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Sudha Chandran

Dancer awarded Rs 565,000 as compensation for amputation Sudha Chandran walked out of the Madras high court on Thursday, richer by Rs 565,000. The sum was awarded as compensation after the dancer and actress had her leg amputated in an accident involving a Thiruvalluvar Transport Corporation bus and the Omni minibus she was travelling in.

The accident occurred in 1981. The gutsy Chandran had, following her amputation, got back to the dance floor with an artificial - the Jaipur - foot. And so heart-warming was her fightback that a Madras producer was inspired to make the story into a celluloid box office smash, Mayuri. The film - basically a tender, three-handkerchief story of a person coming good against the odds, was later remade in various Indian languages including Hindi.

A division bench comprising Justices A Abdul Hadi and P Sadasivam dismissed an appeal by the TTC and directed the corporation to pay the amount with 12 per cent interest from the date on which she filed the claim before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Tiruchirapalli, in 1991. The bench directed the TTC to deposit the amount in the court. The bench also awarded Rs 145,000, with 12 per cent interest, to three others who sustained injuries in the same accident. Interestingly, the MACT had awarded Chandran a mere Rs 110,000, and a total of Rs 91,000 to the three others. The TTC appealed this judgment in court.

Holding that the mishap was entirely due to the negligence of the TTC driver, the bench for its part choose to award much higher amounts by way of compensation. The bench pointed out that Sudha Chandran learnt dancing at the age of three and had achieved distinction which very few dancers of her age had. She had given 76 performances in various parts of the country in a span of six years, averaging one performance per month. Considering her talent, the bench said, it could be safely fixed that her monthly income from her dance performances would be Rs 3,500. If she was 18 at the time of the accident, counting for all the years she lost, it could be safely assumed that the accident had caused her loss of income to the tune of Rs 422,000.

Using this figure as base, the bench added on another Rs 50,000 for the pain and suffering, Rs 75,000 for permanent disability, Rs 16,000 for medical expenses and Rs 4,000 for extra nourishment. Chandran has, of course, gone on to make something of a career for herself in films. Though her first film, under the directorial baton of G. Vishwanath, was a huge hit, she failed to repeat the success in successive outings and has been reduced to playing sister and second lead roles. And, of course, Chandran has been giving regular dance performances even after the accident.

Copyright © Rediff On The NeT 1996

This report is reproduced with the kind permission of Nikhil Lakshman Editor, Rediff On The NeT

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