PIL Challenges Rs 10 Lakh Compensation for Hooch Tragedy Victims in Tamil Nadu

In a significant legal challenge, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Madras High Court questioning the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to award Rs 10 lakh in compensation to the victims of the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy. The petitioner, Mohamed Ghouse, argues that this amount is excessive and the victims do not deserve such compensation as they were involved in an illegal activity by consuming spurious liquor.

The case was brought before a division bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shafiq. During the hearing on Friday, the bench expressed concerns that the compensation amount might be on the higher side and decided to postpone the hearing for two weeks for further deliberations.

The petitioner contends that the victims of the tragedy were not engaged in any noble cause such as freedom fighting or social activism that would warrant posthumous recognition or financial aid from the state. Instead, they were participating in an unlawful act that directly contributed to their demise.

Ghouse emphasized that solatium—a form of monetary compensation for accident victims—should be reserved exclusively for those who suffer due to unforeseen and uncontrollable incidents, not for individuals who engage in illegal activities for personal pleasure.

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The PIL also highlights a discrepancy in the state’s approach to compensation, pointing out that victims of other types of accidents, such as fires, receive less solatium compared to the victims of the hooch tragedy. This, according to the petitioner, makes the government’s order both unreasonable and arbitrary.

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