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SC says UP government was negligent in preventing Muzaffarnagar riots

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Writ Petition Criminal No.155 of 2013

Mohd.Haroon versus Union of India & Anr.

The communal violence which had broken out on September 7, 2013 in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining towns had claimed over 40 lives. It left 85 others injured and rendered 51,000 people, mostly Muslims, homeless. The PIL was filed by Mohammed Haroon and HRLN & others in the apex court. The counsel for the petitioners had earlier submitted that the situation in Western districts was grim as mobs had set ablaze many religious places, shops and houses. The petitions had sought the court's direction to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government to find out the reason behind the communal clashes in the state.  The PILs had also sought that the affected persons should be properly rehabilitated and the culprits behind the violence must be brought to book.

Now, the Honorable Supreme Court has given its judgment and directed as follows:

1. Considering the facts and circumstances of these cases, we are of the view that the victims in the given case should be paid a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs each for rehabilitation by the State Government. We, accordingly, direct the State Government to make payment of Rs. 5 lakhs, in addition to various other benefits, within 4 weeks from today. Further, we also wish to clarify that, according to Section 357B, the compensation payable by the State Government under Section 357A shall be in addition to the payment of fine to the victim under Section 326A or Section 376D of the IPC.

2. Directions relating to rape cases:  We have already noted various steps taken by the State in respect of rape cases. In addition to the same, in the light of the apprehensions/grievance expressed by the learned counsel for the petitioner in W.P. (Crl.) No. 11 of 2014, we issue the following directions:

a) The SIC is directed to arrest and produce before the Court all the persons concerned in respect of petitioners in W.P. (Crl.) No. 11 of 2014 as well as other affected victims within a time-bound manner. They are also directed to record the statement of the victims under Section 164 of the Code before a lady Magistrate even if they had made a statement, if they desire to make additional statement, the same may be recorded as requested.

b) The security cover provided to rape victims as furnished before this Court shall continue till they desire or completion of the trial whichever is later.

c) The victims of rape who are parties in W.P. (Crl.) No. 11 of 2014 as well as other rape victims are to be paid compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs each, in addition to various other benefits, by the State Government within a period of 4 weeks from today.

3. Directions regarding other offences including murder:

a) Sincere efforts shall be made to apprehend all the accused irrespective of political affiliation and produce them before the appropriate court.

b) The particulars furnished by the State in respect of criminal action taken against political persons shall be continued by placing acceptable materials before the court concerned.

c) The reason given by the State Police that whenever efforts were made to arrest the persons involved, women folk of their village form a human chain and block the police in execution of their work is unacceptable and untenable. If there is reliable material against a person irrespective of the community or religion, the police have to take sincere efforts in arresting those persons and produce them before the court concerned. There shall not be any let up and upon failure on the part of the police, action will be taken against the officers concerned. The victims or aggrieved persons are free to move such application before the jurisdictional court.

4. Financial Assistance/Rehabilitation measures:

a) The State is directed to identify the left out injured persons (simple/grievous), next kin of the deceased who died in the communal violence and settle the compensation agreed to before this Court (Rs. 10,00,000 + Rs. 3,00,000 + Rs. 2,00,000 = Total Rs. 15,00,000). It is also directed to settle compensation for the damages caused to movable/immovable properties of the person concerned due to the violence if they have not already received the same. Any of the victims referred above such as rape victims and the family members of the deceased who died in the violence, if they have not received any amount so far, they are permitted to make proper application to the local/district authority concerned within a period of one month from today. If any such application is made, the authorities concerned are directed to verify and after satisfaction settle the eligible amounts within a period of one month thereafter. The District Administration is also directed to implement Rani Lakshmibai Pension Yojana to eligible persons and consider the case of persons who were left out or who have not made any such application till this date. Any of the victims, if need arise, may also approach the District Legal ServicesAuthority and the DLSAs are directed to provide necessary help to the victims in the light of various directions referred above.

b) For any reason, after receipt of Rs. 5 lakhs those who want to settle to other places than the place of occurrence after change of mind and in order to join their relatives and friends in the village/place where they lived at the time of violence, are permitted to resettle, in that event, the State is directed not to recover the amount already paid. However, the State is free to ascertain the genuineness of those persons concerned in their effort to resettle in the same place. The District Administration has to make all endeavours for their peaceful return to the same place in order to continue the same avocation along with their relatives and friends.

Contact Person: Amiy Shukla

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