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Kin of Kumbakonam Fire Seek More Relief

Parents of 94 children who died in the 2004 school tragedy unhappy with the compensation of `5 L; file PIL seeking enhancement

Published: 30th April 2016 06:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th April 2016 06:57 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Unhappy with the recommendation of the Justice K Venkataraman enquiry committee which fixed Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the 94 children, who were charred to death in a major fire accident at a school in Kumbakonam in 2004, the families have moved the Madras High Court seeking enhancement of the amount. The PIL demanding more compensation came up before the first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh on Friday.

The bench noted that the petitioner was unwilling to accept the recommendation made by the one-man commission and sought enhancement of compensation.

The obligation to pay the amount has been fixed on different authorities and private parties. Hence, the counsel for the petitioner is granted time to implead all parties on which liability has been fixed as per the report, the judges said and posted a further hearing on June 15.

Justice Venkataraman submitted his report along with supporting documents to the High Court on March 31 last, fixing Rs 5 lakh to each of the parents/legal heirs of the deceased students.

He also fixed the liability to pay the compensation on the school, the Education Department, the municipal authorities, the noon meal organiser and the cook.

As it may take time, Justice Venkataraman said that the TN government might pay the amount and recover the same from the five persons/agencies, later.

As regards the injured children, apart from Rs  25,000 already paid by the government, another Rs 50,000 has to be paid to them. As far as Kowsalya, Mercy Angel Mary and B Vijay are concerned, the retired judge recommended payment of Rs 6 lakh as compensation.

Taking into consideration the poverty of Kowsalya, who is now studying in XII standard, the judge recommended that the government contribute to her education at least for a Bachelor degree. As far as Raghul, Divya and Rajkumar are concerned,  it would be just and reasonable to pay a sum of Rs 5 lakh each, Justice Venkataraman had added.

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