Friday, February 14, 2014

PVCHR intervention: three hundred thousand Rupees compensation in Odisha by NHRC

Case Details of File Number: 432/18/5/2012

These proceedings shall be read in continuation of the earlier proceedings. The Commission received a complaint from Shirin Shabana Khan that Krishnachandra Maharana had died due to electrocution at Mandarada village while he was mending some electricity fault on a pole on request of the electricity department officials. The deceased, a daily wage labourer, had been working for the electricity department for the last ten years. His family members were not paid any compensation as he was not an employee of the electricity department. The Commission vide proceedings dated 17/4/13, issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha, u/s 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, to show cause as to why the Commission should not recommend monetary relief for the NOK of the deceased. A report on the action taken against the erring public servants, deficiencies pointed out during the enquiry and the recommendations made, was to be submitted during the same period. In response to the directions dated 17/4/13, the Commission has received a reply dated 21/8/13 from the Addl. Secretary, Department of Energy, Govt. of Odisha enclosing an affidavit dated 3/8/13 from the Assistant Vice President, Safety, Training and Development, Southern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha Ltd. stating that the deceased was not an employee of the company. He was liable to be prosecuted for tampering with the live electric line under section 139/140 of Indian Electricity Act, 2003. The observation of Dy. Electrical Inspector in his report that the deceased along with Vishwanath Bahera may have beeen doing mechanical work on an electric pole in the area is based on mere surmise and conjecture. It is submitted that the company is not liable for making any payment to NoK of the deceased. The Commission has also received a further communication dated 30/9/13 from the Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Deptt. of Energy, Govt. of Odisha that CEI(T&D), Odisha, Bhubaneswar has been requested to instruct DEI(T&D), Berhampur to take criminal action against SOUTHCO as per rules and explore the possibility of filing a case in Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) against SOUTHCO, vide Department letter No. 9039 dated 17/11/12. Further, the MD, SOUTHCO, Berhampur is being asked to furnish a report on action taken against the erring public servant, deficiencies pointed out during the enquiry and the recommendation made by the DEI(T&D), Berhampur. As regards to payment of compensation to the NoK of the deceased, Commission may take decision as it deemed fit. However compensation, if any, is awarded, will be borne by the SOUTHCO authorities. The Commission has considered the material placed on record. The reply submitted by the SOUTHCO does not inspire confidence in view of the findings of the report of the inquiry conducted by Deputy Electrical Inspector (T&D), Berhampur and considered by the Commission vide proceedings dated 16/11/12. The Commission vide proceedings dated 17/4/13, considered the report from the Dy. Electrical Inspector (Transmission and Distribution) that the electrical maintenance work in that area is probably being managed by Sri Behera in association with late Moharana with due knowledge of SOUTHCO officials. This violates section 3 and section 19 of CEA (measures relating to safety and electrical supply) Regulation,2010. The Dy. Electrical Inspector has recommended certain safety measures inter alia that competent person having valid licence should be engaged for maintenance operation works. The Commission observes that it is apparent that the deceased had been electrocuted and died due to the negligence and faulty procedures adopted by SOUTHCO authorities. This is a clear case of violation of human rights. The Commission therefore recommends to the Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha to make payment of Rupees 3.00 lakh as monetary compensation to be paid to the NOK of the deceased Krishnachandra Maharana. The proof of payment is to be submitted within 6 weeks.
Place of IncidentMANDARADA

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