Madras High Court orders Rs. 5 lakh compensation for 12-year-old victim of firecracker explosion, takes note of frequent mishaps in Virudhunagar

6th July, 2021

Madras High Court orders Rs. 5 lakh compensation for 12-year-old victim of firecracker explosion, takes note of frequent mishaps in Virudhunagar

The Madras High Court recently ordered a compensation award of Rs 5 lakh for injuries sustained by a 12-year-old boy who was left in a vegetative state and suffered over 50% burn injuries after illegal firecrackers strewn across an area where he was playing exploded (Jeyarani v. The Chief Secretary / The Chief Minister Special Cell and ors). The boy was nearly half-dead, according to Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who demanded a broad interpretation of the Chief Minister's Relief Fund's reach and ordered compensation from it. The judge made it clear that the case should not be considered precedent-setting. The Court also expressed concern about the frequency of such occurrences in the Virudhunagar district. "This Court can take judicial note of the fact that numerous accidents owing to explosion from illegal fire cracker units occur in Virudhunagar District," Justice Venkatesh said while taking judicial notice. On all of these occasions, the government compensates both the deceased and the injured. When such instances occur, there is usually a sense of excitement, but everyone eventually forgets about it until the next episode occurs. We live in a time when having a short memory is the norm. Every time a large fire accident occurs at an illegal fire cracker facility in Virudhunagar District, compensation is provided to the killed and injured, and then everyone forgets about it," the judgement read. The Court went on to say that it is unknown whether cases involving unlawful fire crackers are ever brought to a conclusion. The High Court further noted that such compensation matters are usually handled by a civil court. The judge noted that when there are disputed factual issues, the High Court does not normally use its writ jurisdiction. The case was also under investigation by the police. Nonetheless, the Court noted that it was undisputed that the little victim in this case had suffered burn injuries as a result of the illegal cracker explosion. The Court was hearing a petition filed by the victim's mother, who stated that the youngster was in a vegetative state and that plastic surgery would be required to treat his burn injuries all over his body. "It is made clear that this order should not be construed as a precedent in all other cases... the direction issued by this Court is based on the peculiar facts of the present case, where this Court found that there was no serious dispute in the manner in which the petitioner's son suffered severe injuries," the Court added.