The National Green Tribunal has observed that in cases of death and injuries having nexus to hazardous business activities, the business entities in question must compensate the victims on the principle of restitution and further directed the District Magistrate of Mahasamund in Chhattisgarh to ensure payment of compensation of Rs. 20 Lakhs to the kin of five labourer who died of asphyxia in an illegal brick kiln.

The Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Dr. A. Senthil Vel, the expert member, said that “ is confirmed that five persons have died which has nexus to the activities of the brick kiln operating in violation of mandate of law that safety is absolute liability of a person undertaking hazardous business activity, as laid down inter alia in MC Mehta v UOI, (1987) 1 SCC 395.”

“Accordingly, we direct the District Magistrate, Mahasamund, Chhattisgarh to ensure payment of compensation to the victims within two months with liberty to recover the same from the PP. The State of Chhattisgarh may also take appropriate precautions to prevent such incidents. Compensation will be @ Rs. 20 lacs to the heirs of each deceased and Rs. 2 lac to the injured, in absence of information about extent of injuries.” the Bench further directed.

Advocate Abhinay Sharma appeared for the respondent – Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board.

In this case, the suo moto proceedings were initiated based on a media report about the deaths of five people and injury to another at a brick kiln in the district’s Basna Tehsil on the intervening night of March 14 and 15. Notices were issued to the Sate Pollution Control Board in Chhattisgarh and the district Magistrate, and a reply was filed on April 5, 2023.

Six daily-wage workers had set an assembled pile of bricks for heating and slept atop it on the night of March 14. When the owner reached the spot the next morning, the workers were found unconscious state.

The Tribunal said that the statement about the manner of incident was highly improbable, therefore, it was not required to finally pronounce upon the same as this issue could be gone into in criminal proceedings.

“The fact remains that deaths and injuries are on account of brick kiln activities for which the victims have to be compensated and the State has to take precautions to prevent such incidents in future, apart from paying compensation with liberty to recover the same from the concerned entity.” said the Tribunal.

Cause Title- In Re: News Item Published In Times Of India Titled “5 Including Man & Son Suffocate To Death At Brick Kiln In C’garh”

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