The Madras High Court bench here has ordered Rs.4.5 lakh compensation to the widow of a farmer, who died due to the negligence of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (Tangedco).

Petitioner L. Malathi’s husband Lakshmanan suffered an electric shock when he tried to unfasten the knot in the rope that had tied his sheep to an electric pole at Tirupathur in Sivagangai district, and died.

He was 35 at the time of death in 2010. The post-mortem report stated that Lakshmanan died because of cardiac arrest.

Mrs Malathi filed a petition with Tangedco officials seeking a compensation of Rs.10 lakh for her husband’s death. But the officials turned down her petition, saying he died of heart attack and not of electrocution.

She then moved the court. When the petition came up before Justice K.K.Sasidharan, he said Regulation 20 of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Distribution Code mandated a pre-monsoon inspection and maintenance of electric equipment.

“Tangedco cannot state that the deceased died of heart attack. The cardiac arrest appears to have developed only on account of the electrocution and the resultant shock. Therefore, it cannot be said that the death was not on account of electrocution”, the judge ruled.

“Tangedco is the supplier of electricity. It is expected to take all precautionary measures to avoid any kind of untoward incident. It has got a statutory duty to maintain the live wire and other electricity system used for the purpose of transmission of electricity,” he observed.

Assessing the compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, Justice Sasidharan directed Tangedco to pay Rs.4.5 lakh to the petitioner as compensation for the death of Lakshmanan and towards litigation expenditure.

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