Why Rs 10 lakh aid to kin of Kallakurichi hooch victims? Madras HC questions TN govt

“How can you give a huge amount of Rs 10 lakh relief to each of the families of the hooch tragedy victims,” the bench asked.
Kallakurichi hooch tragedy
Mass cremation of Kallakurichi hooch tragedy victims at Karunapuram, in Kallakurichi, File photo | Sriram R, EPS

CHENNAI: Terming the compensation amount of `10 lakh each to the families of the victims of the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy as ‘huge’, the Madras High Court on Friday questioned the rationale behind providing such relief aid.

The first bench of Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq raised the question when a public interest litigation, filed by Mohamed Ghouse of Chennai praying for the court to strike down the state government’s order for providing the compensation, came up for hearing.

“How can you give a huge amount of Rs 10 lakh relief to each of the families of the hooch tragedy victims,” the bench asked. It felt compensation can be provided to the families of road accident victims, but giving such a huge amount to spurious liquor victims cannot be justified.

Asking the state to work out a mechanism, other than paying compensation, for rehabilitating the families, the bench asked the counsel to get instructions from the government on reconsidering the amount distribution within two weeks.

The petitioner stated the solatium should be given only to accident victims and not to families of those who have committed an ‘illegal act’ of consuming illicit liquor for ‘attaining self-pleasure’.

The government’s order to pay compensation to victim’s families is ‘unreasonable’ and ‘arbitrary,’ and those who died after consuming illicit liquor should not be treated as victims, he said.

On what basis lesser solatium is given to victims of fire or other accidents, he asked. “The consumers of illicit liquor are not freedom fighters or social activists who have laid down their lives for the cause of the public,” the petitioner said.

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