Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday ordered the then Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary and School Education Secretary to appear before it on September 1 in a contempt petition regarding compensation to the families of 94 children who died in a fire accident in a school in Kumbakonam in 2004.
Admitting the petition by one K.Inbaraj, whose two sons were killed in the mishap, a bench comprising Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice M Sathyanarayanan directed Mohan Varghese Chunkath, the then Chief Secretary, and D.Sabitha, School Education Department Secretary.
Inbaraj had moved the court in 2012 to suggest compensation package to the families of the victims of the fire accident at the Sri Krishna School on July 16, 2004.
A single Judge had appointed retired high court judge P Shanmugam to go into the issues of the extent of negligence by the authorities and to determine the amount of compensation within four months.
The state government filed an appeal against the appointment of Justice Shanmugam but the bench had upheld the single judge`s order and said it was well settled in law that victims of accident were entitled to get just compensation and applying this principle to the present case the just compensation payable to the families of the 94 deceased students and compensation for the injured students have to be ascertained.
It then requested Justice Shanmugam to submit his report within four months.
In his contempt plea, the petitioner submitted the authorities were showing scant respect for the mandatory order of the high court and hence there was a violation and they were punishable under the contempt of Courts Act.