New Delhi, Jan 23: The managing committee of Haryana’s Mandi Dabwali-based DAV Public School and a marriage hall will have to pay Rs.34 crore, along with interest, as compensation to victims of the 1995 fire tragedy in which 446 people were killed, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
An apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice K. Gopala Gowda dismissed an appeal by the schools’ managing committee, thus, clearing the decks for the payment of compensation to the victims’ kin.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Nov 9, 2009, enhanced the compensation to Rs.34 crore plus six percent interest to make up for the delay in payment of compensation to the victims.
Dismissing the appeal by the DAV School’s managing committee and others, Justice Gopala Gowda said: “It is open for the managing committee to approach the competent civil court for apportioning the liability of compensation out of 55 percent fastened upon both the appellants and the respondent No.8 (Rajiv Marriage Palace) by initiating appropriate proceedings.”
The managing committee of DAV Public School had challenged the Nov 9, 2009, high court order enhancing the compensation to Rs.34 crore along with six percent interest.
Initially, the Justice T.P. Garg Commission that inquired into the tragedy had awarded Rs.18 crore compensation to the victims’ kin.
The fire tragedy struck at a community hall in Dabwali town, where the local DAV Public School was holding its annual prize distribution function.
A synthetic tent caught fire inside the building after an electric short-circuit. The fire spread quickly and hundreds of people were trapped inside that caused a stampede. As many as 446 people, including 230 children, perished in the tragedy.