The Madras High Court-appointed Commission, which looked into the aspects of compensation to the families of children killed in a fire at a school in Kumbakonam in 2004, has fixed a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the bereaved families.
The matter relates to the fire tragedy that had occurred on July 16, 2004 at Sri Krishna School and Saraswathi Nursury School compounds where 94 children and a teacher were killed and 16 others seriously injured.
Justice D Hariparanthaman had on September 14, 2014 appointed retired Judge of the Madras High Court Justice K Venkatraman to go into the aspects of fixing the quantum of compensation to the victims' families.
The Commission had already handed over its report to the court on March 31.
When the matter came up today before the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh, it said the report be circulated to the counsel for parties and be also placed on record.
The counsel for the petitioners made available some operative portions of the report, which was brought in a sealed cardboard box, to the media.
The court posted the matter for issuing necessary directions on April 29.
Justice Venkatraman, after going through the issues and supporting documents and referring to a judgment of the Supreme Court, submitted in his report that the compensation of Rs five lakh each will be just and reasonable.
He also fixed the liability to pay the compensation on the school, the education department, the municipal authorities and the noon meal organizer and the cook as per the liability fixed on them.
As it may take time, Justice Venkataraman said the state government may pay the amount and recover it from the five persons/agencies, later.
The Commission noted that the school officials are in jail and they have no other property except school premises. A fine had also been imposed on them by the criminal court. Hence, at present, they may not be able to pay their percentage of share in the compensation fixed by the Commission.
As far as educational authorities are concerned, it said government should hold an inquiry as indicated by the earlier Justice K Sampath Commission and fix their liability.
The amount will also carry an interest of six per cent from the date of filing the claim petitions, it said.