strengthen the service lines..The Board cannot escape the liability by pleading withat it was nothing but an act of God."
Petitioner G Ponnusamy, an agriculturist, submitted that his son Vimal, a Class IV student, while returning from school on August 15, 2010 was electrocuted.
He contended that one Punnakotti had on August 12, 2010 had lodged a complaint with the TNEB intimating that the wire connected to his pump-set was disconnected and lying on the ground.
The judge directed the Board to pay the sum to Rs three lakh as compensation, with an interest of 12 per cent from October 10, 2011.
He also said that Ponnusamy was entitled to a sum of Rs 20000 towards cost. The entire amount is to be paid before December 31, 2012.
Earlier, when Ponnusamy submitted a representation to the TNEB claiming compensation, the TNEB had informed him that the incident was nothing but an "act of God" and as such, the Board was not liable to pay compensation.
The judge said, "The Board has got a statuatory duty to maintain the live wire and other electricity system used for the purpose of transmission of electricity. It is not possible to avoid the liability by pleading that the incident was an act of God."
The judge also pointed out that the counter filed by the TNEB does not show that pre-monsoon inspection and preventive maintenance schedules for line and equipment were carried out.