CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has ordered the State government to formulate guidelines and fix the quantum of compensation and ex-gratia to accident victims in a uniform manner within eight weeks.
Justice SM Subramaniam issued the order recently while disposing of petitions seeking compensation for loss of lives in accidents at public places. He added that the payment of compensation/ex-gratia by the government will not bar eligible victims from claiming insurance benefits and compensations under other welfare legislations in the manner known to law.
"The respondents (the government) are directed to formulate the guidelines and determine the quantum of compensation/ex-gratia to the victims of accidents in public places within eight weeks of receipt of a copy of this order," the judge said.
Saying that Constitutional mandate requires the State to formulate guidelines for payment of compensation/ex gratia to the victims and many writ petitions are pending before the court, he observed that the State is duty-bound to formulate the guidelines/policies as quickly as possible so as to minimise the inconsistency or discrimination in payment of compensation.
The judge directed the petitioners to submit their respective applications to the competent authority for compensation/ex gratia within twelve weeks of receipt of a copy of the order.
The applications are to be considered based on the guidelines to be formulated and decisions are to be taken within eight weeks of the issuance of the guidelines/policies to be formulated by the government.
Justice Subramaniam said the State has to ensure that public infrastructure facilities are maintained up to standards so as to avoid accidents resulting in loss of life in public places.
Additional Chief Secretary of the Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply Shiva Das Meena was appreciated by the judge for the prompt response to the views expressed by the court.