A division bench of the Bombay High Court has asked the union government to file it’s reply in a Public Interest Litigation filed by Advocate Rajeshwar Panchal regarding compensation given to terror attack victims.
The bench of Chief Justice Manjulla Chellur and Justice MS Sonak also directed the state government to submit details of compensation given to blast and other terror attack victims. Rajeshwar’s petition filed in 2014, states that a terrorist attack is an attack on one’s fundamental right to life.
Government Pleader Abhinandan Vagyani submitted an affidavit on November 24 detailing the compensation paid to the 175 victims of the 26/11 terror attacks of 2008. This affidavit states that compensation-cum-aid of Rs. 3 lakhs has been provided to a total 74 legal heirs of deceased persons. This figure is inclusive of the people from outside the state.
What is significant is that even though 8 years have passed, 2 of the deceased are yet to be identified. While 1 kin refused government aid. This figure of a total of 175 deceased also includes the police officers/ NSG Commandos/ Home Guard. 22 such people who were officials and died on duty have been paid a compensation of Rs. 25 lakhs each. While the rest 15 police personnel are yet to be compensated. Also, according to the affidavit, 26 foreigners died in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
In 2014, another bench of the High Court had observed that the compensation for terror attack victims is “inadequate”. Under the Central Scheme for Assistance to victims/family of victims of terrorist attacks, naxal violence or communal violence the union government pays a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh. While the state government pays an amount of Rs. 1 lakh. As of today, compensation has been paid in 102 cases out of 175.
These directions are significant in light of the eighth anniversary of the attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.