Supreme Court has decreased the amount of compensation awarded to a teenager by the Himachal Pradesh High Court by 35 lakhs. The boy was fully paralysed after getting electrocuted by a high tension live wire.
The said incident passed 18th on March 2012 when eight-year-old Rohit Kumar went to the fields with his mother to collect “Saag”. Rohit received dangerous burn injuries and became unconscious. He was taken to a hospital in Kangra district where both his arms were removed surgically. He was a 100% paralysed.
Rohit filed a writ request in the High Court through his mother, claiming a compensation of Rs.50 lakh. Court then allowed the request and in an order dated 9th January, 2015 awarded a compensation of Rs.1.25 crore under different heads to the boy.
A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur noticed that the high tension wire was hanging at a low level and was a potential danger and threat to public life at large. High Court said- “The suer has been decreased to a vegetable form by the sheer refues on the part of the Board and its functionaries. Rohit Kumar has discontinued his studies. He cannot look after himself. He needs attendant throughout his life. He comes from a scheduled tribe(ST) family and that too from a very remote area of the State of Himachal Pradesh. We can take judicial notice of the fact that the help of the family would not be available to him throughout his life. Rohit Kumar cannot marry with this condition. He has to be provided with sufficient compensation for his whle future life.”
High Court then noticed that since the boy was a brilliant student, he would have earned at least 30-40,000 per month, after completing his study. Also, it would have been “easier for him to get job from the Scheduled Tribe (ST)quota.”
After relying on various judgements from the apex court as well as other high courts, Himachal High Court figured the suer’s future income to come to Rs.90 lakhs. However, a further award of Rs.10 lakh towards loss of companionship, life pleasures, and happiness, Rs.10 lakh for pain and suffering, mental distress, trauma and discomfort and inconvenience, Rs.10 lakh towards attendant/nursing expenses for his life and Rs.5 lakh for future medical expenses was granted. The total grant of compensation was Rs.1.25 crores. Himachal Pradesh government invoke against this order in the Supreme Court.
The bench of Justices J Chamleshwar and AM Sapre of the apex court held that aside from the 90 lakhs figured by the High Court, the rest of the computation was on “a very higher side and is not supported by any ground.” Hence the grant of compensation under the four heads was not legally sustainable.
The bench finally occupied- “The award of Rs.90 lakh together with interest payable at the rate of 6% p.a., in our view, would get sufficient regular monthly income to the respondent by way of interest alone, if the awarded sum is submitted in the Bank.
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