Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do not be selective in compensating victims - SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Left Front government of West Bengal not to be selective in paying compensation to the victims of the Nandigram police firing and violence.

The state was reluctant to compensate those who were injured while indulging in arson or launching attacks against the police, but a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik said it would not permit the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government to discriminate in payments to victims on this line. Asking the state to pay compensation to the injured as expeditiously as possible, it negated the argument of senior advocate K K Venugopal who stated that the state was not willing to compensate perpetrators of arson and bombing and who got injured in the process.
But the Bench said the Calcutta High Court, while fixing the compensation amounts for the kin of the dead and those raped and other injured persons, had not made any such distinction now sought to be made by the state. The apex court was also critical of the CBI's reluctance to share with the state government its sensitive status report on the probe into the controversial Nandigram killings alleging that since some police officers were allegedly involving in the case, it would not be prudent to give a copy of the report to the state.
“The CBI must not view the state government as an accused in the case,” the Bench said and fixed December 2 for the hearing on the objections of CBI along with an application filed by the agency for permission to lodge criminal cases against the accused government servants and police officers based on its report.
“Please do not treat the state of West Bengal as an accused,” it told additional solicitor general Harin Raval, who appeared for CBI.
The police firing and violence in Nandigram on March 14, 2007 had left 14 persons dead and 162 injured. In addition, 27 persons were reported missing and several women were raped. The Calcutta HC, acting on a PIL, had directed the state to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh to rape victims and Rs 1 lakh each to the injured.

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