On 19 June 2013, the Pitsanuloke Administrative Court, Pitsanuloke Province ruled in the case between Ms. Ma Maw Di Yan, aka “Juju”, the procurator of Zamira, aka “Zalima” v Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), the first defendant, and Mae Sot Municipality, the second defendant. The case is concerned with alleged breaches or violations committed by administrative agencies owing to their negligence to observe their duties as provided by law. The Mae Sot Municipality, the second defendant, was found guilty by the Court for failing to maintain, monitor and repair power grid system on public roads under its charge. As a result, the girl, Zalima, got injured and died later. Therefore, the Mae Sot Municipality was ordered to provide 750,000 baht as compensation for the loss of the source of support to the plaintiff. The compensation shall be paid up within 90 (ninety) days since the final verdict of the case is reached. The case against the Provincial Electricity Authority has been dismissed.
The incidence took place on 25 June 2011 around 18.00. Zalima, 10 years, daughter of Ms. Ma Maw Di Yan, a migrant worker with work permit to work in Thailand, and the plaintiff in this case, was on her way home from a grocery store. En route, there was heavy downpour and inundation and while wading through the water, Zalima got electrocuted, presumably from power leaked from three nearby electric poles and sustained grave injuries. According to the doctor report, her heart stopped beating due to brain anoxia. Resuscitation was applied, but failed to help her regain consciousness. She had been hospitalized without being able to help herself for over three months and died on 27 May 2012 due to lung infection and serious infections.
The plaintiff held that the death of Zalima had been caused by electrocution owing to the leak of electricity in the inundated water. Both the PEA and the Mae Sot Municipality are in charge of the electric poles, power grids and electricity and they are supposed to maintain and ensure safety of the electric poles, related devices, and electricity and they are experts in their profession. In addition, according to the Provincial Electricity Authority Act B.E. 2503 (1960) and the Municipality Act B.E. 2496 (1953), both authorities are obliged to prevent the leakage of electricity which may harm public. But the two defendants have failed to observe their duties carefully and as a result, Zalima was exposed to electric shock until she sustained grave injuries and died later. It was considered a breach of duties by administrative agencies or governmental officials and their negligence of their official duties as provided for by law. Therefore, the plaintiff demanded 6,220,185 baht from them to cover medical expenses, complete inability to earn one’s living, mental suffering from the date the incidence took place and its enduring and incurable effect, a lack of income as the plaintiff was not able to work as she had to tend to her child and any future medical expense.
Ms. Preeda Tongchumnum, Assistant to Secretary General of the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) said that the order of the Pitsanuloke Administrative Court for the Mae Sot Municipality to provide compensation to the plaintiff who is a migrant worker set precedent for the right to access to justice, which is essentially provided for by the Constitution and international standards. In this case, agencies in the justice process have effectively performed their duties to receive the complaint and to solicit input from various concerned agencies as well as to acquire oral evidence. As a result, the plaintiff who is a migrant worker in Thailand has acquired enough evidence to bring the perpetrator to justice in Thailand’s judicial system. It affirms that regardless of the status of a migrant worker or a Thai citizen, everyone in Thailand is equally protected by law.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Thanu Ekchote, Attorney, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF),phone 081-171 8228 and
Ms. Preeda Tongchumnum, Assistant to Secretary General of the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), phone 02 277 6882