The Orissa High Court recently directed Tata Power Northern Odisha Distribution Ltd. to pay a compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs to the claimants, wife and son of the deceased, who died after coming in contact with live wire, to mitigate the loss on account of suffering for all these years on account of the death of the deceased, the sole Earner.

The Bench of Justice Biswanath Rath reprimanded the electricity department and said that “The representation claiming compensation was filed in 2001. It is not expected that the Department shut down its eyes even after filing of Writ Petition forget if to take steps for minimal enquiry on a representation being filed at least to have a fact finding report.”

In this case, the deceased- victim died on June 10, 2001 after coming in contact with a live electric wire, which was in hanging position at a very low level, while he was repairing his thatched house. An FIR was lodged and the police took up the investigation. Post-mortem was conducted and the report attributed the cause of death due to asphyxia caused by coming in contact with live electric wire otherwise suffered on account of electric shock.

Adv. D.C. Swain appeared for the petitioner and submitted that the deceased was earning about Rs. 4,000/- per month from i agricultural land and that his wife and son approached the Department, several times, for appropriate compensation, but failed to obtain any relief and thus were compelled to file the present writ petition in 2010.

Senior Advocate P.K. Mohanty appeared for the opposite party and submitted that the allegation that the deceased had died coming in contact of live electric wire belonging to the Department, was not established. Therefore, no compensation could be granted to the petitioners.

The Court noted that the inquest report as well as post-mortem report confirmed the death of the deceased and revealed the reason of coming in contact with the electric wire and death out of electric shock, and that since July 12, 2001 a representation was also filed by the Claimants requesting for grant of appropriate compensation but there was no denial of any of the averments by the Petitioners herein including submission of representation.

The Court also observed that “taking into consideration the age of the deceased, the position of both the Claimants, Petitioner No.1 losing her husband at the age of 37 years and keeping in view the age of her son being 15 years at the time of death of the deceased though there is no proof of income of the deceased except a bald statement that the deceased was earning Rs.4000/- at the relevant point of time, this Court directs, at least a sum of Rs.2,00,000/- (rupees two lakh) be paid to the Claimants to mitigate the loss on account of suffering for all these years on account of the death of the deceased, the sole Earner.”

Accordingly, the writ petition was allowed.

Cause Title- Soli @ Sulachana Jena & anr. v. Chief Executive Officer, NESCO (Electrical), Balasore & anr.

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