Srinagar: Noting that deaths due to electrocution and injuries due to electric shocks are ignored as “mere accidents” with safety measures disregarded, The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has ordered constitution of a three- member panel to be headed by Commissioner Secretary PDD to monitor and ensure implementation of statutory safety measures and regulations as enshrined in Central Electricity Authority Regulations, 2010 in letter and spirit.
“It appears that deaths due to electrocution as well as bodily injuries due to electric shocks are ignored as mere accidents, also it appears that safety measures, at all times, related to the installation of electricity infrastructure like installation of transmission lines, transformers are usually ignored,” Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal said in an order. The court made the observation while awarding Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the family of a casual labourer, Jatinder Kumar, who died on spot while carrying out power restoration work on a transformer at Janipur, Jammu in September 2013.
The panel, the court ordered to be constituted, would be headed by the by Commissioner Secretary PDD and Chief Engineers of PDD Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh would be its members.
The committee, the Court said, shall meet twice every month and ensure implementation of statutory safety measures and regulations as enshrined in Central Electricity Authority (Measures relating to Safety and Electric Supply) Regulations, 2010 in letter and spirit.
The Court further noted that “it is a matter of common knowledge that maximum cases of electrical accidents arise due to live wires lying on the ground or hanging at arm’s length, overhead wires passing within reachable distance of human hands”.
The Court asked all District Magistrates to ensure compliance of Regulation of Central Electricity Authority (Measures relating to Safety and Electric Supply) Regulations, 2010 on war footing that is within a period of three weeks, which, it said, provides for clearance above ground level of conductors of overhead lines including electricity service lines.
While the court observed that the colossal loss of human lives and especially children is totally unacceptable, grim and heart rending, it said: “Such unfortunate deaths continue to occur and the statutory regulations are being flouted with impunity which is the root cause of such deaths/accidents”.
“Article 21 of constitution ensures fundamental rights to each citizen of the country which are inalienable in nature and guarantees citizens right to live and to be treated as an individual of worth,” it added.
The court said that all stakeholders should affirm to a fact that payment of compensation cannot be a substitute for loss of life and limbs.
Observing that the death caused due to failure to follow electricity safety measures by authorities infringes upon the indefeasible constitutional rights of citizens, the court said: “It is expected that (its) directions shall be implemented forthwith without a fail in an endeavour to save and protect the lives of citizens.” The court observed that in absence of safety measures it can safely be presumed that authorities have the knowledge of danger which the live wires can cause. “And such negligence will be an act beyond mere mistake or excusable accident, which will fasten criminal negligence on concerned authorities”.