School inferno: HC orders plastic surgeries for two children



Chennai: Madras High Court Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu Government to bear the expenses of proposed plastic surgeries on two children, who received serious burns in the 2004 Kumbakonam school inferno.

Passing interim orders on a miscellaneous petition, the court directed private Apollo Hospitals to perform plastic surgeries on Kausalya and Vijay "as soon as possible" and ordered Tamil Nadu Government to bear the treatment expenses.

Petitioner K Inbaraj, Secretary, Kumbakonam Fire Tragedy Victims Association, submitted that the consultant plastic surgeon of the hospital had said that the two children required plastic surgery and the entire cost of the procedures would be around 1.25 lakh each.

In its counter, the government said it had already paid an ex-gratia amount and also issued home pattas to families of victims.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, in his order said, "The payment of ex-gratia and issue of home pattas to families of the victims cannot absolve the government from granting medical aid to children, who received burn injuries."

Pointing out that the counter has not stated anything on the treatment given to the children, the Judge said, "The 18 children received severe burn injuries at eight years of age. Denying medical treatment to children by the state is violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution."

"In these circumstances, Apollo Hospital is directed to admit these two children for surgery as opined by its consultant plastic surgeon and perform the surgery as suggested by doctor," he said and posted the matter for October 8.

94 children were killed when a major fire swept through a private school in Kumbakonam on July 16, 2004.

PTI