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Sailors’ families seek action against court Registrar-General

Staff Reporter
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Family members of the deceased employees of Pratibha Cauvery, at the Madras High Court.Photo: K.V.Srinivasan
Family members of the deceased employees of Pratibha Cauvery, at the Madras High Court.Photo: K.V.Srinivasan

Family members of five sailors of ‘Pratibha Cauvery’ on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal in the Madras High Court, seeking action against Registrar-General G. Chockalingam for non-compliance with the court’s order on payment of compensation to them.

In the evening, the court Registry gave away a cheque of Rs.5 lakh each to the family members of Anand Mohan Das, Jomen Joseph, Raj Kanitkar and Rushab Jada.

Six crew members of the tanker vessel died after they jumped into the sea when their ship ran aground off the city coast on October 31 in the cyclone.

The court in December last directed the shipping company to deposit Rs.30 lakh to be disbursed to the legal heirs of the deceased. Despite the company depositing the sum in the court registry, the family members did not receive the compensation.

Last week, frustrated by the delay in getting compensation for their son’s death, N. Kothandapani (56) and his wife Bharathi (50), parents of deceased crew member K.Niranjan, committed suicide by hanging at their home near Arakkonam.

Following their suicide, the relatives of Niranjan and family members of the other five came to the court on Wednesday and submitted the memorandum in the office of acting Chief Justice.

In their memorandum, they said, “Even though the High Court has given a specific direction to the RG to disburse compensation amount on production legal heir certificate, Mr.Chockalingam, the RG, has not disbursed the amount.”

Their lawyers repeatedly approached the RG and requested him to disburse the amount. They alleged that Mr. Chockalingam had wilfully disobeyed the court order.

Packylakshmi, Niranjan’s aunt said, “We have lost our young and energetic family member in the mishap and all of us are in poor financial state.”

She also said as the amount deposited by the shipping company had not been disbursed, her brother and his wife were not able to sustain themselves, and survival itself has become very difficult. “It was in this situation that my brother Kothandapani and his wife Bharathy committed suicide,” she added.

Meanwhile, T.P.Senthilkumar, advocate for family members of the deceased sailors, gave a representation to the Inspector, High Court Police Station, asking him to register a first information report (FIR) against the RG for alleged abetment of suicide of the couple.

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