Himachal Court Hands Rs 5 Lakh Interim Relief To Parents of Beas Tragedy

The court prima facie held that there was evidence for holding HP State Electricity Board, its officials and the engineering college responsible for negligence by way of which 24 budding engineers lost their lives.

Shimla: Not sparring both the management of VNR Vigana Jyothi College of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad and HP State Electricity Board that the High Court has prima facie held responsible for the Beas Tragedy, the judges have asked them to hand interim relief of Rs 5 lakh to each of the parents of 24 engineering students who lost there lives in the man made accident on 8 June.

The college and the state electricity board had been directed to deposit 50% each of the interim relief with the court by 9 July.

Passing orders in the case that the court had registered on its motion on June 9, following a news report, Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir writing for the bench directed that the court would directly monitor the investigation of FIR 61 of 2014 registering the accident.

The bench directed Superintendent Police, Mandi to file status of investigation by or before 9 July, the next hearing date.

Before granting interim relief, the court observed, “till the investigation is taken to its logical end by the investigating officer and other officers, who are dealing with the issue at various levels and till the disposal of this petition, we deem it proper to exercise inherent powers to grant interim relief to the unfortunate parents, who are hapless, helpless, are broken and shaken.

Further the judge noted, “the cases relating to liability to pay compensation is the realm of Common Law based on proof of negligence.”

In response to the moot question, “whether the interim compensation can be granted”  – when – “the things are shaping, investigation is in progress and other aspects are also being examined,” Justice Mir recorded, “introduction of the concept of grant of interim compensation based on no fault liability is outcome of the pronouncements of judgments made by the Apex Court.”

“The purpose is to offer prompt financial relief to the sufferers. The niceties of law and facts have no role to play,” added the judge.

After noting the facts of the case and the inquiry report submitted on courts orders by Onkar Sharma, the divisional commissioner of Mandi, the court prima facie held that there was evidence for holding HP State Electricity Board, its officials and the engineering college responsible for negligence by way of which 24 budding engineers lost their lives.

Before posting the case for 9 July, the court directed the registry to serve notice on all the respondents and appointed senior advocate Dilip Sharma as Amicus Curiae to assist the court in the case.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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