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Friday, January 6, 2017

insects in films ! - mosquito bite is an accident !!!

Male mosquitoes do not bite. The real risk is from female mosquitoes that search for blood to provide protein for their eggs. Scientific research over the years has shown that female mosquitoes find their prey using a combination of sensory cues including light, shape, colour, heat, vibration, sweat and other by-products of human activity.

A few  decades ago, all houses in Triplicane [and other areas like Mylapore, Mambalam, Saidapet] had wells ~ to prevent breeding of mosquitoes, Corporation officials would visit houses and drop some quantity of pesticide in the well. Guppies were bred in temple tanks and other ponds – Corporation official would visit home with a earthern pond having hundreds of fish – and he would drop a handful of them into the well [everytime, we would take few of them and grow them in horlicks bottles ! – their tails were attractive].

In movie ‘Aarya’ featuring Madhavan, Vadivelu and others - local councillor [Vadivelu as Snake Babu]  .. .. goes on a drive to get the town rid of mosquitoes and would arrange for spraying of pesticides from his propaganda jeep; his assistant would mix polydol,  smelling which people would fall on the road !!  The mosquito in Enthiran that would bite Aishwarya Rai ~ after which Robo Rajini would run, find it in a slum, catch and present it – was named ‘Ranguski’ – perhaps the nickname of my favourite writer Sujatha, whose story was filmed by Shankar.  Though not on mosquito but on fly – film  Eega [Naan ee in Tamil] of SS Rajamouli was in the form of a bedtime story told by a father to his daughter. Nani, who is in love with his neighbour Bindu, gets killed, recincarnates as a housefly and tries to protect his lover and take revenge as well !!

Moving away, mosquito bite is common ~ can it be construed as an accident ? – yes says a Consumer Forum [against an Insurer !]

Times of India of date reports of North District Consumer Forum as stating :  "In our considered opinion when a snake bites a person, it is an accident. On this analogy we do not find any difference between the death caused by a snake bite and the death caused by the bite of malaria parasite provided there should be a proof to that fact.

"We come to the conclusion that death due to mosquito bite is covered by the word accident," the North District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said. The order of the bench, presided by Babu Lal came on the plea of Punjab native Nirmal Singh who had alleged that after his father's death due to malaria, the Oriental Insurance Co Ltd refused to reimburse his claim under the policy. Nirmal had said in his plea that his father, a truck driver, had purchased an Individual Janta PA scheme for a sum of Rs 2,00,000 from the insurance company for the period of November 28, 1997 to November 27, 2007.  His father reportedly fell ill while moving goods from Mumbai to Delhi and back and had later died in the hospital during treatment on October 19, 2003.

The insurance company contended that the insurance of the deceased had been cancelled in 2002 itself as per the policy decision and the premium of Rs 282 was refunded on proportionate basis for the un-expired period of the scheme. It had also contended that the policy was in respect of sustaining bodily injury resulting solely and directly from accident caused by outward, violent and visible means and / or death / disablement due to sterilisation risk and since the insured did not die of any accident, the beneficiary of the deceased was not entitled to the insured amount. The forum while holding that death of Nirmal's father was due to accident, however, upheld the decision of the company to reject his claim saying the policy was cancelled in 2002 and the cancellation was not challenged by him.

Considering ‘mosquito bite’ as an accident is not perhaps all new.  Way back in 2002, an Ontarios Court of Appeal deemed that biting of an outdoor worker by a West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito an accident and awarded the worker $130,000 of coverage under his policy. That person was  working as a plasterer when he was bitten by the virus-carrying mosquito, rendering him a paraplegic.  At the time of the accident, Justice Karen Weiler wrote in her endorsement, while mosquito bites were common to a person in Kolbucs occupation, there had been no reported cases of the West Nile Virus in Ontario. It was an unforeseen, unexpected event that was caused by an external source a mosquito and falls within the ordinary definition of an accident, Justice Weiler wrote.

The cause of the illness was an accidental event. The Insurer of North America contended that an illness is not an accident- the Justice noted that that proposition standing alone is correct, but that an accident can cause a disease.

In another instance reported in, a court in Sverdlovsk made it incumbent on tank maker Uralvagonzavod to accept a malarial mosquito bite as a workplace injury.  The worker reportedly had a business trip to India and upon returning to Russia was diagnosed with Malaria.  According to the newspaper, the man’s bosses refused to accept the fact that their worker had suffered the tragic accident while being on the job. However, the Judge  sided with the plaintiff citing a pertinent provision of the Russian Labour Code, which obliges the employer to ensure safe labour condition for his workers.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

1st Jan 2017.

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