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Hospet’s decade-long wait for justice ends with Rs 1 lakh. A 6-year-old boy drowned in an open drain.

The Municipal council of Hospet was held guilty of negligence and culpable negligence by the high court ten years after a six-year old boy was washed away by falling in an open drain at Hospet. The court awarded compensation to the deceased father of Rs 1 lakh, with 6% interest. While the petition was pending, the deceased’s father was also paid ₹5 lakh under the Disaster Management Act. 

Justice M Nagaprasanna said, “In terms of section 39 of Disaster Management Act, it is necessary for every municipal authority or the authority in which land would come for safe keep to bear in mind the interest of citizens. This appears to have been given a complete go-by in the case at hand. It is not just ‘one life’, it is ‘even one life’…,”. He added, “One of the most painful moments of one’s life is to be the pall-bearer of a deceased child. Emotional vacuum left by the sudden departure of a child cannot be filled by monetary compensation. Yet, to ameliorate the emotional vacuum left by the child, monetary compensation is paid to the parents.”

Ritesh Singh, a six-year-old, was washed away after he fell into an open drain due to heavy rains on July 15, 2013. Ritesh’s father, Karan Singh Rajpurohith, filed a lawsuit against the municipal council. The authorities stated that they have already provided the maximum compensation of Rs 5 lakh as per the Disaster Management Act. They have also assured that they will review the petitioner’s requests for additional relief and make a decision accordingly. The court, in the initial two writ petitions, had directed the authorities to assess the petitioner’s appeals for increased compensation.

However, Justice Nagaprasanna pointed out that the state government had shown indifference and resistance to the court’s directives. Justice Nagaprasanna added, “It is necessary for the state to safekeep the interest of the citizens from the grassroots to the metropolis so that such incidents do not repeat.”

“Therefore, though the compensation to the maximum under the DM Act is paid to the father, I deem it appropriate to grant interest on such delayed payment, and the cost of litigation for having driven the petitioner to this court thrice,” the judge added, instructing the authorities to pay 6% interest on the compensation of Rs 5 lakh, starting from the date of the incident.

“It is open to the state to fix accountability on such callous ignorance of the claim of the petitioner throughout and recover the interest and cost from the erring personnel,” Justice Nagaprasanna added.

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