Senior Adviser to the Ministry of Justice, U.R. de Silva (PC) said if certain gas companies had behaved in a manner jeorpadising the lives of consumers, then the public could institute legal action against such companies and seek compensation for losses suffered as per provisions in the Public Utilities Commission Act.
He said as per the provisions in the Act, a fine of Rs. 1 million up to Rs. 10 million could be imposed if an individual commits an offence and is proved in Court.
De Silva said in the event a company commits a similar offence, a fine of Rs. 10 million up to Rs. 100 million could be imposed if proved in Court based on the provisions in the Act.
The Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Justice added that in the case of loss of life or damage caused to property and goods due to domestic gas cylinder explosions and is proved in Court, the aggrieved parties could seek enhanced compensation from respondents. De Silva said if by chance consumers are unable to institute legal action against the culprits then such people could seek assistance from the Legal Aid Commission.
He further said that as domestic gas cylinder explosions had been unheard of in the recent past, a reason for the explosion could be testing of gas liquid content undertaken by the two major gas firms without protection being taken against the public. He also alleged that testing which should have been carried out in laboratories had been carried out at the expense of the public.
De Silva explained that once the report compiled by the Committee formed by the President to probe gas explosions is received, it will be the duty of the Government to determine the losses incurred by consumers and grant compensation to them accordingly.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Sawani Seshadi)