Public transport bomb blast victims can claim compensation

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday ruled that victims of bomb blasts on public transport can claim compensation and enhanced the compensation of a woman who lost her husband in an explosion on a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus in 1992.

Justice J.R. Midha, while giving relief to Meena Kumari whose husband Sansar Pal died in the blast at the Mall road bus stand, enhanced the compensation, fixed by a tribunal, at Rs.150,000 to Rs.296,000 along with interest.

Refuting DTC’s submission that they are not liable to pay compensation, the court said: ‘The accident in question arose out of the use of the motor vehicle and, therefore, the claimants are entitled to compensation.’

‘A passenger travelling in a bus when he suffers from a injury on account of bomb explosion or on account of any other activity including terrorism, would be well within his rights to claim compensation,’ it said.

It also dismissed the contention of DTC that widow of a deceased is not entitled for compensation after remarriage, saying: ‘Remarriage will not deprive a person from compensation for the death of his/her spouse’.

‘In this case, Meena got remarried after about three years of the death of her husband and, therefore, the enhanced award amount be apportioned, considering that the ex-gratia amount of Rs.50,000 was received by the widow alone and out of the tribunal payment, some amount was given to parents and some was deposited in the names of two minor children,’ the court said.

The court directed the DTC to pay the enhanced compensation, depositing 50 percent of the amount in a bank and rest to be put in a fixed deposit.

The court also turned down DTC’s submission that the tribunal had fixed the compensation correctly, saying: ‘Even if the tribunal has considered the minimum wages of the deceased, the inflation and rise in price index has also to be seen.’

‘Minimum wages get doubled over the period of ten years. Increase in minimum wages is not akin to future prospects and the income should be computed by taking the average of minimum wages and its double,’ the court said.

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