While the SC-led committee has suggested sums as high as Rs 20 lakh be paid to victims of dog bite, the state has said the amount be capped at Rs 5 lakh.

Rs 20 lakh as compensation for dog-bite victims too high Kerala govt tells SC
news Compensation Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 15:37

The Kerala government recently expressed its apprehensions about the generous compensations the Supreme court-led committee has recommended to victims of dog bites.

The SC-led committee, which comprised a former High Court, the State Law Secretary and the Director of Health Services, has recommended a generous compensation for victims of dog bites – in some cases, the suggested compensation is as high as Rs 20 lakh.

The Kerala government wrote in its affidavit filed before the SC saying that the compensation would lead to “exorbitant amounts” being spent to treat dog bites. The complaint says that the SC committee should ideally cap the compensation at Rs 5 lakh for treatment for dog bites is free in the state, reports The Hindu.

The government also said that since the compensation amount is paid by local self-government bodies, they will never be able to pay the sums suggested by the committee. Officials added that the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund is capped at Rs 5 lakh.

Meanwhile, one of the panel members told The Hindu, “How can one limit the compensation to ₹5 lakh for a victim whose life is wrecked following dog bite? None of the victims who suffered irreparable damage would approach any legal forum for compensation.”

The panel members also clarified that the compensation amount is decided after looking at the victim’s loss of livelihood, medical expense, loss of job, physical and mental pain and future security.

They added that two children are now in a vegetative state after being injected the anti-rabies vaccine. Their reaction to the vaccine has shattered their lives and that of the families; therefore, such cases require a healthy compensation.

Jose Maveli, a social activist, who actively advocates a stray dog-free movement told TNM, “The compensation can be fixed according to the seriousness of the case. I have seen an entire family suffer due to gruesome dog bites. The mental and physical agony of children whose faces are disfigured cannot be compensated with money.” 

“The government has to find a way around this. Some effective steps have to be taken to control the menace without further delay,” he added.

Kerala has been fighting a dog menace for a long time now, with over 1 lakh cases of dog bites being recorded, which lead to 10 deaths.