SC says state failed to maintain law & order during 1992-93 Bombay riots

SC says state failed to maintain law & order during 1992-93 Bombay riots

New Delhi: Almost thirty years have been passed in the most horrific and brutal 1992-93 Mumbai riot cases, all the victims have not been compensated yet, although many have been given.

The Supreme Court on Friday in its judgement observed that there was a failure on the part of the State Government to maintain law and order and to protect the rights of the people guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and it passed a slew of slew of directions to the State of Maharashtra for payment of compensation to the legal heirs of riot victims who have not yet been compensated. It also issues directions for revival of dormant riot cases.

The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and also comprising Justices Abhay Sreeniwas Oka and Vikram Nath passed these directions while disposing of a petition filed by Shakeel Ahmed in 2001, seeking implementation of the recommendations of the Justice (Retired) Sri B N SriKrishna Committee report, which was constituted by the State Government to probe into the riots.

“There was a failure on the part of the State government to maintain law and order and to protect the rights of the people guaranteed under Article 21 of Indian Constitution,” the Supreme Court in its 38-page judgement said.

The Apex Court also, noted in its verdict, and said that 900 persons died and more than 2,000 were injured. The houses, places of business and properties of the citizens were destroyed. These are all violations of their rights. One of the root causes of their suffering was the failure of the State government to maintain law and order.

The Court also hoped that riot situations never occur in India in future, it said that if such unfortunate events take place in future, Legal Services Authorities would come to the rescue of the victims.

“We hope and trust that after 75 years of independence, riot like situations will never arise. Unfortunately, if such situations arise, we are sure that the Legal Services Authorities at various levels will come to the rescue of the victims of violence and render legal services to them,” the Supreme Court said, in its verdict.

The State Government shall pay compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to the legal heirs of the missing persons traced out with interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum from January 22, 1999, the Top Court said.

The entire exercise of payment of compensation and interest shall ne completed by the State government within a period of nine months, from today, the Top Court said.

The State Government shall provide detai of the only pending riot criminal case before the Sessions Court at Mumbai to the Registrar General (RG) of the Bombay High Court, who shall bring it to the notice of the concerned court that the case needs to be disposed of at the earliest, the Supreme Court made it clear.

The Apex Court also said that the State Government disclosed to it about the status of 253 riots cases. 114 cases resulted in acquittal. There were 6 convictions. 1 case got abated. 34 cases were found unrelated to riots. One case is still pending. 97 cases are lying dormant.

It said that the State government shall provide details of 97 cases on dormant files to the RG of the Bombay HC within one month from today. On receipt of the details, the HC on the Administrative side shall issue necessary communication to the concerned Courts in which, the Cases are pending to take necessary steps. The State Government shall immediately constitute a Special Cell to trace the absconding/ missing accused in these cases and to assist thr concerned Courts so that the trial can proceed against them.

The State Government shall expeditiously implement all the recommendations made by the Commission on the issue of reforms in the police force which were accepted by the State.

Justice Srikrishna, who retired as SC judge, was appointed to head the commission to inquire into the riots that shook Mumbai; at that time, he was a sitting judge of the Bombay high court.

Justice Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry was constituted by the Government of Maharashtra for investigating the causes of the Bombay riots.

The Apex Court was hearing a batch of petitions filed since 1998 seeking direction for implementation of recommendations made in the Srikrishna commission report and providing adequate compensation to the family members of the deceased and affected ones.


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