CHENNAI: Holding the authorities of a government-run hostel responsible for the safety and security of resident students, a division Bench of Madras High Court has upheld the orders of a single judge directing the government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the father of a student who was killed by another student in 2010.
"The hostel is primarily intended for SC/ST students who come from a very oppressed strata of society. It is the duty of any welfare State to provide security to the oppressed class. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to provide all necessary facilities and security to the students staying in the hostel. In the absence of any security, much less adequate security, the authorities cannot shy away from their responsibility by merely stating that vicarious liability cannot be fixed on them.
As rightly held by the single Judge, the authorities are vicariously liable to pay the compensation to the father of the dead student, more so when the murder took place within the hostel premises," the Bench of Justices R Sudhakar and S Vaidyanathan affirmed on Tuesday.
The Bench was dismissing an appeal from the SC/ST and BC Welfare department and other authorities questioning the orders of the single judge. The issue was the murder of Saminathan, a first year ITI student at Kamatchi Industrial Training Institute, Sekkuppettai. He was staying at the Adi Dravidar Welfare Hostel at Kayarkulam, Kancheepuram district and was found murdered on October 1, 2010. A case was registered by police against another hostel student.
Saminathan's father moved the High Court seeking a compensation of Rs 15 lakh. However, a single judge ordered Rs 10 lakh with interest of 9% per annum from January 2012 till the date of actual payment.
Aggrieved, the Government and the authorities filed the present appeal stating that vicarious liability could not be fastened on them and they could not be held responsible for the death of the student and therefore the compensation awarded was not sustainable. This was was rejected by the Bench now.