Nearly four years after his wife was electrocuted on a farmland in Puducherry, an agriculturist has been awarded a compensation of Rs.four lakh by the Madras High Court. It should be paid as a lump sum within two weeks, the court said.

K.Sambath alias Chidambaranathan’s case was that his wife, Malathi (47), a daily wage earner, went to a farmland at Vinayagampattu on May 17, 2009 to fetch grass for cattle when the tragedy occurred.

He said the live wire was lying on the ground due to the negligence of the Puducherry Electricity Board. He sought compensation for her death.

Board’s contention

The board’s Superintending Engineer-I, submitted that the electric line snapped as a casuarina tree fell on it due to heavy wind. The Electricity department periodically inspected and maintained the electric lines.

In spite of such action, sometimes accidents occurred which was beyond the department’s control.


Justice N.Paul Vasanthakumar said the tragedy could have been averted if the department had taken precautionary measures. Hence, the board and the government were vicariously liable to pay compensation to the petitioner’s family which consisted of three members.

As the cause of death was admitted and negligence proved, the authorities could not escape the liability of paying compensation to the petitioner’s family.

In the light of various decisions of the Supreme Court and the High Court, and in the circumstances of the case and having regard to the death of the woman at the age of 47, Mr.Justice Paul Vasanthakumar said that he was allowing the petition with a direction to the authorities to pay a compensation of Rs.four lakh to the petitioner’s family.

Of the sum, the petitioner was entitled to lakh and his two sons Rs.1.50 lakh each.

The Judge posted the matter for January 21 for reporting compliance of the order.

  • She came in contact with live wire on farmland

  • Court holds Electricity Department responsible