Compensation for escalator death

The Supreme Court of India has ordered the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to compensate the family of a seven year old girl who was crushed to death after being trapped in a faulty escalator at the Indira Ghandi International Airport in Delhi.

Jyotsna Jethani had travelled to India from Dubai with her parents for her uncles wedding but was killed tragically soon after landing. The horrific accident occurred in the arrivals lounge when the escalator she was on ripped apart after another passenger’s luggage got stuck in it. Eyewitnesses said panic-stricken passengers jostled each other in a minor stampede and in the confusion Jyotsna was sucked into a gaping hole at the base of the escalator. The comb plate sliced her face and her body was crushed.

The tragedy which occurred on 13 December 1999 highlights the poor state of repair in India’s airports. The court said that it was the AAI’s responsibility to maintain the escalator.

Jyotsna’s parents will now receive more than 1.5million rupees ($40,000) compensation, after judges upheld a lower court verdict. They had previously rejected a lower offer. Her grandfather Parmanand Jethani told Hindustan Times newspaper: “I am satisfied that justice has been done, although delayed.”

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission president, Justice M B Shah said: “The loss of a child to the parents is irrecoupable and no amount of money could compensate parents. Further, there can be no uniform rule for measuring the value of human life.”

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