Holding the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) liable for the death of a three-and-a-half-year-old boy at a Sri Lankan refugee camp in Tiruchi district, the Madras High Court Bench here has directed the TANGEDCO to pay a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to the boy’s family.

M. Antonydasan, a Sri Lankan refugee from the Valavanthankottai camp, filed a writ seeking Rs. 10 lakh as compensation for the death of his son, John Abisheik.

According to the petitioner, John was electrocuted on September 13, 2012 while playing outside his house in the camp. In his petition, Mr. Antonydasan stated that there were nearly 40 electric poles at the camp.

The poles were erected nearly a decade ago and had not been maintained by the TANGEDCO, he claimed.

In his counter affidavit, the Regional Special Deputy Collector of the refugee camp stated that the Assistant Engineer of TANGEDCO had filed a report on March 15, 2012 recommending replacement of the electric poles which were in a bad condition owing to lack of maintenance.

The Junior Engineer of TANGEDCO filed a counter contending that the Corporation was not liable to pay the compensation because the service connection to the electric poles was taken in the name of the tahsildar.

Dismissing the contentions of the TANGEDCO official, Justice K.K. Sasidharan noted that the TANGEDCO, being the supplier of electricity, was expected to take all precautionary measures to avoid untoward incidents.

“The TANGEDCO has a statutory duty to maintain the live wire and other electricity systems used for the purpose of transmission of electricity. The negligence was on the side of the TANGEDCO. The liability is only on the Corporation to pay compensation,” the judge ruled.

Computing the compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the judge directed the TANGEDCO to pay Rs. 2 lakh to the petitioner within two months.

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