Updated: November 1, 2021 12:55:31 pm
Nearly four years after 17 workmen died in a fire incident at a firecracker manufacturing factory in Bawana, the Delhi High Court has directed the factory owner to deposit Rs 34 lakh with the Commissioner under the Employees’ Compensation Act, and ordered release of Rs 2 lakh each to the victims or their legal heirs.
The court was hearing a petition challenging the notices issued by the commissioner to the factory owner, Manoj Jain, directing him to pay the computed compensation amounts to the legal heirs of the employees who died in the 2018 incident.
“The deposit and release of the amounts as set out above, is being directed to provide some succour to the families of the victims who lost earning members. One of the victims was a 13-year-old girl,” said the court.
Justice Pratibha M Singh, in the order, said the fact that the fire occurred in Jain’s factory was admitted in the petition. The court also noted that there have been more than 1,100 days’ delay in filing the petition as per the petitioner’s own admission and almost 2,000 days as per the government counsel.
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Keeping in mind that 17 persons lost their lives in a fire, the court said Jain will deposit Rs 34 lakh in two instalments. Rs 17 lakh is to be deposited by November 30 and the remaining amount by January 15, 2022, as per the order. The court, in an interim order passed earlier, had restrained the authorities from taking any coercive action against the factory owner.
“Subject to these two deposits being made, delay in the filing of this petition shall stand condoned and the interim order shall stand continued,” said the court, adding that if the deposits are not made, the application seeking condonation of delay shall stand automatically dismissed and, as a consequence, the writ petition challenging the notices shall also stand dismissed.
The court said the commissioner will conduct verification of the victims and their legal heirs within one week after the deposit is made and, thereafter, release the amount within a week. “The Commissioner may choose the manner of disbursal, if required in two instalments, 1 lakh after the first deposit of Rs 17 lakh and another Rs 1 lakh after the second deposit,” the order read.
Listing the case for further hearing on February 10, 2022, the court asked the commissioner to file a status report before the next date of hearing.
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