‘Refugees have right to life’: Madras High Court
Justice GR Swaminathan passed the order on a petition filed by the girl’s father, Athipathi, in 2015. Due to heavy rainfall on May 12, 2014,
MADURAI: Observing that refugees also have ‘right to life’ and the state government has an obligation to protect it, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Monday ordered payment of Rs 5 lakh compensation to the mother of an 11-year-old refugee girl who died in a wall collapse at Thiruvathavur refugee camp in Melur, Madurai in 2014. The court also recommended recognition of the refugees’ right to work without restrictions.
Justice GR Swaminathan passed the order on a petition filed by the girl’s father, Athipathi, in 2015. Due to heavy rainfall on May 12, 2014, the sidewall of Athipathi’s house in the camp collapsed. His daughter Saranya, who got caught under the debris, sustained injuries and died on the way to the hospital. Seeking Rs 10 lakh compensation, Athipathi filed the petition.
Swaminathan noted that the house was constructed by the government way back in 1995 and the Madurai collector had submitted a proposal in March 2012 seeking funds for reconstruction and enhancement of infrastructure facilities in the camp. But before the funds could be allotted, the tragedy occurred, the judge noted.
He directed the government to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation with interest, within three months. To ensure that the compensation is not wasted by the petitioner in buying liquor, he directed the government to create a fixed deposit in the name of the petitioner’s wife for three years, adding that till then, she can withdraw interest every two months.