Hyderabad: Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has directed Telangana State Northern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSNPDCL) to pay Rs. five lakh as compensation to a family of a man electrocuted in 2017.

In her petition, complainant Sunkari Laxmi, wife of deceased Sunkari Ramulu, a resident of Koutla B Village in Nirmal district, said on an intervening night of September 5 and 6, 2017, her husband died when he came in contact with a live wire in the village.

It happened when a villager fenced his maize field with Galvanized Iron (GI) and illegally connected it with live electric wire for killing wild animals. He knew that it could endanger human lives also. Unfortunately, the deceased came into contact with the fence and died.

After the investigation, the accused was arrested and he confessed to the crime. The accused was booked under Section 136 of the Indian Electricity Act, 2003 which says loads, carries, or moves from one place to another any electric line, material or meter without the consent of its owner, whether or not the act is done for profit or gain, is said to have committed an offence of theft of electric lines and materials, and shall be punishable.

"My husband died due to negligence and careless service of the TSNPDCL. It shows a deficiency in the service of the authorities. Hence, TSNPDCL administration is liable to pay compensation," said the complainant.

On November 10, 2018, the complainant approached TSNPDCL for compensation but to no avail.

TSNPDCL contended that neither the complainant and nor police or any other person have intimated them or their employees about the death.

"It is further alleged by the complainant that the accused in the crime had erected G.I. wire at his maize field and connected it with live electric cable illegally for killing or hunting wild animals. The facts and circumstances clearly show that it is a case of murder and not a death due to electrocution," said TSNPDCL.

They further said no illegal tapping of electricity was noticed or reported by anyone to the departmental staff. "The allegation of the complainant that the accused was illegally tapping from overhead lines to the G.I. wire for hunting wild animals and that the deceased came into contact with live G.I. wire and was electrocuted is baseless and created to claim huge amount from the department by way of compensation and ex-gratia," said the electricity department.

After examining the documents and evidence, the commission said: "The negligence of the opposite party is seen as per the police case. It shows that evidently, the illegal electricity connection from the high voltage wire to the G.I. wire fenced around the fields."

The commission also added in the Government Area Hospital, Nirmal, report, "the death occurred due to electric shock". "The said evidence is corroborated in regard to the cause of death, by which we conclude that the complainant's case can be considered," it said.

"Not going into all the technicalities, considering all circumstances on record, we feel it reasonable to award the claim of relief as prayed for in part and justify the same," said the commission.

The commission asked TSNPDCL to pay Rs.5,00,000 as ex-gratia with interest at 18 percent per annum from the date of death till realization.

Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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