Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday
upheld a trial court order and awarded compensation of Rs 3.75
lakh each to the families of 23 children who died after their
school collapsed during the 2001 earthquake.
A division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and
Abhilasha Kumari while pronouncing the judgement, observed
that the four-storey building of the school run by Shriram
Education Trust (SET) in Ghodasar area of city collapsed due
to sub-standard material used in its construction.
The court ordered SET trustees to pay Rs 3.75 lakh
each to the families of 23 victims who had approached the
court, in three months with eight per cent interest from the
date of filing of the petition.
During the 2001 earthquake, the four-storey school
building of SET had collapsed, killing 32 children.
The parents of 23 victims approached a local court for
compensation, which in 2007 awarded a compensation of Rs 2
lakh each with five per cent interest.
The trial court order was challenged by both parents
and SET in the High Court which today, upheld the 2007 order
and hiked the compensation amount to Rs 3.75 lakh.
The High Court in its order has rejected the argument
of the trustees of SET that the building had collapsed due to
earthquake which was an act of God.
The court observed that the 11-month old building had
collapsed not due to natural calamity, but due to negligence
in construction on part of the school trustees and the builder
who did not follow the requisite norms.
The Court further said that reports by experts showed
that inferior quality material was used during construction,
which resulted in the collapse of the school building, while
another building of the same trust which was 12-year-old
According to advocate Hasmukh Patel who represented
the families of victims, some of his clients were
contemplating challenging the order in the Supreme Court for
increased compensation and also to get the court to direct the
government to have some regulation for construction of