The Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday dismissed a writ appeal filed by the Chairman of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) challenging an order passed by a single judge on June 14 to pay Rs. 7.75 lakh to the widow and two children of a farmer who died because of electrocution when a live overhead cable got snapped and fell into a water body while he was bathing his bull.
A Division Bench comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and M.M. Sundresh refused to entertain the appeal at the admission stage itself and said that they did not find any necessity to interfere with the single judge's order.
The claimant Sundari of Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district was just 23 years old when her husband died on May 1, 2005.
Allowing a writ petition filed by her on June 14, Justice N. Kirubakaran had refused to accept the TNEB's contention that the cable got snapped after a tree branch fell on it because of heavy winds and rains.
The judge said that the Board had not produced any certificate from the Meteorological Department to prove that there were heavy winds and rains on the fateful day.
“If there was rain on that day, the petitioner's husband could not have taken the bullocks to the water body for washing. Therefore, it is evident that the Electricity Board was negligent and its negligence caused the death. It is not open to the Board to take a defence that the accident occurred beyond its control. It is the duty of the Board to maintain the wires properly,” the judge had said.
He also went on to state that the petitioner could be granted relief in a writ petition itself without subjecting her to face the ordeal of facing elaborate trial in civil proceedings as the death of her husband due to electrocution had been admitted by the TNEB. He said that the petitioner, being a poor widow, might not be able to pay the court fees for filing a civil suit.
“Losing a life partner at the age of 23 is very cruel and unfortunate. It affects a woman physiologically, psychologically and socially. She has to look after her minor children who lost the love, care, affection and companionship of their father throughout their life,” the judge said and arrived at the compensation amount by considering the fact that the victim was 28 years old when he died and he could be easily earning Rs. 3,000 per month.