NEW DELHI: In a stern message to power distribution firms, the Delhi High Court has ruled that they would have to compensate the kin of victims in electrocution cases if it was established that there were "lapses" on their part in maintaining the prescribed safety measures.
Expressing concern over electrocution incidents despite claims by the discoms and power regulators that they were complying with all safety measures, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal passed a slew of directions and said they "cannot shy away" from their duty.
The bench said it would be appropriate if the discoms and regulators, like Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), work together so that such incidents do not recur.
"A perusal of the counter affidavits of the respondents (Ministry of Power, CEA, DERC and discoms) show that each of them is claiming that they are complying with and implementing all the safety measures. However, despite the same, electrical accidents have been occurring.
"We are of the view that the respondents cannot shy away from their duty and shift the burden on each other, rather it would be appropriate for them to work together to ensure that such incidents do not occur in future," the bench said.
Passing a number of directions in the matter, the court asked discoms "to take urgent cognisance of cases of electrocution and pay compensation in accordance with law to the dependents of the deceased in case lapses are established in maintaining the prescribed safety measures".
The order came when the court disposed of two separate petitions, one by NGO Common Cause and another by petitioner Lauv Kumar, seeking directions to the discoms, power regulators and the Power Ministry to formulate proper statutory framework and regulations to deal with the claims for violation of fundamental rights arising out of electrocution incidents.
The petitions have also sought direction to ensure better safety and protection of residents of Delhi from electrocution deaths and impose strict compliance norms on the licensees.