High Court has directed the Centre to pay a compensation
of Rs 1.23 lakh to 1984 victims
New Delhi, May 23, 2005
Holding the state liable for its failure to protect
the life and liberty of citizens, the Delhi High Court
has directed the Centre to pay a compensation of Rs
1.23 lakh each to all those who suffered injuries
during the anti-Sikh riots following the assassination
of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi here in 1984.
"It is the bounden duty and responsibility of
the state to secure and safeguard the life and liberty
of an individual from mob violence," Justice
Gita Mittal said in her landmark judgment which would
benefit about 2,800 Sikhs injured during the riots
in the capital.
The court asked the Government to pay the compensation
within a month to one Manjit Singh Sawhney, who was
injured in an attack by an angry mob which killed
seven others at Tuglaqabad Railway Station on November
It also asked the Centre to pay him an additional
amount of Rs 11,000 as cost of protracted litigation
that went on for four years in the High Court.
Most importantly, to secure parity among all those
who suffered injuries during the riots and were given
an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2,000 only, Justice Mittal
ordered that they all be paid the enhanced amount.
It took note of the fact that in the case of Bhajan
Kaur, who lost her husband on the same place during
the riots, a general order was passed in July 1996
directing the Centre to pay the enhanced compensation
in all similar cases.
he court calculated the compensation amount payable
to the petitioner at Rs 75,000 with interest from
the date of incident which was quantified at Rs 50,000.
It deducted the Rs 2,000 already paid to him as ex-gratia
to reach the final figure.
The Centre had contended that Sawhney could not be
given a further amount as there was no FIR or other
documentary proof of the incident and that he was
discharged from the hospital very soon.
The incidents dates back to November 2, 1984 when
a frenzied mob stopped a train at Tuglaqabad Railway
Station here and pulled out petitoner Manjit Singh
Sawhney, his sister and other Sikh passengers.
Seven persons were killed while Sawhney was battered
by the mob which dumped him on the track thinking
that he too had died.
Later, Armymen brought him to New Delhi from where
he was shifted to LNJP Hospital. However, he got himself
discharged from the hospital and went to look for
Terming the Centre's attempt to take advantage of
his early discharge as "unfair" and "insensitive",
the court said "concern for his missing sister
outweiged all concerns of his own injuries...."
The court took exception to the fact that the Government
did not have any records relating to the petition.
Noting that the cases relating to prosecution of
those allegedly involved in the riots were still pending
in courts, Justice Mittal lamented that "there
has been little success at bringing the guilty to
book and this has only coumpounded the hopelessness
in the minds of the victims