Payouts to dog-bite victims painful, Kerala tells SC
Compensation of over ₹20 lakh ordered in some cases is proving unaffordable, says State government
The Kerala government is unhappy that a Supreme Court-appointed committee is ordering overly generous compensation to dog-bite victims in the State, touching even ₹20 lakh.
The Pinarayi Vijayan government has complained to the Supreme Court that its committee has been giving “exorbitant amounts” to treat dog bites. The government is arguing that treatment for dog bite in the State is free. Government hospitals don’t ask for money from victims.
What is the logic of ordering such huge compensation for dog bites even when the committee has never found health care lacking in efficacy, the State government has asked.
An affidavit filed by the State in the Supreme Court contends that it is time to cap the committee’s compassion at ₹5 lakh. Even the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund pays victims of tragedies ₹5 lakh, it argued, calling for a “balance”.
Rolling out an economic argument, Kerala said money for payment of compensation for dog bites goes from local self-government coffers. The local bodies simply cannot bear the financial burden of seven-figure compensations and also keep the stray dogs at bay.
Stray dog parks
Besides, the State is also unhappy that “animal lovers” as they have shot down its idea of opening “stray dog parks” in every district.
The SC committee headed by former Kerala High Court judge, S. Siri Jagan, was set up in April 2016 to hear dog-bite victims, check the severity of their injuries and monitor the treatment and facilities available to them.
The State’s affidavit says the committee has already awarded a total of ₹1.73 crore to victims. In some cases, the awards peaked at ₹20,25,000 and stood at ₹16,66,000 and ₹9,50,000 in some other cases. These “disproportionate amounts” even covered the “travel and allied expenses” incurred by the victims.