Compensation for dog-bite victims Rs 10,000 per tooth mark: Punjab and Haryana HC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that it is the primary responsibility of a state to compensate the victims of incidents involving stray animals and said in a case of dog bite, the financial assistance will be Rs 10,000 per tooth mark.

The bench of Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj gave the ruling after disposing of 193 petitions pertaining to compensation to victims or their family members for accidents caused by stray animals, leading to injuries and deaths.

The court also issued guidelines to be followed by police on the receipt of a complaint about any incident or accident reported due to the involvement of animals (stray, wild, pet or deserted).

“On receipt of information regarding accident due to stray or wild animal, the SHO (station house officer) shall get a DDR (daily diary report) recorded without any undue delay. The police officer shall verify the claim made and record statements of witnesses and prepare the site plan and summary. A copy of the above report be forwarded to the claimant,” the court order read.

The bench directed the director generals of police of Punjab and Haryana to issue appropriate instructions to the authorities concerned in this regard.

The court also issued directions to Punjab, Haryana and the Chandigarh administration to constitute committees chaired by the deputy commissioners of respective districts to determine the compensation amount to be paid for a claim with respect to an incident caused due to stray cattle or animals (including cows, bulls, oxen, donkeys, dogs, nilgai, buffaloes etc.).

“The award shall be passed by the committees within a period of four months of the claims being filed before them along with the requisite documents,” it said.

“The state shall be primarily responsible to pay compensation with a right to recover the same from the defaulting agencies of the state or the private person, if any,” the order read.

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“The compensation to be awarded by the said committees for the incidents or accidents pertaining to the death or permanent disability in the respective states shall be as prescribed in the respective state policies for the claims lodged in the respective states, while in relation to the claims lodged in the Union Territory, Chandigarh, the benefit as extended in the policy of Punjab shall be awarded since the compensation proposed in the said policy is more beneficial,” it added.

“Additionally, in cases relating to dog bite, the financial assistance shall be at a minimum of Rs 10,000 per tooth mark and where the flesh has been pulled off the skin, it shall be a minimum of Rs 20,000 per 0.2 cm of the wound,” the court ruled.

It said an increasing number of fatalities and alarming rate of stray animals on roads, which is a direct outcome of the states’ policy implementation without impact assessment and infrastructure creation, has started taking its toll on human lives.

It is, thus, essential that the State and its instrumentalities should now share the burden and shoulder the responsibility, the order read.

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