Chandigarh: In a landmark ruling, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered a minimum compensation of Rs 10,000 per tooth mark to victims of dog bites and that the state government would be primarily responsible for paying it.
While disposing of a bunch of 193 petitions, released recently, a single bench of Justice Vinod S Bharadwaj also mandated the governments of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh to constitute a committee headed by the deputy commissioners of the respective districts to determine such compensation.
Rising dog bite cases in India
The ruling assumes significance at a time when dog bite cases have been on the rise across the country. The ruling came during the hearing on a batch of petitions pertaining to dog-bite cases, a few weeks ago.
The court ruled that when a flesh is removed from the skin, the compensation would be at least Rs 20,000 per 0.2 cm wound.
The court also ruled that the award should be issued by the committees within four months of the filing of the claims along with the necessary documents …. the state shall be primarily responsible for paying the compensation. Stating that the area station house officer (SHO) would have to record a due diligence report and investigate the incident, the court also held that in cases of injuries caused by the pet dogs, the owners would have to pay the compensation while in cases of stray and wild animals, the state or the municipal authorities would be liable to pay it.
Notably, this judgement also applies to the victims of the accident or incident caused due to stray cattle or animals including cows, bulls, oxen, donkeys, dogs, nilgai, buffaloes and also include the wild, pet and deserted animals.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, the menace of dog-bites had become a commonplace in the region with the Punjab health department reporting over 6.5 lakh cases of dog bites in the past five years, Chandigarh administration, reporting about 5,300 cases last year and Haryana government, over 11 lakh cases in the past 10 years.