CHENNAI: The first bench of the Madras HC on Tuesday rejected a plea to fix adequate compensation to the families of fishermen who were killed in Cyclone Ockhi.
“The court cannot decide on the compensation to be awarded. It must be assessed and ascertained by the governments at the State and the Centre,” a bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice R Hemalatha said.
The bench was disposing of PILs from advocate A P Suryaprakasam and Fishermen Care. Referring to the submission by advocate R Y George Williams, the bench said as per a GO issued during 2015 floods, the beneficiaries for disaster relief have to be identified. Otherwise, it will end in misuse. These norms should be applied in the case of victims of Cyclone Ochki too. Temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medicine should be given to the victims.
“Since the petitions are in public interest and not adversarial litigations, we need not go into the question whether steps taken by the government are appropriate or not. We expect that adequate steps shall be taken,” the bench said. The bench also expressed its expectation the Central and Tamil Nadu governments would take immediate steps to rescue and rehabilitate the fishermen, who have been stranded on the high seas due to the cyclone.
Claiming that over 2,000 fishermen were stranded in the rough seas of Indian Ocean due to the impact of the cyclone and are battling for life, the petitioners had approached the High Court seeking directions to the government to initiate appropriate rescue operations by coordinating with all available resources.