Division Bench of the High Court directs government to recover the money already paid

A Division Bench of the A.P. High Court comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyothi Sengupta and Justice K. C. Bhanu on Monday set aside the orders of the State government for payment of ‘compensation’ to the persons who were initially shown as accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case. The Bench was allowing a writ petition filed by Venkatesh Goud of Secunderabad. It may be recalled that a bomb went off at Mecca Masjid here on May 18, 2007.

The police initially showed several persons from the Old City as accused but they were discharged after the CBI and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the case.

The Old City youth and the families complained of police excesses following which the State government issued orders for payment of compensation to them. Twenty persons were to be paid Rs. 3 lakh each and 50 were given Rs. 20,000 each towards compensation and confidence building measures. This GO was challenged in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mr. Venkatesh Goud. The Bench wondered how such a decision was taken. It was felt that procedure known to due process of law was not followed. Mere acquittal or discharge from a criminal case cannot be basis for such payment of compensation. When there were allegations of malicious prosecution the affected party can move court of law but the government cannot issue such a GO, the Bench made it clear. The Bench reminded that there were several poor persons on the streets and the government cannot resort to such payments without any authority of law. The court directed the government to recover the money already paid.

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