Two siblings, who lost their mother in a cylinder blast in 2007, have been awarded Rs 10 lakh compensation by a consumer court in Thane.
Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum’s presiding member Madhuri Vishwarupe and member N D Kadam in their order, directed the four respondents — Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Bajaj Alliance General Insurance Company, M/s Indradeep Agencies, and The New India Assurance Company — to pay Rs. 10 lakh along with 25,000 towards legal expenses to the brother-sister duo.
The applicants – Varsha Sadashiv Nimse and her brother Nilesh Sadashiv Nimse – residents of Hari Vrindavan Society at Ramwadi in Kalyan township of Thane told the forum that their mother Bharti Nimse (32), the family’s sole bread-winner, was killed in a cylinder blast on April 6, 2007.
When the blast took place at their home, Bharti’s daughter ran out to inform the gas agency, which was found to be locked. Bharti’s mother Shantabai Bangade rushed in to see what happened. Their neighbour Savita Kale also rushed in and got badly burnt along with Bharti and the latter’s mother.
The three were rushed to hospital by neighbours, but all of them died during treatment, the forum was informed.
The applicants subsequently sought a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh from the four respondents.
However, the respondents said that the explosion occurred due to the woman’s negligence, and hence they were not eligible to pay compensation.
The consumer forum discussed various court rulings in similar cases and observed that the respondent gas company and its distributor had failed to carry out necessary tests of the cylinder supplied, resulting in the mishap.
It also observed that at the time of the mishap, the two claimants were minors. Also, Bharti’s husband had died long back and that she used to work as domestic help and provide tiffins to earn a living.
After Bharti and her mother’s death, the siblings were orphaned and they had no source of income, the forum noted.
The respondents had not given the Rs. 10 lakh insurance amount payable to the claimants on time, which is deficiency in services. The complainants had to suffer heavily due to this act of the respondents, it observed.
The forum, which also dealt with claims submitted on behalf of the two other deceased, rejected them as they were not customers of the respondent gas company or distributor.
However, it observed that Bharti was the customer of the concerned gas company and the distributor and asked the four respondents to jointly and severally pay Rs. 10 lakh to the two siblings.