Although the Supreme Court held the UP government led by AkhileshYadav prima facie responsible for negligence in averting communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and neighboring areas, it declined to direct a CBI or SIT investigation into the cases. A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam passed a slew of directions for proper investigation in the cases and for rehabilitation of victims of the communal clashes. The court said there was no need for a direction for a CBI or SIT inquiry at this stage as the state government was taking proper action and had constituted a special investigation cell for conducting investigation into various cases.
The apex court besides directing the State authorities to bring to book all accused persons irrespective of their political affiliations, gave directions that till the trial is completed, the victims and their family members be given protection by the state government. The bench passed this order on a batch of petitions filed by various people, including riot victims seeking its direction to the state government for proper probe into the cases and for a CBI investigation and also for 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 for proper rehabilitation for the affected persons and that the culprits behind the violence must be brought to book.
Directions as follows
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. 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:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) The State is also directed to provide other financial assistance as well as any other scheme applicable to them for their betterment and to continue their normal avocation.
Directions regarding other offences including murder:
1) Sincere efforts shall be made to apprehend all the accused irrespective of political affiliation and produce them before the appropriate court.
2) 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.
3) 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) In respect of recovery of AK-47, 9 mm cartridges in village Kirthal, the police have to identify the persons concerned and proceed against them under the provisions of IPC and Arms Act.
5) In respect of Case Crime No. 148/2013, P.S. Fugana, Case Crime No. 403/2013, 404/2013 P.S. Jansath, more efforts must be taken for apprehending all the genuine accused and to produce them before the court for further action.
6) The investigating authorities should eschew communal bias and proceed against all the offenders irrespective of their caste, community and religion.
7) In the case of murders, the police must take sincere efforts to identify and arrest the real culprits within a time-bound manner preferably within a period of two months and report the same before the jurisdictional court concerned.
8) In heinous crimes, including murder cases, if any of the real accused was granted bail, as assured before this Court, the District Administration has to take effective steps for cancellation of their bail in appropriate cases.
9) As assured before this Court, the persons concerned in the higher level to follow the letters issued to various government counsel/police officers/I.O. for apprehending the real accused and re-arresting the released persons by getting appropriate orders from the court concerned.
10) The authorities concerned should continue to take effective steps to locate the missing persons.
Financial Assistance/Rehabilitation measures:
1) Children who died in the violence as well as in the camps due to cold weather conditions shall be compensated to their parents as that of others.
2) 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 Services Authority and the DLSAs are directed to provide necessary help to the victims in the light of various directions referred above.
3) 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.
4) The officers who have grievance about their transfer on vindictive ground from the district concerned to far away places are free to make a representation to the competent authority within a period of one month from today. If any such representation is made and if the same is acceptable, the competent authority is directed to take a fresh decision.
5) Adequate compensation should be paid to the farmers who lost their source of livelihood, namely, tractors, cattles, sugarcane crops etc. In this category, the farmers who were yet to get compensation for the same are permitted to make a representation within one month from today supported by materials to the local/district administration.
If any such representation is made, the same shall be considered and disposed off within a period of one month thereafter.
Finally, we reiterate that it is the responsibility of the State Administration in association with the intelligence agencies of both State and Centre to prevent such recurrence of communal violence in any part of the State. It is made clear that the officers responsible for maintaining law and order, if found negligent, should be brought under the ambit of law irrespective of their status. It is important that the relief, as enumerated above, not only be provided to all needy families irrespective of their religion but it should also be provided to only genuinely affected families.