OHRC Raises Compensation in Schoolgirl Electrocution Case

Published: 01st January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st January 2015 02:37 AM   |  A+A-

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed the School and Mass Education Department to pay a compensation of `three lakh to the family of a seven-year-old girl student who was electrocuted on the school premises in Balasore’s Bahanaga block in September.

The compensation will be over and above the `one lakh paid to the girl’s kin from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund after the incident.

The rights panel observed that the seven-year-old, Ritika Biswal, died due to ‘gross negligence’ on part of the headmistress and the siksha sahayak. The ex gratia of `one lakh was inadequate to compensate for the loss of human life where it is the responsibility of the State Government to ensure safety of the children in its schools, it stated.

The Class II student of Patimunda Upper Primary School in Balasore’s Bahanaga block came in contact with a live wire while going to the bathroom on September 17. Incidentally, a siksha sahayak of the school Mamata Sahu, who was staying on the school premises, had taken an illegal connection to draw power for a heater and Ritika came in contact as the live wire was hanging low.

She was rushed to the nearest Community Health Centre at Soro but was declared dead. The incident led to agitation in the area. The Government had announced an ex gratia of `one lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Advocate and rights activist Prabir Das filed a petition with the OHRC stating that since the State is responsible for the safe custody of the student, it should pay adequate compensation. Das also sought stringent action against the school authorities.

The OHRC, after its hearing, recommended that departmental proceedings should be initiated against the headmistress for whose negligence the incident occurred. The rights panel has sought compliance within 30 days.

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