The Bombay High Court has disposed of the Public Interest Litigation seeking grant of financial aid to all victims of snake and scorpion bites, by observing that granting financial aid is a matter of policy decision to be taken by the State Government.

“It is for the State Government to consider the grievances put-forth by the Petitioner with regard to providing the compensation to the other persons who succumb due to snake bite. This Court would not direct the Government to make a policy in a particular manner as that would amount to encroaching upon the jurisdiction of the State Government conferred the Article 162 of the Constitution of India.”, the bench of Acting Chief Justice S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep V. Marne observed.

The petitioner had approached the Court with a prayer that the State Government should grant financial aid to all victims of snake and scorpion bites who are residing in the State of Maharashtra.

The Advocate for the Petitioner submitted that the Government of Maharashtra is giving financial aid to the victims of snake/scorpion bites under Gopinath Mundhe Insurance Scheme only to farmers and their one blood relative.

The Counsel submitted that there are many victims of snake bites who may not be necessarily farmers.

The Counsel for the petitioner contended that on one hand the State of Maharashtra is providing financial aid to the farmers and their family members who succumb on account of snake bite, at the same time the persons like the Petitioner who catch the snakes/scorpion and get infected because of the same are not provided with any financial aid.

Advocate Anurag R. Kulkarni appeared for the Petitioner whereas GP P.P. Kakade appeared for the State.

The Court observed that the policy framed for granting financial aid to the farmer and family members of the farmer who succumb on account of the snake bite would form a different class.

“The farmers are the ones who are in field. The separate provision is made for them. The purpose of taking within its fold the farmers who succumb to snake bite is that the farmers were already covered by the earlier Government Resolutions by which compensation is payable on account of the death or injury caused by wild animals. Considering the welfare of the farmers, the decision has been taken to extend the benefit of compensation even for snake bite.”, the Court said.

The Court further noted that it is for the State Government to consider the decision regarding providing compensation to the other persons who succumb due to snake bite.

Accordingly, the PIL was disposed of.

Cause Title- Vaibhav Padmakar Kulkarni v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.

Click here to read/download Judgment