PROVIDING SUCCOUR to a 23-year-old unmarried Chandigarh woman, Kajal, whose leg had to be amputated around four years ago after a dead tree fell on her, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the UT Administration to pay her an interim compensation of Rs 3 lakh within a month. The directions came from Justice M M S Bedi on a petition filed by Kajal in 2014. It was on September 15, 2013, in Sector 17, Chandigarh, when a dead tree fell on
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Kajal, then 20, injuring her right leg badly. Later, because of the gangrenous development, the victim’s right leg had to be amputated below knee at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, on September 26, 2013, making her 70 per cent disabled. Appearing for the victim, advocate Sandeep Verma had sought adequate compensation for the amputation of the victim’s leg stating that she was from a very poor family of Palsora colony and had lost her father long ago. The counsel submitted that the victim lost her leg due to negligence on the part of the Chandigarh
Administration and horticulture division of the Municipal Corporation as they failed to remove the dead tree in time. However, the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation pleaded that there was no negligence on their part in the case and for removal of dead trees, they had to follow proper procedure. But the court was not satisfied with replies from the authorities concerned and expressed that a perusal of the reply submitted by the authorities clearly indicated that the accident had occurred on account of cumbersome procedure adopted by the Chandigarh Administration for removal of trees, including the dead trees.
Justice Bedi, in his order dated February 9, said, “The respondents (UT Administration and Municipal Corporation) have got a duty towards the protection of the citizens of the city. In the present case, prima facie, there is a breach of the said obligation by not taking expeditious decision to remove the culprit tree.”
The court added, “Despite a recommendation having been made on January 28, 2013, for removal of the tree, the incident has taken place on September 15, 2013, clearly indicating that there was a breach of obligation, which has caused damage to the petitioner. The petitioner is, prima facie, entitled to be compensated for the above said incident.” The case would now come up for next hearing on April 6.