Apex court turns down Assam’s plea to reduce compensation

Friday, January 7, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Friday declined the Assam government’s plea seeking reduction in the amount of compensation to be paid to those killed by security forces in violence orchestrated by the separatists from 1998 to 2001.

“We are not inclined to reduce the compensation awarded to the victims by the Justice K.N. Saikia Commission of inquiry,” said the apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma.

Appearing for the state government, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal cited financial crunch as the reason for the state government’s inability to pay the compensation.

Justice Saikia had awarded Rs.500,000 each to family members of the those killed by security forces while countering violence credited to the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

As the Assam government expressed its inability to pay the amount, the court said if the administration can’t meet its financial liabilities then the central government should step in.

The court told the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Mohan Prasaran that Assam government was willing to pay Rs.300,000 compensation and balance Rs.200,000 should be contributed by the central government.

The court said it was not passing any orders but asked Prasaran to take instructions from the central government.

However, Prasaran told the court that there would be no difficulty in the central government meeting the remaining part of the compensation.

Appearing for the petitioner AALOK, counsel D.K. Garg opposed the award of Rs.500,000 as compensation to each of the victims’ families.

He said there could be no monetary translation of the loss of life, that too when it happens at the hands of the police or security agencies.

Garg told the court that the kith and kin of the victims of anti-Sikh riots were paid Rs.10 lakh compensation, when none of the anti-Sikh riot victims had fallen to the bullets of the police or paramilitary forces.

He asked the court if the value of human life was just Rs.500,000.

The matter was adjourned by three weeks.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

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