Raises Compensation To Paraplegic Man From ₹5L To ₹63L

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Forced abstinence from sex is a violation of fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Madras HC said while raising 12-fold the compensation awarded to a man who became a paraplegic after an electric post under repair fell on him while he was walking down a Chennai road in 2008.

N Ananda Kumar was 26-years-old at the time of the accident, which damaged his spinal cord and left him with 100 per cent disability.

The Chennai civic body had appealed against the Rs 5 lakh compensation awarded by a single-judge bench of the high court and asked for the case to be referred to a civil court. The division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice P Velmurugan, however, dismissed the appeal, saying the civic body’s negligence not only left Ananda Kumar wheelchair-dependent but also destroyed his chances of getting married. The bench held that the victim remained a bachelor against his wish because of paraplegia and was deprived of marital pleasure and bliss. Terming this a violation of human rights, the court cited medical literature to emphasise that forced abstinence has negative health consequences.

The bench suo motu enhanced the compensation to Rs 63.26 lakh, saying the reason for a court’s existence was to do justice and not to direct parties involved in litigation to approach various forums — in this case, a civil court.

In the appeal, counsel for the city corporation had argued that the contract to repair the electric post was outsourced and there was no negligence on the part of the civic body. It said Ananda Kumar was “carelessly” walking down the road while speaking on his cell phone. “Had he avoided speaking on the cell phone, and had he noticed the work being carried out, the accident could have been avoided,” the counsel said.

The original verdict by a singlejudge bench had noted that the accident occurred because of improper welding carried out by the corporation, not the electricity board. “It was not only the contention of the victim, but also of the electricity board that there was negligence on part of the corporation and improper welding caused the accident,” the bench noted.