Duty of Care

Duty of Care
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An employee of the Power Development Department (PDD) who was electrocuted few days back, while discharging his professional duties at Dangerpora village of Sopore succumbed to his injuries on Monday at SKIMS hospital in Srinagar. The victim, Ghulam Mohammad Ganai, 52, son of Abdul Aziz Ganai, of Pandith Mohalla, Dangerpora, was a low rung labourer in the department. The case in contention might be just one of the innumerable cases where the victims oftentimes coming from poorer socio economic backgrounds, suffer life changing debilitating injuries or even worse, succumb. Cases like these raise multiple questions. The salient of these is why is not due diligence done when doing repair jobs that carry obvious dangers(like repairing transformers)? If the power supply , in the case of the Dangerpora victim, would not have suddenly resumed, Abdul Aziz might not have died. The point here is that if dangerous repair work needs to be and is done, then end to end, seamless security measures must be taken recourse to , to if not eliminate but minimize chances and possibilities of accidents or hazards. This is insofar as one side of the equation, so to speak, is concerned. The other side , which is in the nature of a question is: what happens to the families and/or dependents of the victims of cases like these? While there is no statistical database available to gain a holistic understanding and perspective on this issue, but intuitively , it might be stated that the dependants and families of victims like Abdul Aziz are left in the lurch and , at the mercy of the quirks of fate. This is a travesty because there is a clear cut “duty of care” on part of both the society and the organizations that these victims have been part of. Duty of care is not actually a legal but is a moral duty and obligation. Victims like Abdul Aziz die in accidents while discharging their duties. And, if society is remiss in taking care of the victims’ families and dependents then this constitutes a sad commentary on the nature of society. To ensure that victims of accidents and disasters and their dependents get justice, the duty of care that society owes to them must be made legislated into legal fiat. It is in combination of a moral duty and a legal right that dependents of victims like Abdul Aziz might get some recompense that allows them to live a life of dignity and honor.