Dabwali fire: SC says won’t interfere in compensation matter

The tragedy at Dabwali in Sirsa had claimed 446 lives when a fire broke out because of a short circuit during a school function

More than 17 years after a town on the Punjab-Haryana border witnessed the biggest fire — in terms of casualties — that the country has witnessed till date, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the quantum of compensation payable to the victims of the tragedy.

The tragedy at Dabwali in Haryana's Sirsa district had claimed 446 lives and left more than 200 maimed when a fire broke out because of short circuit during an annual day function organised by the DAV Public School. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had awarded a compensation of over Rs 50 crore, including the rate of interest, to the victims.

The DAV Managing Committee, which was ordered to share the burden of 55 per cent of the total compensation along with the owners of the marriage hall where the function was organised, had come in appeal to the SC.

A Bench led by Justice B S Chauhan, however, dismissed the appeal by the Committee, after noting that it was not proper for the apex court to interfere with the compensation order since it had not examined the materials vetted by the High Court and the Commission of Inquiry to ascertain the liability of the school.

The court also directed the Committee to deposit the remaining compensation amount with the civil judge so that the money could be disbursed to the victims.

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