Punjab/Haryana: The Punjab & Haryana High Court issued an order wherein victims of dog bites would be eligible to claim up to Rs 20,000 compensation, while RS 10,000 will be awarded in cases where a single tooth mark is found on the victim’s skin. The court has mandated that compensation is to be awarded within four months of a claim being filed so victims may have some relief.
The bench headed by Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj said, "In the cases relating to dog bites, the financial assistance shall be at a minimum of Rs 10,000 per tooth mark, and where the flesh has been pulled off the skin, it shall be a minimum of Rs 20,000 per ‘0.2 cm’ of the wound”.
"The State shall be primarily responsible for paying compensation with a right to recover the same from the defaulting agencies/ instrumentalities of the State and/or the private person, if any," the bench added.
The decision comes at a time when the court was examining 193 different petitions of dog-bite victims who had been bitten by both stray and pet dogs across Chandigarh, Punjab, and Haryana. The court also directed the states to form committees to register and investigate these cases which will be chaired by their respective deputy commissioners.
The court stated that in the case of pet dogs, the owner would bear the responsibility of compensating the victim, while in the case of stray dogs the authorities would be responsible for compensating the victim.
"The compensation will be recovered from the defaulting agencies/instrumentalities of the state or the private person, if any," the bench said.
Dog bites are not a rare occurrence in the region, which has reported 6,50,904 cases over the last 5 years and 1,65,119 cases over the past year according to the Punjab Health Department. Chandigarh, on the other hand, has seen a 70% drop in cases of this nature, down from 18,378 cases to 5,365 cases in 3 years.
According to the data released by the Haryana health department, the state has seen 11,04,887 dog bite cases over the last ten years, with Ambala, Rohtak, and Jind being the most affected areas.